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Press Release

Chicago Man Sentenced to Nearly Three Years in Federal Prison for Setting Fire to Police Vehicle During Civil Unrest

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — A Chicago man has been sentenced to nearly three years in federal prison for setting fire to a Chicago Police Department vehicle during a period of civil unrest in downtown Chicago in 2020.

On May 30, 2020, TIMOTHY O’DONNELL ignited a piece of cloth with a lighter and placed the cloth into the fuel filler of the marked CPD vehicle while it was parked in the 200 block of North State Street in Chicago.  The fire spread throughout the vehicle and destroyed it.  O’Donnell set the fire while wearing a “Joker” mask that partially covered his face.  The vehicle was unoccupied, and no injuries were sustained.

At the time of the fire, Chicago Police officers were in the downtown Loop neighborhood of Chicago investigating reports of disorder and unrest.

O’Donnell, 33, pleaded guilty earlier this year to a federal charge of interfering with law enforcement during the commission of civil disorder.  U.S. District Judge Andrea R. Wood imposed the 34-month prison sentence after a hearing Wednesday in federal court in Chicago.

The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI.  CPD provided valuable assistance.

“The defendant’s crime was extremely serious,” Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Durkin argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum.  “He added to the chaos of an already chaotic night for no reason other than to live out his own fantasies.”

Updated June 23, 2022

Violent Crime