By Bobby Kerlik PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
A man convicted of causing damage in Oakland during the G-20 protests will
likely be spending the holidays behind bars, an Allegheny County judge
David Japenga, 21, was sentenced to six to 18 months in the county jail
for his August conviction of four misdemeanors and a felony for breaking
windows at Citizens Bank, Irish Design Center and Quizno's on Sept. 24,
2009, while world leaders met in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center,
Common Pleas Judge Edward J. Borkowski declined a request from Japenga's
attorney to sentence him to the four months he already served in the
Uptown lockup since his conviction. Prosecutors sought a state prison
sentence of one to two years.
"I had hoped he'd be released to be with his family for Thanksgiving and
Christmas," defense attorney Patrick Nightingale said.
Japenga told the judge that his time in jail and on house arrest with an
electronic ankle bracelet made him reflect on his life. Since moving from
California to Pittsburgh in the months before the Group of 20 summit,
Japenga said he liked living in Pittsburgh.
But the judge held up a flier police found in the house Japenga was living
in with several people after he was arrested. The flier read, "We want to
riot, not work."
"It appears to me you came into Allegheny County solely for the purpose to
engage in this conduct," Borkowski said.
Japenga said the house was filled with many people with different
personalities. "I didn't come to Pittsburgh to riot. I came here to live
here," he said. "It was not my motive to destroy property."
About a dozen of Japenga's friends attended the sentencing but declined
Nightingale said his client was working as a messenger before his
incarceration and that job was waiting for him when he got out.
Assistant District Attorney Kevin Chernosky argued Japenga was responsible
for about $15,000 in damage to the three businesses on Fifth Avenue and
Craig Street. Japenga must pay that money back as part of his sentence.
Borkowski imposed five years of probation.
Police arrested about 200 people during demonstrations in Oakland and
elsewhere in the city.
Windows Smashed in Solidarity with David Japenga
From corporate WTAE-4 (with video)
OAKLAND, Pa. -- A group of protestors smashed more than a dozen windows in
Oakland on Tuesday night in what police said appeared to be retaliation
for the sentencing of a G-20 protestor to jail time earlier in the day.
Police said that 10 to 15 people dressed in black and carrying signs
smashed 13 windows at the PNC Bank in the 4500 block of Fifth Avenue and
three windows at Camille's Cafe across the street at about 8 p.m.
A police officer said that it appeared that the vandals used bats to break
Investigators estimated the cost of replacing the damaged windows at $65,000.
Police said that they are investigating whether the vandalism was in
retaliation for the sentencing of 21-year-old G-20 protestor David Japenga
on Tuesday. Japenga was sentenced to six to 18 months in jail and five
years probation for causing more than $10,000 in damage by breaking
windows at three different businesses on South Craig Street in Oakland
during a protest on Sept. 24, 2009.
Japenga was also ordered to pay $13,400 to cover the cost of replacing the
windows that were broken. Police said that they are waiting to see if
surveillance video at the bank might provide clues as to the identities of
Democracy 101 (short version, see 8:50 for 9/24/09 bloc footage)
Democracy 101 (longer version, see 5:30 for extended 9/24/09 bloc footage)
Video of Japenga's snatch squad arrest: