UPDATED 3:20 p.m. | Records show most of the people booked at the McLean County jail over the past 48 hours after looting-related incidents are Bloomington-Normal residents.
At least 18 people have been booked at the McLean County jail on looting charges or allegations that appear related to overnight civil unrest in Bloomington-Normal, according to records reviewed by WGLT. Twelve of the 18 live in Bloomington-Normal. Others listed addresses in Chicago, Streamwood, and one 20-year-old woman from Dubuque, Iowa.
The suspects range in age from 19 to 37. They are a mix of men and women.
The first four defendants, who were arrested overnight Sunday-to-Monday, made their first court appearance Tuesday afternoon. They were all charged with looting and burglarizing the Target store in Normal—both felonies and misdemeanors. Two of them are from Bloomington. The other two are listed as homeless but from Illinois.
Another five to 10 defendants who were arrested overnight Monday-to-Tuesday are expected in court Wednesday, said McLean County State’s Attorney Don Knapp.
That second batch of defendants will include at least some of the 13 adults and three juveniles that Bloomington Police arrested late Monday and early Tuesday.
"The majority of these subjects are local or have ties to local subjects," Bloomington Police said in a statement detailing the arrests.
Police also released new details about the confrontation at Kohl's at Eastland Mall. A crowd of about 200 people met outside Eastland Mall around 10 p.m. Monday "following a post on social media directing people to engage in a 'Parking Lot Party,'" police said. The crowd dispersed but then regrouped around 11:30 p.m.
Police say the crowd began throwing rocks and other projectiles at officers, and also began looting the Kohl's.
"Officers successfully utilized a non-lethal chemical gas to disperse the crowd while also making arrests of looters," BPD said in a statement. A video posted on WGLT's Twitter account appears to show that moment, when a large crowd outside Kohl's abruply scattered across the parking lot.
Video: Here's a look at the crowd scattering. Unclear what that popping sound was, but people ran away from Kohl's fast after hearing it. Video courtesy of Jimmy Beach via #FacebookLive. pic.twitter.com/i94ohaBxq1
— WGLT (@WGLTNews) June 2, 2020
Bloomington Police said six businesses were targeted in the city late Monday and early Tuesday, including incidents at Kohl’s and Read’s Sporting Goods.
Knapp, the prosecutor, said charging decisions will be made on case-by-case basis, not influenced by any of the people who have contacted his office urging harsh response or leniency.
“It is the facts and investigation of each case that will frame our decision,” he said.
Knapp said it’s been “all hands on deck” in the state’s attorney’s office—from receptionists up to first assistants—over the past 48 hours. That workload is in addition to three separate murder trials set to begin over the next two weeks, Knapp said.
“It was already an incredibly busy time for us,” he said.
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