Pittsburgh Police Vehicle Set Ablaze During George Floyd Protests Downtown, Unlawful Assembly Declared


PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - There are reports of property damage, injuries and at least two Pittsburgh Police vehicles were set ablaze Saturday afternoon during protests over the death of George Floyd while he was in police custody this past Monday.

It is unknown who started the vehicle fire at this time.


— Newsradio 1020 KDKA (@KDKARadio) May 30, 2020

Protestors chanted “I can’t breathe while walking at the intersection of Liberty and Sixth Avenues holding signs and wearing masks.

The Mario Lemieux statue in front of PPG Paints Arena was vandalized with red spray paint with the phrase, “It is right to rebel,” with a Soviet Union sickle and hammer logo.

KDKA Photographer Ian Smith who has done work for KDKA Radio events in the past said on Twitter he was attacked by protesters downtown near the area.

He adds another group of protesters pulled him out and saved his life.

I’m was attacked by protestors downtown by the arena. They stomped and kicked me. I’m bruised and bloody but alive. My camera was destroyed. Another group of protesters pulled me out and saved my life. Thank you! @KDKA pic.twitter.com/clyANKodth

— Ian Smith (@ismithKDKA) May 30, 2020

In addition, parts of the City of Pittsburgh have been placed on lockdown following the outbreak of violence.

According to Pittsburgh Public Safety protesters “smashed a glass business front on Smithfield Street.”

Following that, they said they had to disperse gas and issued a warned to those who showed up to protest peacefully, to go home for their own safety. “This is no longer peaceful.”

We have declared an unlawful assembly Downtown. This follows repeated acts of violence, property damage and looting of businesses, which is ongoing. Residents please stay home. Businesses should close. If you are Downtown, leave the area. https://t.co/bGzF3ZeWEQ

— Pgh Public Safety (@PghPublicSafety) May 30, 2020

According to reports, a majority of the protest was peaceful.

#JusticeForGeorgeFloyd #pittsburghprotest we are stronger together. pic.twitter.com/gMvyn04YEt

— 1Hood (@1hood) May 30, 2020

KDKA Radio’s Boris Shiloff was on the scene Saturday afternoon and says protesters confronted SWAT teams and that is when the tear gas was dispersed.

He says protesters threw the gas canisters back toward police.

There are also reports the protests started to get out of control after a while male was seen jumping up and down on another police cruiser outside of PPG Paints.

Other protesters reportedly asked him to stop.

The justice for George Floyd protest was scheduled from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon and a Facebook page said the event was to protest how they, “  want justice for George Floyd and to show solidarity with the protesters in Minneapolis fighting to end the state sponsored murder of black people."

County Council seat at-large, Bethany Hallam tells KDKA Radio people of color are fed up with the lack of action.

 “Less than two years since Antwon Rose was killed by an East Pittsburgh Police officer and peaceful protesting have been done over and over again but the murder of unarmed black men keep happening locally and nationalyl.”

RelatedPittsburgh Police Chief Issues Statement On George Floyd

The page also details their plan for the day as "General chanting/speaking/marching with signs."

George Floyd was killed while in custody by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin was captured on video kneeling on Floyd's neck for several minutes, while Floyd could be seen and heard begging for help because he couldn't breathe.

Chauvin has been charged with 3rd degree murder and manslaughter.

Stay with KDKA Radio. This is a developing story. 

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