Suspected white supremacist who bombed in BLM protest avoids jail
A a suspected white supremacist and drug addict who planted a bag of explosives at a Black Lives Matter protest in Pittsburgh last year had the privilege of avoiding jail time, thanks to a lenient sentence that was apparently inspired by sympathy for the convicted offender’s substance abuse history.
Pittsburgh man Matthew Michanowicz was sentenced Monday to just three years of probation, including the first six months to serve at his home, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Technically, Michanowicz was convicted of possession of an unregistered destructive device, a felony. But when it comes to the real thing, the facts are that Michanowicz, 53, brought a camouflage bag full of Molotov cocktails and planted it during a protest demanding justice for the murder of George Floyd within a week after Derek Chauvin murdered the unarmed Black Man in Minneapolis. The ATF described the Michanowicz bombs as improvised devices containing gasoline that could kill.
Even though the bombs never exploded, Michanowicz’s intentions couldn’t have been clearer. Whether he really wants to inflict severe pain on social justice protesters or just use the bombs to intimidate, he targeted a BLM protest for a reason.
Prosecutors were seeking more than three years in prison for Michanowicz, but U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose handed down a light sentence after defense attorney described her client’s drug addiction. The Post Gazette reported that Michanowicz’s attorney said the would-be suicide bomber had been using drugs since childhood and his opioid addiction was conveniently “at its peak” just as he planted the explosives at the protest. BLM.
“He was using up to five bags of heroin a day, had been hospitalized in a Florida abuse clinic in February 2019,” the Post-Gazette reported as if that was a valid excuse for what appears to be crimes meriting attempted murder charges.
Judge Ambrose took the bait and decided to send Michanowicz back to the comfort of his own home instead of the confines of a jail cell.
In contrast, Ambrose’s sympathy for Michanowicz was flatly absent in a 2019 case featuring a black accused convicted as a drug dealer in possession of narcotics with the intention of distributing them. In this case, Ambrose sentenced Kawama Hightower, 41, to three years and 10 months in prison, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported at the time.
Ambrose reportedly said during Hightower’s sentencing that she wanted to “hold him accountable for his crimes, reflect the gravity of his crimes and protect the public.”
This sentiment was nowhere to be found during Michanowicz’s conviction for a recognized crime which also posed a serious risk to the public.
But again, this is America.
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