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Man who torched Chicago police SUV sentenced to 34 months

Before he was sentenced, O’Donnell apologized “to those whose businesses were left in utter ruin” and said he was sorry “if I hurt Chicago’s character in any way.”

Chicago Journal
Chicago Journal
| 2 min read
Man who torched Chicago police SUV sentenced to 34 months
Timothy O'Donnell, 33, was sentenced to 34 months in prison Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to setting a police SUV on fire in May 2020. | U.S. District Court Records

CHICAGO — A federal judge sentenced a Chicago man to nearly three years in prison Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to setting a police SUV on fire while wearing a Joker mask during widespread May 2020 demonstrations and riots.

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U.S. District Judge Andrea Wood sentenced 33-year-old Timothy O’Donnell to 34 months.

O’Donnell pleaded guilty in February to one count of interfering with law enforcement during the commission of civil disorder.[1]

“He set a car on fire in the middle of a crowd,” Wood said. “He did it in a way that was intended to target law enforcement. He did it in a way that could have caused serious injury or death. Fortunately, it did not.”

Before he was sentenced, O’Donnell apologized “to those whose businesses were left in utter ruin” and said he was sorry “if I hurt Chicago’s character in any way.”

In a plea agreement, O’Donnell said he would pay $58,125 restitution to the Chicago Police Department to cover the cost of the damaged vehicle.

O’Donnell has been in custody since his June 2020 arrest.

Prosecutors said that a downtown protest had grown violent on the afternoon of May 30, 2020, when O’Donnell was seen on video taken by a bystander approaching the parked police vehicle, placing a cloth inside the gas tank, and lighting it with a lighter.


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Notes & References


  1. Press, Associated. “Man Admits Setting Police SUV on Fire in Riot.” Chicago Journal. Chicago Journal, February 4, 2022. https://www.chicagojournal.com/man-admits-setting-police-suv-on-fire-in-riot/. ↩︎

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