WASHINGTON D.C.— Three suspects face charges after an incident on Thursday night at Black Lives Matter Plaza, a two-block long section of 16th Street NW in Washington D.C. The incident occurred when a Caucasian man in black face approached a crowd of Black Lives Matter and anti-Trump protesters outside the White House on the final night of the Republican National Convention. The police later identified the man as Michael David Pion.
According to a police report, one unnamed suspect hit Pion in the head and face. D.C. police officers at the scene tried to intervene to prevent the situation from escalating and becoming more violent. Yet, they were unable to stop the second suspect, Mahadi Lawal, from also punching the victim. A third suspect, Jonathan Gartrelle, attacked the officer who was trying to restrain Lawal. Gartrelle pulled the officer to the ground and then initially resisted arrest before the police caught and handcuffed him.
After being booked for assault, the first suspect was released. Lawal and Gartrelle are still in custody, having been charged with assault and assault on a police officer, respectfully. Additionally, after obtaining new information, the police are now searching for the first suspect to detain him.
This incident comes amidst a renewed surge in protests in the past week since police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin shot Jacob Blake in the latest act of police brutality against a African-American man. Across the country, people have been protesting in solidarity with Blake to demand racial justice.