In plea deal, man admits setting police SUV on fire in riot

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago man pleaded guilty Thursday to setting a police SUV on fire while wearing a Joker mask during widespread demonstrations in May 2020 over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Timothy O’Donnell, 32 pleaded guilty to obstructing law enforcement amid a civil disorder and admitted igniting a piece of cloth that he put in the vehicle’s gas tank.

His sentencing is set for June 14. His plea agreement states that preliminary sentencing guidelines call for a term of 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 years. He also agreed to pay $58,125 restitution to the Chicago Police Department to cover the cost of the damaged vehicle.

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

Video provided by a witness showed O’Donnell wearing the Joker mask, holding a burning object and placing it in the gas tank of the SUV. The vehicle burst into flames, authorities said.

Jacob Fagundo, who also set fire to a Chicago police vehicle during the May 2020 demonstrations, was sentenced to three years on probation by U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman. Fagundo surrendered to Chicago police when he realized he was wanted by authorities, and a prosecutor described him as “genuinely remorseful.”

Floyd, a black man who was handcuffed, died after a white officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleaded for air.