Philly Influencer “Meatball” Gets Probation for Livestreaming Looting

Philly Influencer "Meatball" Gets Probation for Livestreaming Looting
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Philadel­phia social media influ­encer Dayjia Black­well, known by her online per­sona “Meat­ball,” received a sen­tence of five years pro­ba­tion and 150 hours of com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice after plead­ing guilty to charges stem­ming from a live-streamed loot­ing inci­dent last September.

Black­well, 22, ini­tial­ly faced more seri­ous charges includ­ing bur­glary, crim­i­nal tres­pass­ing, and riot­ing. She ulti­mate­ly plead­ed guilty to two less­er charges: riot with intent to com­mit a felony and crim­i­nal use of a com­mu­ni­ca­tion facility.

Despite a sig­nif­i­cant social media fol­low­ing exceed­ing 962,000 on Insta­gram, Black­well’s influ­encer sta­tus did­n’t shield her from legal con­se­quences. Inter­est­ing­ly, reports sug­gest her fol­low­er count actu­al­ly grew fol­low­ing her arrest.

Philadel­phia law enforce­ment cred­it­ed Black­well’s live streams with aid­ing them in track­ing the loot­ing activ­i­ty that tar­get­ed var­i­ous Cen­ter City busi­ness­es, includ­ing Lul­ule­mon, Apple, Foot Lock­er, and a liquor store.

The large-scale loot­ing erupt­ed just hours after a protest against the dis­missal of charges against a police offi­cer involved in the fatal shoot­ing of Eddie Irizarry. Inter­im Police Chief John Stan­ford attrib­uted the loot­ing to “oppor­tunists” exploit­ing the pub­lic out­rage over the case.

Black­well open­ly crit­i­cized the lack of “jus­tice” for Irizarry, even using the phrase dur­ing her livestreams of the loot­ing. How­ev­er, her own actions dur­ing the unrest result­ed in her con­vic­tion and sub­se­quent pro­ba­tion­ary sentence.

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