On the same night Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee featured Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who gained viral fame for pointing guns and threatening peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters as they walked past the couple’s St. Louis home, another man was drawing his gun on Black Lives Matter protesters walking from Milwaukee to Washington, D.C. to draw attention to racial injustice.
Unlike the McCloskeys, this Pennsylvania man fired his rifle. Activist Frank “Nitty” Sensabaugh was livestreaming on Facebook as the group walked down the road. Some in the group were walking and others were in support vehicles, which were decorated with Black Lives Matter slogans, when the sound of a gunshot can be heard (at approximately 23:00-minute mark of the video below).
Nitty and others can be heard discussing the sound of the gunshot when two men emerged from a porch, and at least one was carrying a rifle. Another protester can be heard shouting: “We’re leaving, you don’t need to get violent!” Nitty can be heard telling everyone to get in their cars to leave when more shots rang out, hitting one of the protesters as he tried to get to a vehicle.
Pennsylvania State Police are investigating. They released a statement saying that "gunfire was exchanged, and one activist was struck.” The victim, who has not been identified, was shot in the face. Police say he is recovering from non-life-threatening injuries.
On Tuesday afternoon Pennsylvania State Police and Bedford County District Attorney Lesley Childer-Potts held a press conference saying they were investigating and “gunfire was exchanged.” They said a call came in to police that a group was in the parking lot of a business and refused to leave, leading to the shooting. If you watch the live video, no confrontation or argument was heard until shots suddenly rang out.
Furthermore, after being questioned by members of the media, neither the police nor the prosecutor would confirm whether protesters shot back, something that seemed to be insinuated in the previous statement. They merely said both guns had been recovered and the investigation was ongoing. A reporter specifically questioned their caginess on who exactly was shooting and whether it is possible both guns came from the two men seen in the video. Childer-Potts said: “At this point, answering that question would be purely speculation. I am not willing to make a determination at this point based upon the information that we are certain of. And it would be inappropriate to make a determination or a prosecutorial decision with the information we have at this point.”
Both of the men were released and no charges have been filed.
A visibly upset Nitty went live again on Facebook after the press conference to say he couldn’t believe the man hadn’t been arrested and that he was incredulous police told the media the man’s statement that they were “on his property” and left out the statements of the 50 witnesses in the group who were fired upon.
Just two weeks ago, Sensabaugh and activist Tory Lowe were arrested in Indiana for “blocking traffic” as they led protesters through the Hoosier state.
The group are hoping to arrive in Washington, D.C. by Friday, Aug. 28, for the 57th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech, with a memorial march led by Rev. Al Sharpton.
Frank Nitty’s video is below. Warning: It contains graphic and violent content.
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