On Saturday, a Black Lives Matter mob harassed an elderly couple dining outdoors and stormed a McDonald’s, proceeding to apparently assault the store manager, who is black. President Donald Trump insisted that these agitators are “Biden voters” and predicted that Democratic nominee Joe Biden will not discuss the harassment.
“BLM Protesters horribly harass elderly Pittsburgh diners, scaring them with loud taunts while taking their food right off their plate. These Anarchists, not protesters, are Biden voters, but he has no control and nothing to say,” Trump tweeted. “Disgraceful. Never seen anything like it. Thugs!”
The president argued that “because of weak and pathetic Democrat leadership, this thuggery is happening in other Democrat run cities and states.” He warned that local officials “must shut them down fast” and lamented that “Biden and his most Liberal in Senate running mate, Kamala, won’t even talk about it. They won’t utter the words, LAW & ORDER!”
….And because of weak and pathetic Democrat leadership, this thuggery is happening in other Democrat run cities and states. Must shut them down fast. Biden and his most Liberal in Senate running mate, Kamala, won’t even talk about it. They won’t utter the words, LAW & ORDER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 8, 2020
Technically, Biden has uttered the words “law and order,” and he has condemned the looting and rioting in cities across America. However, Trump is right to suggest that the Democrat has not condemned the agitators in antifa and Black Lives Matter by name — and Biden has not condemned this kind of harassment.
On Saturday, diners were enjoying some beer while the BLM mob marched past. One protester, Nique Craft, approached a table and drank a diner’s beer. Another protester swiped a glass off a table, shattering it on the ground. Another protester yelled at a man on a bicycle through a megaphone. The bicyclist smacked the microphone, but another protester hit him in the head with a skateboard.
Neither of the viral videos that captured these events included the context behind them.
Craft told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that three men from outside the protest screamed “Blue Lives Matter!” at the BLM mob. When the protesters came up to them, one man began swinging a bike at them, Craft insisted. One person allegedly pulled Craft’s hair and placed a hand on Craft’s chest, in order to prevent a confrontation.
The protester insisted that a man in the restaurant started shouting at the Black Lives Matter group. A woman who was with him suggested Craft should come over, have a beer, and discuss the situation.
“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 told the Post-Gazette. “Even though people [at the restaurant] saw that whole thing, they still saw me as an aggressor.”
The diners have contradicted Craft’s story. The dining couple, who wish to remain anonymous, told KDKA that they did not offer Craft a beer. They said they remained silent as one protester, identified as Lorenzo Rulli, shouted, “F*** 12! F*** the white people that built the system.”
Yesterday I was enjoying a late lunch in Pittsburgh on an outdoor table when a “peaceful” demonstration came though…
Also on Saturday, Black Lives Matter activists stormed a McDonald’s, shouting at the employees with a bullhorn and preventing the fast-food joint from taking any orders. When the manager came out to confront the invaders, they shouted at him and shoved him back.
Black Lives Matter protesters assaulted a black store manager in Pittsburgh, PA after mobbing his McDonald's. pic.twitter.com/tigzxJfsuW
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) September 7, 2020
According to Ed Thompson, the photojournalist who captured the encounter, the Black Lives Matter mob had protested in front of the McDonald’s. The manager complained about the mob limiting his business, so the protesters agreed to give the store a few hundred dollars worth of food orders. Thompson characterized the video this way: “As they were giving the food to the protesters, the manager; started to get nasty with them.”
While the video does not capture the full situation, it does seem like the BLM mob was harassing the McDonald’s, even if the protesters did go in to make a few orders.
Police are investigating
Pittsburgh police are investigating the incident with the diners. The city’s public safety director, Wendell Hissrich, said the “actions of a few protesters last weekend” were unacceptable, the Post-Gazette reported. “People have the right to dine in public without being accosted and without vulgarities being thrown at them.”
“What we saw this weekend was assault and battery,” Hissrich argued. “It was embarrassing. The vast majority of the protests in Pittsburgh have been peaceful, but this weekend was anything but peaceful.”
The city’s police are working with partners in law enforcement, including the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, to investigate. “If laws were broken, charges will follow,” officials said.
“As a native Pittsburgher, what I saw this weekend was disturbing and cannot continue,” Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert said in a statement. “Sadly, the protesters’ message gets erased when you have certain organizers inciting violence, which is what a handful of them are doing. It creates a dangerous and volatile situation.”
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.