Second Federal Man Taken Down for Central Illinois Internet Riot Inciting

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Springfield:

Champaign, Ill., Man Arrested in Mississippi, Charged in Federal Complaint with Using Internet to Incite Rioting in Champaign

URBANA, Ill.–U.S. Marshals Service deputies arrested a Champaign, Ill., man, Shamar N. Betts, 19, early this morning in Tchula, Miss., on a state burglary warrant issued by Champaign county.

Shamar N. Betts

Betts has also been charged in a federal criminal complaint with using the internet to incite rioting in Champaign, Ill., on May 31 to June 1, 2020.

Betts will make his initial appearance in federal court in the Southern District of Mississippi, in Jackson, on a date to be determined by the court. 

“The defendant, as alleged, used the peaceful demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, as cover to plan and carry out criminal activity,” said U.S. Attorney John Milhiser.

“He incited riots and damage to businesses, and as a result of good police work by the Champaign Police Department and coordination with the FBI, he will be held accountable for his actions.”

“Champaign Police is committed to supporting and protecting lawful and peaceful protests, but rioting, looting and criminal activity that puts residents, visitors and businesses at risk will not be tolerated,” said Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb.

Shamar Betts

“On behalf of the entire Champaign Police Department, I’d like to thank all of the law enforcement agencies who have supported us, both during the rioting and with the investigation that followed, so those responsible may be brought to justice.”

“As afforded under the 1st Amendment of the Constitution it is the right of all Americans to gather and peacefully protest. 

“However, when any individual commits acts of violence in our communities under the guise of a protest, that type of activity is not a protected expression,” said Sean M. Cox, FBI Special Agent in Charge, Springfield Division.

Shamar Betts

“The FBI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to ensure those rights and our communities are protected.  I want to commend and thank the Champaign Police Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, with whom we have worked in this instance, to hold this individual accountable for his alleged actions.” 

According to the affidavit filed in support of the complaint, on May 31, 2020, Champaign police officers observed a Facebook post made by Shamar Betts at 10:31 a.m. The post included the statement,

“We gotta put Champaign/Urbana on the map – expletive – gone hear and fear us too. Slide let’s get busy Justice for George – expletive.”

The post was accompanied by a flyer of a stock image of a burning vehicle overlaid with a date and time,

“Riot @ MarketPlace Mall” 3:00 p.m.,

and listed items to bring, including

“friends, family, posters, bricks, bookbags, etc.”

The flyer also said

“After the mall we hitting the whole PROSPECT & NEIL.”

Champaign Police Department officers responded to the area at approximately 2:36 p.m., when a group of approximately 50 to 75 people were reported to be gathering at the mall.

The group continued to grow in size, and at approximately 3:12 p.m., the group began breaking out windows at businesses located in the mall and looting merchandise from within.

The indictment alleges that during this time period, Facebook user Shamar Betts posted a Facebook Live video in which he repeatedly states,

“Look what a … just started…”

and

“We out here…”

Additional law enforcement resources were deployed to the Market Place Mall to respond to the riot and attempt to control the group, which continued to grow in size and began vandalizing and / or looting other businesses in the area including

  • Gordman’s,
  • Kohls and
  • TJ Maxx.

The group then moved to the shopping portion of N. Prospect Ave., and continued vandalizing and / or looting numerous stores including

  • Meijer (grocery store),
  • Best Buy,
  • Shoe Carnival and
  • Walmart.

This activity continued throughout the night and into the early morning hours of June 1, 2020.

By the end of the night, approximately 50 businesses in the area had been vandalized and / or looted.

According to the complaint affidavit, Champaign Police Department investigators subsequently identified Betts as the same individual who allegedly made the Facebook posts and appeared in video footage of the riot activity that was recorded live and also was available later online.

The Champaign Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Field Office, are conducting the investigation in coordination with the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office. Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene L. Miller is representing the government in the prosecution.

If convicted for the offense of inciting a riot, the statutory penalty is up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and three years of supervised release following imprisonment.

Members of the public are reminded that a complaint is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

= = = = =

Can’t find the posts, but his Facebook page appears to be here.


Comments

Second Federal Man Taken Down for Central Illinois Internet Riot Inciting — 5 Comments

  1. Wouldn’t surprise me if the age of most these people inciting this online are fairly young.

  2. Why he holding his “thing” in the photo?…

    Guess that justifies he leading the charge to loot 50 stores in Champaign.

    Up to 5 years is all you face for this?

    Dang and Blago got 14.

    Justice System upside down.

    He probably be released for Virus fears by Monday.

    And these marchers want no Po-Po after this is said and done?

    Do the math on this one, yikes.

  3. Worthless thugs. No one ever took the time to give these children a sense of their worth or teach them to value themselves. Normal humans do not act like this. Normal humans teach their children and engender empathy in their children while they are dependent on them. These thugs were thrown to their own devices and now you have sub-humans and psychopaths. Police can’t fix criminal parents that abused their children by not giving them proper training as to how to be valuable to yourself and others. Satan has won over these pathetic excuses.

  4. His Facebook preface does indeed say that.

    Did he steal fried chicken and watermelon when he raided Mariners.

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