Whatever happened to those people who got arrested at the Columbus Statute riot?
And what about the people who were charged with felonies during riots and looting downtown during May and June 2020?
And what about those protesters who were arrested because they decided to voice their opinion outside Lori Lightfoot’s house in violation of an obscure state law that the city decided to start enforcing in the summer of 2020?
Good questions. We decided to get the answers.
Police announced 12 arrests after an angry mob clashed with Chicago cops, injuring 18 officers, at the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park on July 17, 2020. We were able to find 11 of those cases in court records.
The only conviction went to Martin Wivott, 23, of Skokie.
Wivott, accused of “continuously and violently” striking cops with a flag pole during the clash, was charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct causing bodily harm, according to a CPD report.
According to court records, he pleaded guilty on May 13, 2021, and received a sentence of 18 months of social service probation.
All of the other cases, also all misdemeanors, were dropped — some within weeks, one as recently as last month.
On August 23, 2020, six protesters from other states were arrested and charged with misdemeanor residential picketing for demonstrating outside Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s home in Logan Square.
The arrests, which relied on an obscure and constitutionally-questionable state law, came after CPD leaders were ordered to prevent protests on Lightfoot’s street.
Prosecutors dropped all charges against the six defendants in November 2021.
The residential picketing law is based on the premise that even public officials are entitled to enjoy peace in their own homes.
But the protesters’ defense attorneys presented vigorous arguments against the charges in court. For one thing, the lawyers argued, there was no evidence that Lightfoot or her family were even home to be “disturbed” at the time of the protest. And, they pointed out, a Chicago police officer signed the six criminal complaints — not Lightfoot or her wife.
Lootings and guns and more
For this report, we identified 34 felony-level arrests made during looting and riots in CPD’s two downtown police districts and the Lakeview-based 19th District during the May-June 2020 uprising.
Of those cases, prosecutors have dropped all charges in only one case. It involved a man accused of firing a handgun in a Loop parking lot. Cook County officials dropped gun charges against a second man, Ricky Green, but only after federal prosecutors picked up the case.
Twelve of the cases are still pending, including one against a convicted felon who’s accused of firing a gun from a car during the riots in Bronzeville. He has been missing since July 2020, six weeks after a judge put him on electronic monitoring.
Of the 20 cases that have concluded, all ended with convictions, although many resulted in guilty pleas being entered to reduced charges. Here are some highlights:
Aggravated battery of police
• A 19-year-old woman from Kendall County was charged with throwing “rocks/bricks” at cops who were trying to hold a line outside Trump Tower on the morning of May 31. The woman allegedly struck an arresting officer in the face with her phone, causing a gash above his eye that required glue and stitches to close. She pleaded guilty to misdemeanor resisting police, which was reduced from a felony. Prosecutors dropped another felony charge of aggravated battery of police. Sentence: two years probation and 200 hours of community service.
• A 21-year-old man accused of throwing a bottle that struck a CPD lieutenant during a clash in the Gold Coast pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor battery, reduced from felony aggravated battery of a peace officer. He received a sentence of 150 days time served.
• Court records do not contain sentencing details for a man who pleaded guilty to felony aggravated battery of a police officer causing great bodily harm on the 100 block of West Kinzie. The file also does not contain the man’s arrest report. A CPD spokesperson declined to release the information without receiving a Freedom of Information request.
• A man who faced felony gun charges after a pistol fell from his waistband when he tripped as cops chased him in the Loop pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge instead. Sentence: 35 days plus two years probation.
• An Uptown business owner who grabbed his girlfriend’s holstered gun to investigate a “commotion” near his business during riots on the night of June 1 was pleaded guilty to a felony gun charge. He received a sentence of one-year social service supervision.
• A man received two-years probation after CPD and Illinois State Police troopers found him with a gun while investigating a “person with a gun” call at Lake and Dearborn. His companion, also allegedly found carrying a gun, continues to fight the allegations.
• A man found carrying a gun near Lake and Wabash at 2:46 a.m. on May 31, 2020, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge, which was reduced from a felony. He received a sentence of 18 months conditional discharge and 50 hours of community service.
Burglary and looting
• Police said they saw a 22-year-old woman “attempting” to load three 65-inch televisions into her Jeep Liberty outside a South Loop Best Buy during a wave of looting on May 30, 2020. She pleaded guilty to burglary in exchange for two years probation.
• Three men charged with looting Walgreens, 641 North Clark, have pleaded guilty. One, who was found hiding in the store’s storage area, received a three-year prison sentence for burglary. Another, also found inside the store, received a one-year sentence for looting. The third, who allegedly ran from a U-Haul truck that sped from the scene, received two years of second-chance probation for looting.
• A 25-year-old man, initially charged with burglary of and a concealed carry violation at the Macy’s on State Street, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
• Two men charged with looting an Uptown pawn shop pleaded guilty to burglary charges. A judge sentenced one of them to three years plus another 246 days for escaping electronic monitoring while the case was pending. The other received two years of second chance probation and 240 hours of community service.
• Another man who broke into an Uptown Metro PCS and loaded his car with phones and the store’s TVs received a sentence of two years second chance probation for burglary.
• In an almost-looting, one man pleaded guilty to criminal damage to property after police caught him smashing the front doors of the Ann Taylor Factory Outlet, 12 North Wabash, with a pole. They caught him when he ran and tripped over a curb. Sentence: two years probation and 30 hours of community service.
One of the most serious May-June riot cases to reach resolution comes from suburban Cicero.
There, prosecutors charged Zion Haygood with first-degree murder after a 28-year-old man was shot and killed during civil unrest on June 1, 2020.
At the time, Cicero police called the victim, Jose Guitierrez, a “bystander” who was not among “outside agitators who instigated the violence in Cicero.”
Haygood pleaded guilty last month to a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter in exchange for a sentence of 3-1/2 years, according to court records. Prosecutors dropped six murder counts in the deal.
Judge Geary Kull handed down the sentence and said Haygood would receive credit for 583 days that he spent in custody, mostly on electronic monitoring, before entering his plea.
Haygood reported to Stateville Correctional Center last week. His parole date has not been set.