May 16, 2021 18:35

Man charged for setting NYPD van on fire says he felt “pressured” to do it

Noah Goldberg

New York Daily News

The Brooklyn man accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail onto an empty NYPD van during a summer George Floyd protest told police he was pressured to toss the explosive, prosecutors said.

Matthew Piscitello, 21, was cuffed Wednesday for burning the van parked near Fort Greene Park on May 29 during the protest over Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police.

“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,” prosecutors wrote in court papers.

Numerous social media clips also captured Piscitello tossing a Roman candle into the van’s window, with smoke pouring out of the vehicle, prosecutors said.

Piscitello is one of three suspects suspected of throwing explosives onto the Brooklyn police vehicle.

Footage from the scene shows the van engulfed in flames, with some onlookers cheering and others taking video of the fire.

The NYPD van was destroyed, according to fire officials.

Piscitello was released without bail at his arraignment Thursday. He’s due back in court on Jan 12.

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