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Press Release

Pittsburgh-area Man Headed to Halfway House for Damaging Pittsburgh Police Vehicle during Protest

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - A suburban Pittsburgh resident has been sentenced in federal court to one day in the custody of the U.S. Marshals, six months in a halfway house, three years of supervised release, and $1,000 restitution to be paid to Pittsburgh Police for the destruction of one of their motor vehicles on his conviction of Obstruction of Law Enforcement During Civil Disorder, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Senior United States District Judge Arthur J. Schwab imposed the sentence on Brian Jordan Bartels, 21, Allison Park, PA 15101.

According to information presented to the court, on May 30, 2020, Bartels interfered with and obstructed the Pittsburgh Police during the course of the civil disorder that occurred in connection with the protests which took place in downtown Pittsburgh on that day. In particular, Bartels was convicted of initiating the destruction of a marked police vehicle that was parked on Centre Avenue above the PPG Arena. Bartels admitted to spray painting the vehicle, breaking a window out of the vehicle and smashing the windshield of the vehicle. Bartels also acknowledged that, when he did this, his actions encouraged others in the crowd to join in the destruction of the police vehicle. Several members of the crowd set fire to that vehicle shortly after Bartels left the area.

"Bartels’s actions incited riots in which police cars were burned, police officers were attacked and millions of dollars in property damage occurred in the city of Pittsburgh," said U.S. Attorney Brady. "This office will protect ordered liberty and apply the rule of law to those who would use the cover of protest to incite violence, whether in Pittsburgh or at our national’s Capitol."

"Inciting violence is not something we will tolerate," said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Michael Christman. "The actions and decisions Mr. Bartels made that day, while he said were a mistake, should be a reminder to everyone of the consequences that come with putting people in danger. A federal felony conviction carries with it a life time of explanation. I hope this makes others think twice before deciding to incite violence."

Assistant United States Attorney Shaun E. Sweeney prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

United States Attorney Brady commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Pittsburgh Police for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Bartels.

Updated January 27, 2021

Violent Crime