CHICAGO─ On June 2, a Chicago man was arrested for lighting a police vehicle on fire during the May 30th riots that erupted in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. This was one of at least 20 vehicles that were destroyed in Chicago.
The incident occurred in the 200 block of North State Street. Video footage and photographs depicted a man igniting the vehicle at its gas tank, causing it to explode into flames. Then, sitting at a lamp post and rolling a cigarette.
The suspect is Timothy O’Donnell, 31, who was identified by a tattoo of the word “PRETTY” on his throat. Law enforcement executed a search warrant, they recovered a “Joker” mask in O’Donnell’s apartment on the 700 block of West 19th Street. He was arrested thereafter.
O’Donnell faces one count of arson, with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a mandatory minimum of 5 years. When questioned by agents, O’Donnell allegedly admitted to being behind the “Joker” mask.
“Anyone involved in destructive behavior — such as setting fire to a police car — should know that federal law enforcement will use all tools available to us to hold them accountable,” said U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch.
However, O’Donnell’s lawyer, Michael Leonard, maintains that the vehicle was lit by someone else. He is also confident that O’Donnell’s alleged admittance will be thrown out.
The mask itself was from the 2019 Joker film in which thousands of rioting citizens wore it. O’Donnell impersonated Arthur Fleck (the Joker) who served as a symbol of protests and destruction. At least one other “Joker” has appeared in the protests. A viral TikTok, which has garnered over 1 million views, captured another man dancing with a “Justice For George” sign.