Home News Michigan woman arrested for encouraging, participating in riots following social media posts

Michigan woman arrested for encouraging, participating in riots following social media posts

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John Agar

MLive.com, Walker, Mich.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – During the weekend riot in Grand Rapids, Alexandria “Ally” Lyons posted a Facebook Live video in which she encouraged others to cause destruction and loot – and drank beer that likely had just been stolen from Mojo’s bar, police said in court records.

Lyons, 22, of Grand Rapids, also posted video of a party at her home after the riots in which clothing stolen from F. David Barney Clothiers, 125 Ottawa Ave. NW, was displayed.

Many called police and told about Lyons’ alleged role in the riot, Grand Rapids police Detective Matt DeJong wrote in a probable-cause affidavit.

Lyons was arraigned Tuesday, June 2, in Grand Rapids District Court on charges of inciting a riot, punishable by up to 10 years in prison upon conviction, and malicious destruction of property, a five-year felony.

She is the second one to face felony charges in the riot.

Adrian Keech Baker, 18, of Gobles, was charged with rioting, larceny in a building and malicious destruction of property. Police witnessed Baker twice strike the front-glass window at Bigby Coffee, causing it to shatter, police said in court records.

He has been released from jail after posting $5,000 bond.

Lyons is held on $40,000 bond.

Her photo – and accusations about her role in the riot – was circulating on social media afterwards.

Police said that investigators are still reviewing surveillance video but said Lyons – beyond posting potentially damaging images of herself at the riot – was seen breaking the window at a county building at 82 Ionia Ave. NW that houses the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office and others.

DeJong wrote in court documents that police faced a “significant riot.”

The riot followed a protest march against police brutality and racism in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after an ex-Minneapolis police officer pushed his knee into Floyd’s neck. Floyd’s pleas that he could not breathe were ignored.

About 100 businesses sustained damage in the riot. Seven patrol cars – five from Wyoming Department of Public Safety and two from Grand Rapids Police Department – were torched. Other fires were set in Dumpsters and spread to other structures.

Police announced seven people were arrested during the course of the riot. Lyons was not among them. Police tracked her down after receiving numerous reports that “Ally was responsible for causing and creating a lot of damage in the downtown area during this time.”

She was brought to police headquarters for questioning but refused to talk to investigators and asked for an attorney.

While Lyons was at the police station, investigators received text of a video that allegedly showed her kicking a window at 82 Ionia, causing the glass to shatter and fall to the ground. It created a large hole in the glass.

Police said Lyons was with a large group when she posted a Facebook Live video.

“She is heard multiple times encouraging her friends and others to throw bricks or other objects at windows of multiple businesses downtown and at one point picks up a brick herself and mentions heading ‘back to the courthouse,’” the arrest affidavit says.

She and her friends allegedly encouraged others who were trying to break into an automated teller machine, or ATM, and allegedly helped themselves to jewelry in a smashed display case on the sidewalk.

“Defendant could be heard telling her friends to get her a gold bracelet because she already has silver ones,” police said in the affidavit.

She and her friends also were suspected of taking beers from Mojo’s Dueling Piano Bar and Restaurant after she encouraged others to break windows,” police said.

She then suggested they go to the courthouse with sticks, police said.

Lyons later posted video of a party at her house after the riots. Clothing was displayed that was stolen from F. David Barney Clothiers, 125 Ottawa Ave. NW, police said.

Police found a shirt from the store when they went to Lyons’ home, police said.

The riot prompted Mayor Rosalynn Bliss set a 7 p.m. curfew Sunday and Monday but city officials decided Tuesday that it would end.

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