Pittsburgh activist charged with harassment of Exxon gas station clerk | TribLIVE.com

Pittsburgh activist charged with harassment of Exxon gas station clerk

Natasha Lindstrom
John Allison | Tribune-Review
Protestors gather outside a North Side gas station last week after police say two customers were assaulted by gas station employees.
Nicole C. Brambila | Tribune-Review
Tony Dawson addresses the crowd at an Exxon on Pittsburgh’s North Side, who was angered over the assault of two sisters at the gas station.

A Pittsburgh community activist who helped organize protests following an assault on two customers at a North Side gas station has been sent a summons for allegedly harassing one of the gas station employees on Facebook.

Amber Sloan, 46, of the city’s Uptown neighborhood faces a charge of harassment by communication related to a Facebook video she posted last week, a criminal complaint shows. She could not immediately be reached for comment.

Police said they learned on Thursday about the social media post that spurred the charge.

On Wednesday afternoon, Sloan posted a video to “her backup Facebook page” stating that her main Facebook account had been taken down, the complaint said.

According to the complaint, Sloan says in the video: “I put a post up and I said two people shot out in Homewood today all these killers out here we need some of ya’ll out here ya’ll should be hunting down that white man Scott Hill and killing him. If ya’ll want to do something, but yeah it was nothing bad, ya know, so I’m blocked out from my main page.”

Under state law, the charge of harassment by communication can refer to someone acting “with the intent to harass, annoy or alarm” who communicates “to or about that person lewd, lascivious, threatening or obscene words, language, drawings or caricatures.”

Police sent two Facebook preservation requests for both of Sloan’s accounts amid the investigation.

Gas station worker accused of assault now ‘in fear for his life’

Hill, 50, of Pittsburgh, was one of three men charged Monday in connection to the Sept. 20 altercation involving the workers beating on two women at the Exxon gas station on Marshall Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Marshall-Shadeland neighborhood. Hill was a clerk working at the station when the fracas began.

A bystander’s cellphone video of the assault went viral, with more than 100,000 views on YouTube.

The incident sparked days of protests at the Exxon station, outcry from black community activists, and calls from elected officials for District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. to seek charges more serious than the misdemeanors the three men are facing.

“People are fed up,” Sloan — who formed the grassroots group #MadeIt — told the Tribune-Review during the first day of protests last weekend.

Hill faces two counts of simple assault.

Hill, a clerk at the gas station, told police that since the incident and ensuing backlash, “he is in fear for his life and is afraid to stay in his own home,” the complaint said.

Also charged were gas station owners Sukhjinder “Simon” Sadhra, 35, of Ross and Balkar “Bill” Singh, 40, of Harmar. Sadhra is facing two counts of misdemeanor simple assault and Singh faces one simple assault charge.

RELATED: DA Zappala holds firm on misdemeanor charges in gas station fight

The incident started with a dispute over spilled gas when a pump malfunctioned, police said. The two women demanded a $17 refund, and Hill refused.

Hill called in Singh and Sadhra because the women were upset he wouldn’t refund the money, police said.

The gas station employee Hill, who is white, called Singh and Sadhra because the women were upset he wouldn’t refund the money, a criminal complaint said.

Officers have reviewed multiple videos as part of the investigation, including the gas station’s security camera and the video taken by a bystander.

The video depicts one of the women entering the store and knocking over a display of bananas, then sweeping other items in one of the aisles onto the floor. The men appear and a physical altercation ensues. Hill appears to repeatedly strike one of the sisters in the back of the head and another man grabs the other sister by her hair and drags her outside.

“The video showing the assault on these women is particularly disturbing as multiple men held down the women while punching them repeatedly,” police said in a news release Saturday.

The women assaulted were Jamila Regan, 25, of Pittsburgh’s Central North Side neighborhood, and her sister Ashia Regan, 27, who lives in East Allegheny.

They broke their silence and spoke to reporters on Friday alongside their attorney, Todd Hollis.

Jamila Regan said she felt like her life and her sister’s life were threatened during the assault.

“We are hard-working, taxpaying Americans,” Ashia Regan said. “We are not thugs. We are not animals. We are human beings.”

RELATED: Sisters assaulted at gas station say they feared for their lives

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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