Protesters speak out about confrontation with diners in Pittsburgh

BLM protesters who screamed ‘f*** the white people’ at Pittsburgh diners and drank their beer insist the confrontation was sparked by a group of men shouting ‘Blue Lives Matter’ and claim the elderly couple ‘invited them for a drink’

  • Anti-racism protester said a confrontation with diners in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, started after a group of men shouted ‘Blue Lives Matter’ at demonstrators
  • One of those men reportedly swung a bike at people during the confrontation 
  • Nique Craft, who was filmed drinking an older couple’s beer, said the couple invited Craft over for a drink and to discuss the situation
  • Lorenzo Rulli noted that video did not show agitators who harassed anti-racism protesters  
  • Protests against racial inequality and police brutality continued across the country on Sunday night 
  • In Rochester, New York, a man was struck by a vehicle during a demonstration over the death of Daniel Prude  
  • In Portland 59 people were arrested overnight Saturday – setting a record for protest-related arrests so far 

The protesters who were captured on video yelling at outdoor restaurant patrons said the footage was one-sided and the confrontation sparked after a group of men shouted ‘Blue Live Matter’ and one man swung a bike.

The explanation from demonstrators present during Saturday’s rally in Rochester, New York, comes after footage of the incident was shared on social media 

‘Even though people [at the restaurant] saw that whole thing, they still saw me as an aggressor,’ Nique Craft, a protester at the event, told Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.    

Cellphone footage shows the protesters taking over the outdoor dining space with Craft approaching an older couple’s table before drinking their beer in front of them; another smashed a glass from a table. 

One protester, identified as Lorenzo Rulli, tells the diners: ‘F**k the white people that built the system.’ He adds: ‘F*** 12’; a reference to police. 

Black Lives Matter protesters screamed in the face of white elderly outdoor diners during protests in Pittsburgh on Saturday, disturbing new video shows

When demonstrators entered the outdoor dining space, Nique Craft (pictured) person took a couples’ drink and drank it herself before leaving

Others eating at the restaurant pick up their belonging and leave after demonstrators call them an ’embarrassment’. 

The demonstrations are in response to several black Americans who have died in police custody, with the recently shared footage of the death of Daniel Prude in Rochester, New York in March, sparking the new wave of outrage. 

Similar scenes have played out across the county with a diner in Washington D.C. last week cornered by a group of anti-racism protesters outside a restaurant. In another incident, diners in Rochester were also confronted by a large group of demonstrators. 

Similar scenes have played out across the county with a diner in Washington D.C. last week being cornered by a group of anti-racism protesters outside a restaurant

‘We’re shutting your party down,’ one woman was seen shouting in the face of a New York diner as demonstrators smashed the customer’s glasses in front of their faces, broke plates, overturned chairs and chanted at them to get out. 

A second video taken in Pittsburgh over the weekend shows a demonstrator speaking with a megaphone while walking next to a cyclist. It’s unclear what is said, but the demonstrator nudges the cyclist with his megaphone. 

The cyclist swats the demonstrator in response, but a second protester reportedly hits the man from behind with a skateboard.

According to Craft, who identifies as nonbinary, the incident sparked when protesters marched through the area and three men shouted ‘Blue Lives Matter.’ It’s unclear if these men were diners or pedestrians in the area.

When protesters approached the group, one man reportedly swung his back at people.

Craft told the Post-Gazette that one man grabbed Craft’s hair and placed a hand on Craft’s chest, saying he was trying to stop a confrontation from happening.

After the initial confrontation  Craft said that the older man seen in footage chastised protesters for their actions. His wife, however, invited Craft over for a drink and to discuss the situation. 

Craft (pictured) said a confrontation began after a group of men yelled ‘Blue Lives Matter’ at protesters and one man reportedly swung at bike at people 

‘So, being a theatrical, snarky type of person that I am, I said that I don’t have time to wait for you to order another beer; I will take the one you have,’ Craft said.

Craft did not know the man who swung the skateboard at the cyclist.

Police in Pittsburgh are said to have launched an investigation into both clips; there were no arrests during Saturday’s protest.  

The footage of the diners in Pittsburgh being approached sparked outrage online. One Twitter user, Michele Lippert, wrote: ‘I am so sick of this!!!’ 

Another, Ricardo Dinero, said: ‘These terrorists have no place in Pittsburgh or anywhere in America. They don’t care about black lives, they care about chaos.’ 

One demonstrator and a cyclist get into a brief slapping match as others watch the exchange from restaurants and businesses (pictured)

Authorities in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, are investigating after social media footage showed demonstrators and civilians clashing on Saturday

Bob Billen wrote: ‘I just don’t understand what the endgame is for this insult, smash and dash style of “protesting”. Who is sympathetic to it?’

Lorenzo Rulli, who wore a purple shirt and shouted at the older couple, said  the videos also didn’t show a number of agitators who harassed demonstrators that day.

‘We don’t target businesses,’ he told Post-Gazette. ‘Our restaurant industry in the city supports us very much.

‘We were talking to people that were talking to us. The beer that was consumed was an offer. The glass that fell was a mistake.’

 He added that people at the restaurant were cheering for demonstrators, and he only approached the older couple after they disparaged him.

Lorenzo Rullie (left and right): ‘The reason I engaged the individual man and his wife is because … her husband called me “an embarrassment” and “disgusting”‘

‘The reason I engaged the individual man and his wife is because … her husband called me “an embarrassment” and “disgusting,”‘ he said. 

GOP Sen Pat Toomey said in response to the videos that ‘These are crimes,’ but Rulli doesn’t think the footage will cast anti-racism protests in a negative light.

‘Honestly, the protesters could never be in a good light in this city until the people who have the power to convey the message properly are doing so,’ said Rulli. 

In Rochester a man attending a demonstration was struck by a car on Sunday.

Shared by Carolyn Delvecchio Hoffman, footage shows a group of demonstrators standing in an intersection during the city’s third night of protest. 

Protesters watch a vehicle turning right out of the intersection with a screech, but a few voices suddenly scream out in warning.

Seconds later, a red vehicle accelerates into the crowd and the driver unleashes a wave of yellow spray paint at protesters.  

Meanwhile, the unidentified man was crouching down on the concrete and did not see the vehicle coming in time.

The man manages to jump in the air, but is still hit by the vehicle and thrown to the ground. 

The group of witnesses then call for volunteer medics as the man remains on the ground.

Hoffman said: ‘The driver was not arrested at the scene. Volunteer medics responded to the injured protesters.’

She added that over the course of the night she was shot with rubber bullets and pepper spray during confrontations with the Rochester Police Department. 

A man attending a demonstration in Rochester, New York, was struck by a car on Sunday

The driver of the vehicle was spraying yellow paint at demonstrators as he drove through the crowd and hit the unidentified man on Friday night in Rochester, New York 

Demonstrators take part in a protest over the death of a Black man, Daniel Prude, after police put a spit hood over his head during an arrest in March, in Rochester, New York 

A demonstrator wear protective glasses, a hoodies and holds a trash can top as a makeshift shield as he takes part in a demonstration on Sunday in Rochester 

On Saturday, police used batons, pepper balls and tear gas to push back about 2,000 protesters who marched toward the Public Safety Building on Saturday night, chanting ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘Daniel Prude.’

The Rochester Police Department said in a statement that protesters had ignored their orders to disperse, and that some hurled bottles, rocks and fireworks at officers. 

A group of local ‘elders’ arrived early to the protest to act as a human barricade between demonstrators and the Rochester Police Department, according to The Democrat & Chronicle. 

The mayor of Rochester on Monday promised reforms are coming to the city’s police department. 

The demonstration held in Rochester, New York, on Sunday night was the fourth consecutive protest in the city over the death of Daniel Prude 

Demonstrators hold signs reading ‘Black Lives Matter’ while standing outside in the streets of Rochester on Sunday to continue to protest the death of Daniel Prude 

Sunday’s protest ended peacefully with demonstrators playing music and dancing outside the Public Safety Building in Rochester 

Two demonstrators hold up signs reading ‘Defund The Police’ on Sunday after protests sparked in Rochester, New York, this week 

People look at a makeshift memorial during a protest over the death of a Black man, Daniel Prude, after police put a spit hood over his head during an arrest and died from ‘complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint’

By 8pm on Sunday, a rally had begun on Jefferson Avenue, the street where Prude was restrained by officers and suffocated to death, and continued to the Public Safety Building.

Once at the Public Safety Building, protesters made calls for police reform and an end to inequality. The night ended with music and dancing in front of the Public Safety Building.  

On Friday night, the Mayor of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was confronted over his city’s policies and law enforcement at his home by upset residents.

Around 100 people met in the East Liberty neighborhood for ‘Civil Saturdays,’ the name given to their continued protests, they traveled through downtown.

The Post-Gazette reports that Saturday’s demonstration was meant to disrupt restaurant diners and residents with a call for Black Lives Matter.

‘Out of the bars and into the streets,’ the group chanted. 

The eventually rounded to the home of Mayor Bill Peduto after criminal charges were filed against four protest leaders. 

Once outside Peduto’s home, demonstrators were met with a half-dozen Pittsburgh police officers standing in front of the mayor’s door.

After standing there for a short time, Post-Gazette reports that officers began putting on their riot helmets.

‘I don’t see a riot here why are you in riot gear?’ protesters chanted in response.

The group eventually left Peduto’s home and the demonstration peacefully dispersed just after 10pm.

Mayor Peduto’s home was surrounded by a line of Pittsburgh police officers who stood guard at the front door (pictured) 

A crowd of demonstrators hold their fists in the air in solidarity on Sunday night as they protest the death of Daniel Prude and other black Americans who died in police custody

Pictured: a protester wearing protective gear and holding a makeshift shield stands among a crowd of other demonstrators in Rochester 

In Portland, Oregon, officials revealed that 59 people had been arrested on the 101st night of protests in the city – a new record. 

The majority of arrests were over low-level misdemeanors that  Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt said he will dismiss, Oregon Live reports. 

Oregon State Police was responsible for 16 of the 59 arrests, and they have not yet released the identities.

A rally and march at Alberta Park was scheduled to take place on Sunday, but authorities later received word that protesters were outside the North Precinct blocking traffic.

KOIN reports that a fire was started on NE MLK Boulevard, and fire emergency crews put out the flames without further incident.

The night before, hundreds of protesters continued to clash with law enforcement as nearly 30 people were arrested, a swarm of fireworks were launched into the air and one person caught on fire from a deployed Molotov cocktail.

 In one video, officers implore residents to disperse from the area as Molotov cocktails crash against the pavement and fire erupts.

‘This has been declared an unlawful assembly,’ officers say. ‘All persons immediately leave the area. Failure to adhere to this order may subject you too arrest, citation or the use of crowd control agents including but not limited to tear gas and, or impact weapons.’

During the 100th night of protest in Portland, a man’s shoes caught on fire after some people launched Molotov cocktails into roadways 

Seconds later, a Molotov cocktail is thrown but drops dangerously close to a protester standing in the roadway. 

A wave a gasps are heard as a man rushes out of the inferno with both his feet on fire. The man desperately tries to kick the fire away but needs assistance from other demonstrators.

‘Stop, drop and roll!’ one person shouts. The man on fire rolls across the ground but is forced to take his shoes off as the fire continues to burn the fabric.

After the riot was declared, a BLM ‘snack van’ that hands out food to protesters pulled up to an intersection blocked by police and faced officers in a tense standoff.

When a line of riot police charged the BLM demonstrators they scattered, and officers were filmed sprinting after the fleeing protesters down normally quiet streets lined with family homes, pinning them to the ground and cuffing them while others shouted insults and taunts. 

Neighbors blocked their roads with traffic cones and barrels to prevent protesters parking and joining the demonstration that devolved into a riot.

A local standing outside his home told that at one point a line of hundreds of marchers trooping down East Burnside Street by Ventura Park stretched almost twenty city blocks.   

A protester holds a megaphone as he takes part in a protest outside the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct on the 101th consecutive night of protests against police violence and racial inequality in Portland 

Protesters gather outside the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct on the 101th consecutive night of protests against police violence and racial inequality

Authorities in Portland said they arrested 59 people – a record – between Saturday night and Sunday morning 

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