Three people are now facing criminal charges for harassing diners at a restaurant in Pittsburgh during a Black Lives Matter protest over Labor Day weekend.
Misdemeanor charges were filed against Monique Craft, 35, Kenneth McDowell, 33, and Shawn Green, 24, on Monday. It’s unclear whether they’ve been taken into custody.
A viral video showed the trio and other protesters screaming ‘f*** the white people’ and yelling other obscenities at diners outside the Sienna Mercato restaurant on Penn Avenue on September 5.
Craft was dubbed the ‘beer bandit’ after she was seen swiping a drink from an elderly white couple and downing it in front of them before another protester knocked the glass to the ground.
Green, who goes by Lorenzo Rulli, swore at the elderly couple and gave them the finger, according to a police complaint. He also walked up to the front of the restaurant and screamed into an open window.
Police identified McDowell as the ‘ringleader’ and said he used a megaphone to scream obscenities at diners sitting outside Sienna Mercato and others passing by, as seen in the video.
McDowell was also accused of getting into an alteration with a McDonald’s manager in another protest video that went viral.
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Monique Craft, Kenneth McDowell and Shawn Green, who goes by Lorenzo Rulli, are now facing charges for harassing diners two restaurants in Pittsburgh during a Black Lives Matter protest over Labor Day weekend. A viral video showed Craft swiping a beer from an elderly couple drinking outside the Sienna Mercato restaurant on September 5
A man identified as Kenneth McDowell is seen shouting at a bicyclist through a megaphone during the confrontation outside Sienna Mercato
Shawn Green, who goes by Lorenzo Rulli (center in purple) swore at an elderly couple and gave them the finger, according to a police complaint
Craft has been charged with disorderly conduct, conspiracy and theft by unlawful taking after allegedly admitting to chugging the couple’s beer.
McDowell is charged with possessing instruments of crime, conspiracy, disorderly conduct and harassment, and Rulli is charged with disorderly conduct, conspiracy, criminal mischief and simple trespass.
Police noted in the complaint that the diners did not appear to be engaging with the protesters.
However, the protesters involved later told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that what the video didn’t capture was a group of men shouting ‘Blue Lives Matter’ and one man swinging a bike at them.
Craft (pictured) insisted that the protesters didn’t instigate the altercation outside Sienna Mercato
The incident outside Sienna Mercato drew the ire of President Donald Trump, who called the protesters Joe Biden voters and ‘anarchists’ in a flurry of tweets on September 8.
‘BLM Protesters horribly harass elderly Pittsburgh diners, scaring them with loud taunts while taking their food right off their plate,’ Trump complained.
‘These Anarchists, not protesters are Biden voters, but he has no control and nothing to say. Disgraceful. Never seen anything like it. Thugs!’
Trump said ‘this thuggery’ was happening in Democratic-run cities and states.
‘Biden and his most Liberal in Senate running mate, Kamala, won’t even talk about it,’ Trump charged. ‘They won’t utter the words, LAW & ORDER!’
Biden has repeatedly said that violence, looting and other bad behavior didn’t count as protesting.
In two tweets Tuesday, Trump challenged Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris to ‘utter the words, LAW & ORDER,’ after protesters displayed bad behavior in Pittsburgh Saturday. The protesters later told the Post-Gazette that the video didn’t tell the whole story
Cellphone footage captured the moment the protesters descended on Sienna Mercato’s outdoor dining space, with Craft approaching an older couple’s table before drinking their beer in front of them.
Rulli tells the diners: ‘F**k the white people that built the system,’ adding: ‘F*** 12,’ a reference to police.
Some diners picked up their belongings and left after demonstrators called them an ’embarrassment’.
In a second video, McDowell was seen walking next to a cyclist and speaking through a megaphone.
It’s difficult to distinguish what was said between the pair before McDowell nudged the cyclist with his megaphone.
The cyclist swatted back before a second protester reportedly hit the man from behind with a skateboard.
Craft, who identifies as nonbinary, sought to explain the scenes in an interview with the Post-Gazette.
‘Even though people [at the restaurant] saw that whole thing, they still saw me as an aggressor,’ Craft said.
Craft said the altercation was 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 at people.
Craft said 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.
Cellphone footage captured the moment the protesters descended on Sienna Mercato’s outdoor dining space (left), with Craft approaching an older couple (right) at a table before drinking their beer in front of them
Craft (pictured) said the confrontation began after a group of men yelled ‘Blue Lives Matter’ at protesters and one man reportedly swung at bike at people
Describing the moment she took the couple’s drink, Craft said: ‘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’
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.
‘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 of the moment they grabbed the drink.
Rulli also explained his involvement in the row with the older couple he shouted at, saying the footage didn’t show a number of agitators who harassed demonstrators that day.
‘We don’t target businesses,’ Rulli 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.
‘The reason I engaged the individual man and his wife is because … her husband called me “an embarrassment” and “disgusting,”‘ Rulli said.
Rulli (center in purple) said he got involved in the confrontation with the elderly couple after the husband called him ‘an embarassment’ and ‘disgusting’
In a second video, McDowell was seen walking next to a cyclist and speaking through a megaphone. It’s difficult to distinguish what was said between the pair before McDowell nudged the cyclist with his megaphone
The charges against McDowell also stemmed from an altercation inside a McDonald’s restaurant, police said.
Video showed protesters swarming the eatery before a man identified as McDowell began shouting at the manager.
Pittsburgh police opened an investigation into both incidents last week.
The city’s protests 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.
‘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.
The charges against McDowell also stemmed from an altercation inside a McDonald’s restaurant, police said. Video showed him attacking a manager with his megaphone