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 any jail time, thanks to a lenient sentence that was apparently inspired out of sympathy for the convicted felon’s history of substance abuse.
Pittsburgh man Matthew Michanowicz on Monday was sentenced to just three years of probation that included the first six months to be served at his home, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Technically, Michanowicz was convicted of possession of an unregistered destructive device, a felony. But when you get down to brass tacks, the facts of the matter are that Michanowicz, 53, brought a camouflage bag filled with Molotov cocktails and planted it at a protest demanding justice for George Floyd’s killing less than a week after Derek Chauvin murdered the unarmed Black man in Minneapolis. The ATF described Michanowicz’s bombs as improvised devices containing gasoline that could kill.
Even though the bombs never detonated, Michanowicz’s intentions could not have been any clearer. Whether he truly wanted to inflict violent pain upon 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 the light sentence after the defense attorney described his client’s drug addiction. The Post Gazette reported that Michanowicz’s lawyer said the would-be bomber has been using drugs since he was a kid and his addiction to opiates was conveniently “at its peak” right around the time he planted the explosives at the BLM protest.
“He used up to five bags of heroin a day, had been an inpatient at a Florida abuse clinic in February 2019,” the Post-Gazette reported as if that was a valid excuse for what sure seem like crimes deserving of attempted murder charges.
Judge Ambrose took the bait and decided to remand Michanowicz to the comforts of his own home instead of the confines of a jail cell.
In sharp contrast, the sympathy Ambrose extended to Michanowicz was emphatically absent in a 2019 case that featured a Black defendant being convicted as a drug dealer in possession of narcotics with intent to distribute. In that instance, 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 seriousness of his crimes and protect the public.”
That sentiment was nowhere to be found at Michanowicz’s sentencing for an admitted crime that also posed a grave risk to the public.
But then again, this is America.
White People Who Committed Heinous Crimes And Didn’t Go To Prison
1. Shane M. Piche
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No jail time for NY school bus driver who admitted to raping 14-year-old girl. The judge says the 26-year-old has no prior arrests and there was one victim, so the sentence was appropriate. https://t.co/LpTIczOZDj #KHOU pic.twitter.com/luCy5iDRwi— KHOU 11 News Houston (@KHOU) April 29, 2019
2. Zoe Reardon
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#Breaking: Judge accepts plea for 18— Nicole Carr (@NicoleFCarr) March 11, 2019
Yo Zoe Reardon, who’s charged with hitting, killing 3 pedestrians , including 3 month old girl. She’ll serve 36 months probation instead of what could have been a max of 36
months behind bars. We’ll have latest on #Channel2at4 @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/TopQV8aEzi
3. Michael Rosfeld
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A jury has acquitted Michael Rosfeld Friday night in the trial of the white former police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teen fleeing a high-stakes traffic stop outside Pittsburgh. https://t.co/pJbCKBwWig— Atlanta Journal-Constitution (@ajc) March 23, 2019
4. George ZimmermanSource:Getty 4 of 13
5. Ethan CouchSource:Getty 5 of 13
6. Isaac Turnbaugh
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isaac turnbaugh— lou 🥺❤️ (@sweetkiwighosts) December 11, 2020
shot and killed 24 year old declan lyons, his co worker.
he got away with the murder. after being found not guilty he confessed and wasnt charged due to the 5th amendment. pic.twitter.com/77RE2FeeWz
7. Ronald Ebens and Michael NitzSource:Getty 7 of 13
8. Betty Shelby, Terence Crutcher’s Killer
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Betty Shelby, the officer who shot and killed Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man, two years ago is now teaching police training classes on "surviving the aftermath" of officer-involved shootings. pic.twitter.com/4jGi305Go2— AJ+ (@ajplus) August 28, 2018
9. Timothy Loehmann, Officer Who Killed 12-Year-Old Tamir Rice9 of 13
10. Darren Wilson, Michael Brown’s KillerSource:Getty 10 of 13
11. Daniel Pantaleo, Eric Garner’s Killer
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BREAKING: In August, LDF submitted FOIA requests to several offices of the U.S. DOJ seeking documents related to the decision not to prosecute former officer Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner. The Executive Office for US Attorneys denied our request weeks later. pic.twitter.com/nsg15Bbso0— Legal Defense Fund (@NAACP_LDF) November 25, 2019
12. J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant, Emmett Till’s Murderers
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On Aug. 28, Roy Bryant, his half-brother, J.W. Milam and at least one other man showed up at Till’s great uncle’s home and abducted him.— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) August 28, 2018
Till’s body was found in the Tallahatchie River on Aug. 31. (Photo: AP) pic.twitter.com/g114H338Nx
Suspected White Supremacist Convicted Of Planting Bombs At BLM Protest Won’t Go To Jail At All was originally published on newsone.com