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Rioter Arrested For Torching NYPD Van Blames Peer Pressure

Brooklyn, NY – One of three rioters accused of torching a New York City Police Department (NYPD) van during the George Floyd riots in May has been arrested, according to police.

Tips from community members led police to 21-year-old Matthew Piscitello, who was arrested near his Dyker Heights home at approximately 4:40 p.m. on Dec. 9, the New York Post reported.

According to investigators, Piscitello is one of three rioters accused of using incendiary devices to light the marked, unoccupied police van ablaze in Fort Greene on May 29.

The vehicle went up in flames at the corner of Dekalb Avenue and South Portland Avenue at approximately 9 p.m. that night, the New York Post reported.

After the blaze was extinguished, members of the group set it on fire again, according to WABC.

Videos showed the van fully engulfed in flames as rioters stood around cheering.

The vehicle ended up being a total loss by the end of the night.

Piscitello has been charged with riot, two counts of reckless endangerment, two counts of arson, and three counts of criminal mischief, the New York Post reported.

According to prosecutors, the alleged arsonist claimed he was the victim of peer pressure, the New York Daily News reported.

“I am further informed by the defendant’s own statements that, in sum and substance, that’s him in the videos, and that he threw the firework onto the van because someone else pressured him to do so,” court documents read.

Piscitello was released without bail following his arraignment on Dec. 10, according to the New York Daily News.

His next court hearing is scheduled for Jan. 12.

The NYPD is still searching for the other two suspects involved in the arson, the New York Post reported.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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