After a district court judge sentenced him to time served and three years of probation on Monday, a Pennsylvania man who planted bombs at a Black Lives Matter protest in 2020 will not serve any further time in prison.
In the days after George Floyd’s death last year, Matthew Michanowicz, a 53-year-old Pennsylvania man, admitted to planting a backpack of explosives in downtown Pittsburgh hours after a Black Lives Matter protest.
Although none of the three devices detonated, prosecutors claim that if they had, they may have injured or killed people.
Michanowicz was sentenced to time served for the 18 months he was detained while awaiting trial, as well as three years of supervised release, with the first 180 days spent in home detention.
Michanowicz risked a maximum sentence of ten years in jail for illegally possessing an unregistered dangerous weapon.
Ken Haber, a defense attorney, told The Washington Post that When Ambrose handed the lower sentence, she may have taken Michanowicz’s mental health into account.
“I believe the judge was convinced he suffered a nervous breakdown,” Haber said. According to the lawyer. Michanowicz’s defense argued that he was anxious at the time when he put the explosives and didn’t intend for them to detonate or injure anyone.
Michanowicz rode his bike to the location on May 31, 2020, six days after former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin murdered Floyd and one day after a Black Lives Matter protest became violent in downtown Pittsburgh.
On 2 PNC Plaza, he left a camouflage backpack containing three explosive devices. Police were called to the plaza the next morning after a complaint of a suspicious bag. Three “homemade Molotov cocktails” were found inside the bag, according to authorities.
Michanowicz had poured gasoline into three pepper spray containers and placed wicks inside.
Surveillance footage of a guy carrying the bag lead police in the direction of Michanowicz. Michanowicz was located a few days later in the same region where the backpack was discovered.
He acknowledged that he was the individual seen on the surveillance video. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives searched Michanowicz’s residence and discovered more materials identical to those used in the devices, as well as ten camouflage backpacks similar to the one planted at the crime scene.
Michanowicz pleaded guilty to planting the bag containing explosive devices onto the plaza in August 2021.
Michanowicz had been having problems at the time of the incident, according to Haber. He’d just lost his work as a medical salesperson, and his father and a close friend had suddenly passed away.
“This is the result of a highly successful individual having a nervous breakdown,” Haber explained.
Protesters have been sentenced to prison across the country for their roles in the nationwide demonstrations that occurred last year.
In August, Shamar Betts, 20, was sentenced to four years in federal prison for inciting a riot after posting an inflammatory flier on social media before a violent rally in Salt Lake City, Utah.
According to The Prosecution Project, prosecutors brought more than 300 charges relating to protests from May to October 2020.
Michanowicz’s sentence was highly criticized on social media.