Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, officials announced Tuesday that three anti-racism protesters will face charges for disrupting restaurant diners over Labor Day weekend — an incident, caught on video, that commanded the attention of President Donald Trump
Video of the incident, which shows demonstrators harassing largely elderly diners at a downtown Pittsburgh restaurant, went viral earlier in September. The video, The Daily Wire reported, “shows protesters moving in on a group of diners eating outside, yelling loudly about ‘racism’ through a megaphone. Some diners leave, but others stand firm as protesters scream slogans, flash middle fingers, and even steal drinks.”
The protesters make obscene gestures, and, at one point, one demonstrator, recently identified as Monique Craft, grabs a diner’s beer and chugs it.
— Rob O'Donnell (@odonnell_r) September 7, 2020
“One of the videos that were posted online appeared to show a man holding a megaphone calling diners at the establishment an ’embarrassment,’” Fox News added. “Some of the diners can be seen getting up from their seats.”
“Another protester could be seen giving an elderly couple the middle finger before someone else walks over to the pair, takes what appears to be a full glass of beer, and drinks the entire glass. Another protester reportedly smashed a wine glass,” the outlet continued.
President Donald Trump used the incident to demonstrate why Democrats could not be trusted to handle unrest.
“These Anarchists, not protesters, are Biden voters, but he has no control and nothing to say. And because of weak and pathetic Democrat leadership, this thuggery is happening in other Democrat run cities and states. Must shut them down fast,” he tweeted. “Biden and his most Liberal in Senate running mate, Kamala, won’t even talk about it. They won’t utter the words, LAW & ORDER!”
Pittsburgh police, who said they were looking into the incident, issued charges today against Craft and two other protesters, Shawn Green, Kenneth McDowell.
“Craft, 35, who identifies as nonbinary, was charged by summons with theft, conspiracy and simple trespass,” Fox News reported, adding that Craft, who is visible in the video wearing a “Nazi Lives Don’t Matter” shirt, says they were offered the beer.
“McDowell, 33, was charged with possessing instruments of a crime, conspiracy, harassment and two counts of disorderly conduct,” the outlet continued. “Green, 24, faces charges of disorderly conduct, conspiracy, criminal mischief, and simple trespass.”
McDowell screamed obscenities as diners; Green swore at diners and made the obscene gestures.
Demonstrators claim the video shows only one side of the incident and that the restaurant diners were combative.
“People were starting to get aggressive towards us because they didn’t see what happened. But the other people actually didn’t care. They got up out of their seats and moved to the side so that we could address the people who actually were making remarks,” one demonstrator told local media. “Like, ‘oh we’re an embarrassment and we’re disgusting.’ But we can’t be the embarrassment and disgusting people when we’re peacefully saying stop killing our brothers and sisters and someone can come in and throw blows.”