A police officer in riot gear stands in front of a burning car on a street in Hackney, east London August 8, 2011.
Credits: REUTERS/Toby Melville
On Aug. 11, Philip Scott Burgess of Manchester posted, "Message to all -- we need to start riot'n we need to put Manchester on the map, first lets riot king street Manchester, haha."
At the time, there were riots throughout England after a peaceful march in London on Aug. 6 to protest the fatal shooting of 29-year-old Mark Duggan. Police shot Duggan while they were trying to arrest him because they thought he was planning to get revenge after his cousin had been stabbed.
Scotland Yard said the "changing nature, scale and speed of the events made it unprecedented to anything" police had seen before.
As the riots moved throughout the country, Burgess continued to take to Facebook.
On Aug. 9, he posted a defamatory message about the ethnicity of some of the looters. Over the next few days, he posted three more racist and inflammatory comments including the following post on the Manchester Riot - Updates 2011 Facebook page: "Salford5 for life. Bring bk the riots."
He was arrested Aug. 16 and pleaded guilty to three counts of publishing written material to stir up racial hatred and encouraging or assisting the commission of a riot.
"The widespread disorder in Manchester city centre and Salford drew disbelief and shock. Everyone witnessed the disgraceful scenes of violence, looting and arson and it is clear that social networking sites were used to incite certain elements of this disorder," Const. John Hepke said in a release Friday following Burgess' sentencing on Thursday.
"At that time, Greater Manchester Police vowed that we would identify anyone involved in using social networking sites to stir up hatred, and once Burgess had been exposed, our team in Bolton was brought in to investigate," Hepke said. "The comments he posted on Facebook were clearly designed to incite people to commit disorder in Manchester just hours before those awful scenes. Not content with that, he continued to post racist and inflammatory comments on a public forum which were derogatory and offensive."