Three Black Lives Matter protesters are facing charges for their alleged involvement in a confrontation with diners in Pittsburg, according to reports.
According to WPXI, charges were filed on Monday against Shawn Green, who goes by Lorenzo Rulli, as well as Kenneth McDowell and Monique ‘Nique’ Craft.
A number of videos of the alleged confrontation surfaced on social media showing protesters shouting at diners went viral. Craft took a drink from a patron and drank it, while another smashed a glass on a table, according to police.
Police said in the criminal complaint that the trio engaged in a course of disorderly conduct from the McDonald’s at 500 Liberty Avenue to the Sienna Mercato restaurant on Penn Avenue, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
Craft, who identifies as nonbinary, previously told the newspaper that the confrontation started after a group of men shouted “Blue Lives Matter” and swung a bike at them as they walked by.
“Even though people [at the restaurant] saw that whole thing, they still saw me as an aggressor,” Craft told The Post-Gazette.
Both Craft and Mr Rulli had said that the footage is not indicative of the whole conflict and claimed that the protesters were harassed by several agitators.
Mr McDowell has been charged with possessing instruments of crime, disorderly conduct, and harassment, according to WPIX. Mr Rulli’s charges include disorderly conduct and criminal mischief, according to the broadcaster, while Craft’s include theft by unlawful taking and disorderly conduct.
Police launched a probe after footage of the confrontation was uploaded to Facebook by a user named Grace Harvey.
On her Facebook page Ms Harvey wrote: “We witnessed demonstrators bullying, harassing and physically assaulting random people simply walking past them or quietly enjoying a meal.
“People were shaken & scared as they ran away from their tables around us,” she added.
President Donald Trump quickly singled out the Pittsburgh demonstrators follow the demonstration, calling them “thugs” and using the incident as an opportunity to attack Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
“BLM Protesters horribly harass elderly Pittsburgh diners, scaring them with loud taunts while taking their food right off their plate,” the president wrote.
“These Anarchists, not protesters, are Biden voters, but he has no control and nothing to say. Disgraceful. Never seen anything like it. Thugs!”
When asked by The Post-Gazette whether he thought the videos would put the protesters in a bad light, Mr Rulli said: “Honestly, the protesters could never be in a good light in this city until the people who have the power to convey the message properly are doing so.”
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