PITTSBURGH, PA – There were 11 arrests after a protest turned into a riot outside of the Allegheny County Jail and the Pittsburgh Municipal Court building on Monday, March 20.
At approximately 7:43 p.m., Allegheny County Jail personnel called 911 to report that a group of 20-25 protesters had become disorderly. They were throwing rocks at the building and setting off fireworks. Windows and glass panels were broken but the jail remained secure.
Two Bike Officers were first to arrive on the scene. They encountered a group of people all dressed in black or dark clothing. Their faces were covered with masks or bandannas. Large-scale fireworks were being launched from an area between the jail and I-376 Westbound. One person with the group was playing a drum. Many had sticks and metal pipes that they were banging together.
As the Bike Officers approached, a male, who was later identified as Tyler Kobel, ran from under the highway support structure and caught up with the group. He had a black bookbag on his back.
The Officers ordered the group to stop. Many group members ran off in different directions. An Officer attempted to place Kobel under arrest but a scuffle ensued and Kobel continued trying to flee as another group member hit the Officer in the back. Kobel and the Officer fell to the ground at which point the officer pulled his Taser. Kobel stopped resisting and was taken into custody. That Officer received a shoulder injury and was checked by Paramedics on the scene.
As this was going on, a member of the group, later identified as James Griffin, charged the other Bike Officer. He also had a black backpack. Another scuffle ensued. A third Officer arrived and help take Griffin into custody.
As members of the group fled, some ran outbound along Second Avenue and others ran down the bike trail towar d Downtown and cut through the parking lot. They damaged several vehicles by breaking their side mirrors and broke the mechanical arm of a gate that opens and closes the driveway. An Allegheny County Sheriffs vehicle and a civilian’s vehicle had shattered rear windows. A side door to the Municipal Court Building was graffitied.
Multiple units arrived on the scene and detained 11 actors who were found to be carrying knives, several prohibited offensive weapons, drugs, and other instruments of a crime, including a&n bsp;firearm.
Among the contents of Griffin’s backpack were a can of mace, a small container of marijuana, a pair of weighted sap gloves and a loaded 9mm pistol, that he is licensed to carry, with an extra magazine. He also possessed a pair of brass knuckles and a pocket knife. His right boot had metal spikes intertwined in the laces.
Arrested were: Tyler James Kobel, 25; James Patrick Griffin, 25, Blanca Chaves-Alvarez, 29; Nicholas Baynes Hodgson, 36; Anthony Michael Ambroso, 26; Liam Scott Swanson, 25; Thomas B. stiller, Jr. 26; Joshua Shande Szymanski, 22; Ian Matthew Greynolds, 22; Raina Christine Legrand, 23; and Morgan Lindsey Prescott, 22.
Charges include disorderly conduct, possessing instruments of crime, causing/risking a catastrophe, criminal conspiracy, criminal mischief, institutional vandalism, aggravated assault, possessing a small amount of marijuana, possessing prohibited offensive weapons, and resisting arrest.