Man Pleads Guilty to Inciting Riots That Led to Looting, Property Damage

A 23-year-old man pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to charges of inciting and participating in a riot after encouraging others to join in the looting in downtown Chicago during the summer of 2020.

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James Massey was charged in May 2021 with one count of using a facility of interstate commerce to incite a riot. He faces a maximum prison sentence of five years in prison and will be sentenced during his next court date scheduled for May 10, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The DOJ said Massey used his Facebook account to help set off rioting and looting in Chicago. On August 9, 2020, he posted multiple videos and messages on Facebook calling for people to go to downtown Chicago and engage in looting and property damage.

According to the criminal complaint, Massey sent several messages to people on Facebook telling them to meet up at a certain location before traveling to the downtown area. Massey told others that the looting starts at 12 a.m. and urged them to “BRING YA TOOLS SKI MASKS AND GLOVES.”

At least two people were shot and 13 officers were injured during the riots. Several retail stores had their windows smashed and looted, the criminal complaint stated. One of the locations mentioned was a marijuana dispensary that several individuals ultimately broke into by smashing windows with tools taken from Massey’s vehicle.

This is a developing story and will be updated when more information becomes available.

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Update 02/16/22, 1:00 p.m. ET: This article has been updated with background information from the Department of Justice.

A 23-year-old man has pleaded guilty to inciting a riot in Chicago in the summer of 2020. Pictured above is the Department of Justice seal.
Mandel Ngan/ AFP/Getty Images

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