A man who planted bombs after a May 31, 2020 Black Lives Matter protest in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced to probation.
According to The Washington Post, Matthew Michanowicz pleaded guilty in August to charges of illegally possessing three destructive devices. He was facing 10 years in prison.
On Dec. 6, Michanowicz was given time served, three years probation and six months of house arrest. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Smolar argued for a prison term in the range of 30 to 37 months, saying the devices could have hurt or killed someone. Former U.S. Attorney Scott Brady labeled Michanowicz as an “agitator” rather than a protester.
Ken Haber, Michanowicz’s lawyer, filed his sentencing memo under seal because of “extremely sensitive information” about his client’s history and characteristics, but he had said in earlier proceedings that the man had become addicted to opiates and sought treatment in Florida.
Michanowicz planted a backpack filled with Molotov cocktails near PNC Plaza on May 31, 2020, while downtown protests over the killing of George Floyd were taking place.
The next day, Pittsburgh police were called to the plaza for a report of a suspicious backpack near a bike rack under a stand of trees. Officers found three devices and called the bomb squad, which determined they were spent pepper spray grenades.
Surveillance footage shows Michanowicz at the scene on a bike, planting the backpack. On June 3, patrol officers discovered Michanowicz with his bike and arrested him.