PEORIA, Ill. – A Peoria, Ill., man, Ca’Quintez Gibson, 26, has been arrested and charged by criminal complaint with using the internet to incite rioting in Peoria beginning on May 31 and ending June 1, 2020. Peoria police officers arrested Gibson last night and he appeared in federal court this afternoon via videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan E. Hawley. Gibson was ordered to remain detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending a detention hearing scheduled on June 8, 2020.
“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,” said U.S. Attorney John Milhiser. “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,” said Sean M. Cox, FBI Special Agent in Charge, Springfield Division. “We are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to ensure those rights and our communities are protected. I want to commend and thank the Peoria 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.”
Peoria Police Chief Loren Marion III stated, “Between May 31 and June 1, Peoria Police responded to several looting incidents throughout the City of Peoria. Detectives identified Gibson as an actor in those events. As I mentioned at the press conference, these actions will not be tolerated. I requested the FBI assist us in this investigation. I will continue to use any and all available resources to keep our community safe. I’d like to thank the FBI for their assistance in this investigation.”
According to the affidavit filed in support of the complaint, Gibson appeared in four Facebook Live videos posted on May 31, beginning at 5:15 p.m., with a four minute, 21 second video in which he references 50 gathering at 9:00 p.m.at Northwoods Mall in Peoria. During the video, Gibson is quoted as 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 b— up. … Let’s send our s— up.”
Gibson allegedly posted three additional Facebook Live videos in which he appears using another person’s Facebook account. The videos were posted at approximately 9:10 p.m.; 9:18 p.m.; and, 9:35 p.m. In the videos, Gibson is seen encouraging people to meet at Landmark Recreation Center, in Peoria. The 10 minute, 27 second video posted at 9:35 p.m. is of Gibson, asking numerous times where everyone is as he pans to the parking lot of the recreation center. In the video, Gibson states he needs 50 people to come to the Landmark as he tells the camera this is everyone’s opportunity.
The complaint affidavit alleges that during the afternoon of May 31, Facebook user Ca’Quintez Gibson Sr., made numerous posts beginning at 3:30 p.m.: “Bra y’all letting little ole Champaign out do us?” Attached was a video of groups attempting to break into stores in a strip mall.
According to Peoria Police Department reports, from May 31, at approximately 9:00 pm. through June 1, 2020, at 6:00 a.m., there were approximately 27 business burglaries reported, approximately 14 criminal damage to property reports, and several reports of arson.
The affidavit alleges that on June 1, Facebook account Ca’Quintez Gibson Sr., posted at 1:13 a.m.: [smiling emoji with tears] “YEAAAAAA SEND THIS B—- UP !! !! !! !! !! !! #” [fist emoji] and at 6:28 a.m.: “MISSION #Send PeoriaUp ACCOMPLISHED” [flexing bicep emoji] ..”I KNEW Y’ALL WOULD ACT A A—WITH ME YALL JUST NEEDED A LIL PUSH.”
The Peoria Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Division, are conducting the investigation. Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Darilynn J. Knauss 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.