CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago police and federal authorities announced Tuesday they are looking to the public to provide the identities of 18 people who allegedly set fires during unrest following the death of George Floyd.
U.S. Attorney John Lausch and Chicago police Superintendent David Brown released videos and photos of people allegedly caught in the act of setting fires.
According to Lausch, 53 separate cases of arson were reported between May 30 and June 3. Lausch said each fire was set by people “acting on the peripheral of peaceful protests.” The fires destroyed businesses, police vehicles and private vehicles.
“They put first responders and people in the community at risk,” Lausch said.
A video captured by a surveillance camera on May 30 that was released Tuesday has images of several men allegedly igniting an object inside a Chicago Transit Authority van parked on a street in downtown Chicago. Another released video shows intruders inside ransacked stores using cigarette lighters to ignite fires.
Police are seeking justice for business owners and residents who were affected by the arson, Brown said.
“Tensions were high during this time, and of course people are always more important than property,” he said. “But make no mistake, people were hurt by the damage to property that took place. Their communities were hurt.”
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ National Response Team is investigating the fires.
ATF Chicago Special Agent in Charge Kristen deTineo said the agency is “working tirelessly" to investigate every lead that could result in an arrest. She said tips can be submitted anonymously to the ATF.