A Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, man who injured a cop by hurling a concrete block through a police vehicle’s window during a 2020 Iron City riot will spend a year behind bars.
On Wednesday, Dec. 1, District Judge Arthur J. Schwab sentenced George Allen, 31, from the Sheraden section of Pittsburgh, to a year and a day in federal prison, plus three years of supervised release. Allen remains free on bond and will report to federal authorities on Feb. 1, 2022, to begin serving his sentence.
Allen’s punishment stems from a May 30, 2020, protest in downtown Pittsburgh against the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The march began peacefully but exploded into a riot hours later. When Pittsburgh police officers near PPG Paints Arena tried to escape the mob in their Tactical Operations Support truck, Allen grabbed a chunk of concrete and smashed it through the passenger window, injuring a cop inside.
Before his 2020 arrest, Allen had one prior conviction as an adult — driving under the influence, according to federal court records. In state court, he still faces an aggravated assault charge on the police officer.
During sentencing, Allen expressed contrition for what he did to the officer and the burden his conviction placed on the federal criminal justice system. His downtown criminal defense attorney, Patrick K. Nightingale, told Coffee or Die Magazine he was disappointed that Allen didn’t draw a lower sentence.
The lawyer pointed to the punishment Schwab had handed out to a suburban rioter, Brian Bartels, who was blamed for sparking the violence in the May 30 riot by vandalizing an unoccupied Pittsburgh police car.
A 21-year-old Shaler man, Bartels drew a sentence of six months in a halfway house and three years of probation, and he was ordered to pay $1,000 in restitution.
“George Allen grew up in the projects. He was exposed to drug dealers and crime, but he never went down that path,” Nightingale said. “Like many Americans with his background, he saw video of a man dying at the hands of police officers, and that had an effect on him.”
SEEKING PROBATION: Brian Bartels, the young man accused of kicking in the windshield of a police vehicle and inciting violence in a May riot in downtown Pittsburgh is looking to avoid prison time.
— KDKA (@KDKA) January 12, 2021
In a pre-sentencing motion, federal prosecutor Jonathan D. Lusty urged Schwab to stick with a longer sentence. The publicity would help deter future protestors from misconduct while punishing Allen for his crime, Lusty argued.
“The defendant’s actions of attacking a police vehicle occupied by law enforcement officers who were attempting to escape a large mob are serious, and a guidelines range sentence is necessary to demonstrate the seriousness of the offense,” Lusty wrote.
The father of three young sons, Allen asked to serve his sentence at West Virginia’s Federal Correctional Institution, Morgantown, a minimum-security prison about 75 miles south of Pittsburgh.