Matthew Michanowicz
Matthew Michanowicz

Man Gets Probation for Planting Bombs During Black Lives Matter Protest

A suspected white supremacist who planted bombs during a Black Lives Matter protest has just been given a slap on the wrist in court Monday.

U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose gave Matthew Michanowicz credit for time served and three years of probation, with the first six months to be completed on house arrest. The light punishment resulted from the 53-year-old leaving a bag of Molotov cocktails in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during a George Floyd protest on May 31st, 2020. Michanowicz planted the homemade bomb near PNC Plaza.

Police were notified of a suspicious backpack near a bike rack on June 1st. When officers arrived, they detected a foul odor coming from the bag and called the bomb squad, who concluded the bag held grenades with wicks held in place by foam spray insulation and were filled with gasoline. On June 3rd, officers arrested Michanowicz after surveillance footage showed him arriving at the scene on his blue bicycle and planting the backpack. When investigators searched his home, they located ten camouflage backpacks like the one he’d left at the scene and materials used to make the devices. Officers also found receipts for fuses used to make the explosives. Michanowicz pleaded guilty in August 2021 to possession of an unregistered destructive device.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Smolar pushed for a 30 to 37-month prison sentence for the would-be bomber. However, his attorney, Ken Haber, argued that his client’s heroin addiction is to blame for his actions.

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