PITTSBURGH — A Long Beach Township resident has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for throwing a homemade explosive device at police during the George Floyd protests in western Pennsylvania in 2020.

Nicholas Lucia, 27, is also subjected to three years of supervised release following his prison sentence.

He pleaded guilty in December 2021 to a charge of obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder.

Federal prosecutors said Lucia threw the device, described by the defense as a “firecracker” at several uniformed Pittsburgh police officers near Mellon Square during protests on May 30, 2020, as they were trying to maintain order.

The explosive device landed on the vest of one of the officers, and another officer quickly pulled it off and threw it before it detonated. One officer suffered a concussion as a result.

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On May 25, 2020, a black man, George Floyd, 46, had been arrested in Minneapolis on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill. Police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white,  knelt on Floyd's neck for over nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed, laying face down in a street, unable to breathe. Floyd became distressed complaining of breathing difficulties.

Despite pleas from bystanders to lift his knee off Floyd's neck, Chauvin kept at it. After several minutes, Floyd stopped speaking and lay motionless.

On April 20, 2021, Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. He was sentenced to nearly 23 years in prison.

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