Protesters Charged in Clash With Diners

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Oct 09, 2020 | 0 Comments

Our country has recently witnessed high-profile police brutality cases that have resulted in the deaths of many men and women of color and reignited conversations surrounding racism and inequality in our law enforcement and legal systems. With the fight for racial justice in America comes heightened emotions, and those sentiments have been on display during protests – with occasionally explosive results.

While it's certainly understandable that systemic oppression and racism make people angry, some protesters take their righteous indignation too far. While the vast majority of protesters are peaceful, others end up facing criminal charges that might include assault, property damage, or disorderly conduct.

When Protests Become Violent

In September, three protesters in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, were charged following a confrontation with diners at a restaurant. The protest began peacefully, but the incident escalated, and the three protesters who are now facing charges were caught on video yelling and breaking a glass. The recording later reached social media, where it went viral.

It's important to keep in mind that the trio did not start off doing anything illegal. They were exercising their constitutional right to free speech and protesting racial injustice before they became unruly, eventually using a megaphone and offensive language in an attempt to incite further violence. Police also reported that the protesters harassed bicyclists, forcing the cyclists to defend themselves.

In general, law enforcement has the right to break up violent protests and arrest those who are destructive. Still, ideally, you shouldn't be charged with a crime unless you were directly linked to the confrontation. Using words to incite violence, however, can be considered a crime and can be grounds for arrest – and sometimes protesters are arrested en masse, even when participants haven't committed a crime.

Are You Facing Criminal Charges After a Protest?

If you attended a protest this year and have been charged with a crime related to your involvement, you're not alone. In fact, it's completely understandable if you got swept up by the energy of the event and let your emotions get the better of you, especially at a time of such great tension and unrest in our country.

Even if you remained peaceful and engaged only in legal activities at a protest, that doesn't ensure you won't get arrested. In fact, officers have been known to arrest groups of people at large protests – though in many cases criminal charges won't hold up in court. Regardless of whether you've done anything wrong, you have constitutional rights, and a lawyer can make sure those rights are upheld.

Though dealing with the legal system is never a pleasant experience, facing criminal charges is easier with an experienced attorney on your side. The impact of criminal charges can affect many areas of a person's life, future, and career. If you've been charged with a crime, it's important to understand all of the possible implications. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm can help you navigate this challenge. Call us today at (888) 535-3686 or contact us online.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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