Spokane police have made a first arrest in connection with the looting of the downtown Nike store that occurred amid protests against police brutality on May 31.
Nevaeah R. Loftice, 18, of Spokane, is accused of stealing a jacket from the store on Main Avenue after others smashed the store’s windows and began streaming inside. The looting, which began around 6:40 p.m., triggered a heavy police response and turned a day of peaceful demonstrations into a chaotic evening of tear gas, rubber bullets and vandalism of downtown businesses.
Loftice was arrested and booked into the Spokane County Jail on Saturday before she was released on her own recognizance. Police have recommended charges of second-degree commercial burglary and third-degree theft.
Court records say “numerous” people – many of them wearing masks and yet to be identified by police – helped break the windows of the Nike store using “glass bottles, improvised tools and body force.” But there’s no indication Loftice took part in that.
According to court records, she publicly admitted to stealing the jacket in a live video and comments on Facebook, writing, “well damn everyone annoying I took a damn jacket if Nike want it back they can have it” and “I GRABBED A JACKET THAT’S IT.” Her Facebook page says she attended Rogers High School.
At least 23 people have been arrested in connection with the protesting and rioting on May 31, most of them for charges such as unlawful assembly, disorderly conduct, obstructing law enforcement and resisting arrest. Among the more serious allegations, Gene G. Gallagher, 33, is accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail toward police.
Nearly all of those arrested are from Spokane, though Spokane police Chief Craig Meidl and Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich have maintained that out-of-town agitators were responsible for instigating the unrest. Chad Sokol can be reached at (509) 459-5047 or email@example.com.
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