Matthew Michanowicz sentenced to probation for planting bombs throughout Black Lives Matter protests

A Pennsylvania man who admitted leaving a bag of homemade bombs in downtown Pittsburgh during the protests against the death of George Floyd in 2020 will not spend a day behind bars. Matthew Michanowicz, 53, was sentenced to imprisonment and three years probation by a judge on Monday. The first six months of his sentence are served in house arrest.

Dubbed an “agitator” targeting violence by a former federal prosecutor, Michanowicz pleaded guilty to possession of an unregistered destructive device following indictment by the grand jury in June 2020. A prosecutor at his trial argued Michanowicz should have received between 30 and 37 months in prison on the grounds that his devices may have killed or seriously injured people.

Michanowicz was captured on surveillance videos cycling to a protest location on May 31, 2020 and placing a backpack there. A day later, officials asked to respond to the suspicious bag found three explosive devices. Authorities later said the devices were spent pepper spray grenades with wicks held in place by foam spray insulation, filled with gasoline and potentially deadly. Investigators who later searched Michanowicz’s home found 10 more backpacks that looked similar to the one he had planted.

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