Man on probation after planting bomb at a BLM protest
Matthew Michanowicz's jail sentence has been reduced after he planted three homemade bombs after a Black Lives Matter protest in Pittsburgh.
Matthew Michanowicz was carrying homemade bombs as he rode his bike in downtown Pittsburgh on May 31, 2020.
Six days earlier, a Minneapolis police officer murdered George Floyd, sparking protests around the country. The day before, one protest in Pittsburgh devolved into a riot. Dozens were arrested and city leaders imposed a curfew.
The next day, Michanowicz rode his bike to check out the aftermath. He took himself to a plaza below a skyscraper in the heart of downtown, planted the backpack with the three bombs he’d made, and left. However, they never exploded, but prosecutors said they could have hurt or killed someone.
Police found the bombs the next morning, quickly found Michanowicz as a suspect, and arrested him, federal prosecutors said in court documents.
He was charged for illegally possessing three destructive devices, to which he pleaded guilty in August.
On Monday, facing a 10-year prison sentence, Michanowicz, 53, avoided more time behind bars, instead of getting time served and three years’ probation. He has to serve the first six months under house arrest.
Michanowicz, a suspect
Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives raided Michanowicz’s home, where they found fuses and foam insulation spray similar to what had been used to make the bombs.
They also discovered 10 camouflage backpacks like the one he previously used to carry the three bombs.
Right after Michanowicz was charged, then-US Attorney Scott Brady denounced him as an agitator; “Michanowicz brought a backpack full of homemade Molotov cocktails to downtown Pittsburgh,” Brady said.
“He wasn’t there to protest; he was there to engage in violent attacks.” Haber pushed back on Brady’s assertion.