Chicago man admits inciting city riots in August 2020 – NBC Chicago

A Chicago man admitted in federal court on Tuesday to using his Facebook account to spark riots and looting in the city in August 2020.

James Massey, 23, pleaded guilty to inciting, participating in and leading a riot.

A 19-page criminal complaint filed when he was first charged last March alleged that he sent messages online late on August 9, 2020, such as “WE LEAD TOGETHER, WE DIE TOGETHER” and “Let’s prepare to fly b —-“.

Massey admitted much of the conduct in that complaint during his hearing Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly. He faces a probable sentence of about two years in prison. His sentencing hearing is set for May 10.

Two people were shot and 13 police officers were injured during the August 2020 riots that led to clashes with police and left piles of broken glass and empty storefronts in the South Loop at Lincoln Park.

When someone on Facebook later told Massey that a screenshot of his Facebook Live video was circulating on social media, he reportedly replied in part, “F— dem… Freedom of speech.” Meanwhile, the complaint revealed that authorities obtained a search warrant for Massey’s Facebook account in September 2020.

Massey also used the name “Steve Nash” online, according to the complaint. And on August 10, 2020, someone sent a screenshot of a Facebook Live video of “Steve Nash” to the Chicago Police Department, he said. The screenshot included text that read “ATTENTION ATTENTION LOTTING [sic] START AT 12 PM TONIGHT…WE WILL NOT BE F—ING SOUTH SIDE EAST SIDE OR WEST SIDE DOWNTOWN AND NORTH ONLY BRING SKI TOOLS MASK AND GLOVES #LETSGOOOOO.

When the screenshot was taken, the video had been live for 31 minutes and 766 Facebook users were watching it, according to the complaint.

Massey reportedly sent private Facebook messages to 40 people on August 9, 2020, telling them to meet at 6300 S. Racine Ave. to go downtown together. At around 9:13 p.m., Massey also messaged another group, “WE SLEEP TOGETHER, WE DIE TOGETHER.” Then, at 11:27 p.m., he posted a photo on Facebook with the caption “Let’s get ready to fly b—-.”

Facebook removed the post for violating community standards, according to the feds.

Sixteen minutes later, Massey reportedly posted another Facebook Live video of himself driving a Nissan sedan. In the video, Massey said, “It’s okay to go fuck ’em. I don’t miss anything. I am ready to fly.

Prosecutors said Massey could be seen in footage he released and in surveillance footage of looted stores wearing blue pants. Records also show that a black Nissan is registered in his name, according to the complaint.

Among the targets of the Massey-led group was a marijuana dispensary in the 900 block of West Weed Street, according to the complaint. There, according to prosecutors, Massey and 12 other people left three vehicles and took tools from Massey’s trunk. Then members of the group broke into the store by breaking a window around 1 a.m. on August 10, 2020.

A second store in the 800 block of North Michigan Avenue was looted at 1:25 a.m., according to the complaint. Massey reportedly approached that store with a tire iron in hand while someone else smashed a window. Massey and others reportedly entered, stole several coats, and returned to Massey’s vehicle.

Later, at around 5:06 a.m., Massey and others looted a store in the 700 block of South Clark Street. Massey can be seen in camera footage removing three bottles of clear liquor from the store, according to the complaint.

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