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Press Release

Chicago Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Rioting Charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — A Chicago man has pleaded guilty to a federal charge accusing him of inciting rioting involving multiple incidents of property damage and looting in the city in the summer of 2020.

JAMES MASSEY, 23, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of inciting a riot, and participating in and carrying on a riot.  The conviction is punishable by a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.  U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly set sentencing for May 10, 2022, at 1:30 p.m.

The guilty plea was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI; and David Brown, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheri L. Wong.

“Anyone involved in destructive behavior in Chicago – such as rioting – should expect to be held accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch.  “Our office will continue to work with the FBI, CPD, and our other law enforcement partners to prosecute rioters and others engaged in violent crime.”

“Inciting riots and other unlawful activity is both irresponsible and reckless, and the FBI will continue to work tirelessly with police and prosecutorial partners to ensure public safety is not compromised,” said FBI SAC Buie.

Massey admitted in a plea agreement that on Aug. 9, 2020, he posted multiple videos and messages on Facebook calling for people to travel to downtown Chicago to engage in property damage and looting.  In one of the videos, Massey stated, “Y’all ready? I sent everybody the location to link up at bro.  I trying to get something.  I need to hit a couple stores.”  In another video, Massey stated, “Fitting to go [expletive] them up.  I ain’t missing out.  I am ready to steal.”

Massey admitted in the plea agreement that he and at least three other individuals damaged four stores in the downtown or Near North Side areas of Chicago.

Updated February 16, 2022

Violent Crime