clean up

Binny’s was boarded up Monday following Sunday’s protests and looting.

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URBANA — The people who engaged in blatant acts of looting, stealing and vandalism Sunday in Champaign  were not too happy about the consequences on Monday.

“They are loud and understandably frustrated for not going to court,” Lt. Ryan Snyder, a supervisor at the Champaign County Jail, said Monday afternoon.

“We’ve tried to explain that is out of our power. They are upset about that aspect,” he said.

Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz decided Monday morning that the approximately 27 people arrested Sunday night and early Monday would have to stay in jail until today to give police time to finish reports and her staff time to review them for charges ahead of arraignment court at 1:30 this afternoon.

“We have 48 hours,” Rietz said of the normal process for charging in-custody arrestees. “Officers were quite busy through the night. It would be unfair to expect them to write reports on top of everything they’re dealing with.”

The first person brought in apparently related to the unrest arrived about 6:15 p.m. Sunday, and the bookings continued apace until about 3:30 a.m. Monday, jail records show.

Snyder said the people arrested remained clustered Monday afternoon in the booking area of the county’s satellite jail on Lierman Avenue in east Urbana. They cannot be released before a judge sets bond for them.

“They have been given mats and blankets and obviously are getting their meals,” Snyder said, adding the inmates were screened for COVID-19 symptoms and issued masks, but 6 feet of separation between them is impossible.

“Right now, we are just trying to manage space. The jail is not really capable of mass intakes,” he said.

But Sheriff Dustin Heuerman said he would “find room in my jail for anyone who decides to destroy my community.”

Speaking Monday from an emergency operations center where he was monitoring a peaceful afternoon protest that started at the Champaign County Courthouse, Heuerman said his staff had been preparing for that march since last week.

Champaign police may not have been as prepared for what happened Sunday.

A Facebook message about a “riot at Market Place Mall” at 3 p.m. was posted around 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

“We gotta put Champaign/Urbana on the map ... They didn’t listen when we were peaceful so we gone hit em where it hurts,” it read in part.

Area chiefs of police were meeting Sunday afternoon as the looting began at the mall about 3 p.m.

On Monday, the investigation into the origin of the looting continued, police department spokesman Tom Yelich said.

“We are actively trying to determine if any criminal intent was behind the individuals who spearheaded this organized riot,” he said.

Champaign police enlisted help from Urbana, Mahomet, the University of Illinois, Parkland College, Illinois State Police, Illinois Conservation Police, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office.

The METRO team, the equivalent of Champaign’s SWAT, also activated. Officers from six area departments are on that specialized tactical unit.

Heuerman said two dozen sheriff’s patrol deputies worked Sunday, as opposed to eight who are normally on shift. Several extra correctional officers were also called in Sunday.

The looting moved from Market Place west to North Prospect Avenue, where several stores were vandalized, including Binny’s and Best Buy. Shortly after 7 p.m., Champaign police used tear gas, which had the effect of dispersing the crowd on North Prospect.

There were isolated reports of damage to businesses in other parts of the community later in the evening and early morning hours Monday, including South Neil Street in Champaign, Philo Road in Urbana, U.S. 45 in Savoy and Campustown.

On Monday, Champaign police were trying to develop a list of the “dozens” of businesses impacted. The city planned to send business owners a letter to help give them guidance.

Champaign police reported that “several” Champaign officers received minor injuries from cans and bottles being thrown at them. Several protesters got up close in the faces of the uniformed men and women standing between them and Macy’s. No officers required hospital treatment.

Four Champaign police squad cars were damaged.

Of the arrests, five were men from out of county, sheriff’s records show: Kankakee, Chicago, Marshall, Oklahoma City and Terre Haute, Ind. The remainder listed addresses in Champaign, Urbana and Rantoul.

The arrestees ranged in age from 18 to 35 and were taken into custody for crimes such as burglary, mob action, trespass, possession of stolen property, possession of burglary tools and criminal damage to property.

Other people cited for crimes will appear in court later. One police officer gave a notice to appear to a woman believed to have been looting who had her 2-week-old child in a car.

Meanwhile, in Vermilion County, State’s Attorney Jacqueline Lacy charged five people Monday in connection with looting that took place around 10 p.m. Sunday at the Stock and Field and Burlington Coat Factory on North Vermilion Street.

Lacy said Danville police and Vermilion County sheriff’s deputies quickly responded and arrested four Danville residents and one man from Urbana.

The activity followed a peaceful protest in Danville Sunday afternoon.


Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).