Illinois Man Facing Federal Charges for Allegedly Using Internet to Incite Rioting

By Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.
June 5, 2020Updated: June 5, 2020

An Illinois man has been charged with federal offenses for his alleged efforts over the internet to incite rioting, according to the Justice Department.

Ca’Quintez Gibson, 26, from Peoria was arrested on June 3 and is in U.S. Marshals Service custody pending a detention hearing scheduled on June 8 for his efforts to allegedly “incite riots, incite looting, and cause general mayhem” beginning on May 31, department officials said.

Gibson allegedly appeared in four Facebook live videos on May 31. His first video, posted at 5:15 p.m., referenced a gathering of 50 at Northwoods Mall that night and recorded him saying “Y’all gonna see me there. And we ain’t with that peaceful s—.” and, “I’m not watchin’ no other city on … TV. They sent that [expletive] up. … Let’s send our [expletive] up.”

He subsequently posted another three videos, using another person’s account, where he encouraged people to meet at Landmark Recreation Center, the complaint alleged.

Peoria Police Department said that from about 9 p.m. May 31 through to 6 a.m. June 1, there were 26 business burglaries reports, 14 criminal damage to property reports, and several reports of arson.

The complaint alleged that on June 1, a Facebook account that appeared to be linked to Gibson was celebrating “MISSION #Send PeoriaUp ACCOMPLISHED.”

“The alleged actions by this defendant are an orchestrated effort to incite riots, incite looting, and cause general mayhem. Thanks to the coordinated effort of the Peoria Police Department and the FBI, he was quickly identified and safely apprehended,” U.S. Attorney John Milhiser said in a statement. “We will use all available resources to identify bad actors and get them off the streets to keep our communities safe.”

“The freedom to gather and peacefully protest is a right afforded to all Americans under the 1st Amendment to the Constitution. At the FBI, we take an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and Protect the American People. When individuals attempt to use the freedoms as a shield to commit acts of violence in our communities, those acts are not protected expressions,” Sean M. Cox, FBI Special Agent in Charge, Springfield Division said in a statement.

If convicted, Gibson faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and three years of supervised release following imprisonment.

Gibson’s arrest comes the same day law enforcement officials announced the arrest of three men allegedly linked to the “Boogaloo” movement—which federal officials say are focused on the belief that a coming civil war or collapse of society is near.

The three men—Stephen T. Parshall, aka “Kiwi,” 35, Andrew Lynam, 23, and William L. Loomis, 40, all from Las Vegas—have been charged with violations of federal and state law for conspiracy to cause destruction during protests in Las Vegas, and possession of a Molotov cocktail. They have also been charged with a number of state offenses including a conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism.

On Thursday, Attorney General William Barr said authorities have made 51 arrests for federal crimes related to violent rioting and that the Justice Department and other federal agencies are working around the clock to restore order.

Barr said authorities are seeing “three different sets of actors” at the demonstrations—peaceful protesters exercising their First Amendment rights, groups exploiting the opportunity to engage in looting, and extremists agitators who have “hijacked” the protests to pursue their own agendas. He said that there is evidence that the last group is to be blamed for the violent activity.

“We have evidence that Antifa and other similar extremist groups, as well as actors of a variety of different political persuasions, have been involved in instigating and participating in the violent activity,” he said. “We are also seeing foreign actors playing all sides to exacerbate the violence.”

The death of George Floyd, a man who died while former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest, has ignited widespread outrage triggering protests and riots across the country. Chauvin was arrested and has been charged with second-degree murder. The three other officers involved in the arrest were also charged in relation to the incident.