After the unjust death of George Floyd people all over the world have taken to the streets to demand police reform under the banner of Black Lives Matter. While nearly all of the protestors have been peaceful there have been some that used the protests as an opportunity to vandalize public or private property or even cause violence. We saw some of that last weekend with the man in this writer's city who has been dubbed Dollar Store Hawkeye but someone else in Chicago is taking pop culture a bit too seriously according to Fox 32 Chicago and a complaint filed by the Department of Justice. The complaint identifies Timothy O'Donnell as the one who set fire to a Chicago police car on May 30th while wearing a mask from the 2019 movie Joker.
Wearing a Joker Mask to a Protest
According to a criminal complaint filed by the Department of Justice: "On or about May 30, 2020, an individual, later identified as defendant TIMOTHY O'DONNELL, approached a Chicago Police Department ("CPD") vehicle parked on the 200 block of North State Street in Chicago. A video provided to law enforcement by a witness captured the events described below. The video initially shows O'DONNELL, who was wearing a "joker" mask that partially covered his face, hold a lit object and place it in the gas tank of the CPD vehicle."
The criminal complaint goes on to say that the mask did protect O'Donnell's identity it was his PRETTY tattoo on his neck that ultimately lead to him being identified as the culprit and charged with the destruction of the police vehicle. At the end of Joker, the people of Gotham put on clown masks and do rise up in a riot type situation for the sake of social justice and the contrast between that scene in the movie and what O'Donnell did on May 30th cannot be ignored.
As the protests continue organizers have been trying to make sure that the media and politicians know that there is a difference between people like O'Donnell who are causing criminal destruction and those that are there peacefully for change. At the time of writing, three more of the cops involved with Floyd's death have had charges brought against them and no doubt pressure from the ongoing protests played a part in those charges being brought forth.
How You Can Help
The protests against police brutality now span the entire globe and there are many ways you can get involved. You can go out and peacefully protest if you want. You can also donate to numerous organizations that are doing a lot of good work for the cause. Here is a list of just some of them:
- Minnesota Freedom Fund
- George Floyd Memorial Fund
- I Run With Maud
- Black Visions Collective
- Reclaim the Block
- Campaign Zero
- Communities United Against Police Brutality
- Black Lives Matter
- NAACP Legal Defense Fund
- American Civil Liberties Union
Over at AfroTech, there is a great list of five apps that can help you find black businesses to help support in these trying times. The rest of us should be supporting, protecting, and lifting up our black friends, family, colleagues, and total strangers whenever we possibly can.