20-year old Brian Bartels, the man police say turned a peaceful protest in Pittsburgh into a raging riot on Saturday, was escorted by his parents when he turned himself in to law enforcement on Monday.
Bartels faces charges of rioting, institutional vandalism, and reckless endangerment of another person, according to Pittsburgh police.
Since the riots on Saturday, law enforcement officials have been investigating the destruction of a police SUV that had been spray-painted and then set on fire. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, an anonymous tip from a coworker identifying Bartels as the culprit led police to execute a search warrant at his home, which resulted in the discovery of several suspicious items “including 2 firearms, books, gloves, cans of spray paint, Indica, and a sweatshirt with white writing on the front was found on top of the dryer in the laundry room.”
In addition, a video has been made public that shows a young white male matching the description of Bartels wearing all-black Antifa-like gear and smashing a police SUV’s windows and then vandalizing it with spray paint.
Bartels has now been deemed as the “Antifa Kid” in a social media post by political columnist Jason Howerton, as Bartels’ dress and actions on the night of the protests were very characteristic of the group’s members.
“The Antifa kid who police say incited riot in Pittsburgh has been arrested and watching him turn himself in with mommy and daddy is the absolute greatest thing on the internet today,” Howerton posted on his social media account.
At the current time, there has not been an official link announced between Bartels and Antifa.
The damage caused by the riots Bartels allegedly instigated brought extensive damage to the area. Pittsburgh Public Safety reported on Sunday that at least 60 businesses as well as other local properties were damaged. The rioting resulted in 44 arrests due to Saturday’s events.
Pittsburgh police believe that Bartels’ actions were directly responsible for what began as a peaceful protest, to take a violent turn. Bartels began his destruction around 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, which is where it all began. In fact, Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert called it a “damn shame” that Antifa-like rioters were taking advantage of the protests.
“I am so angry at the fact that some segment hijacked this and then took some of the youth and brought them into the mix,” Schubert said. “There’s no doubt that that’s who’s doing it and a lot of things we’re seeing are white males, dressed in the anarchist, ANTIFA, they’re ones who are fueling a lot of this. It’s just a damn shame that they took advantage of the situation, for something, something that happened in another state where somebody died who shouldn’t have died, and they hijacked that message for their own.”