CHICAGO — Officials with federal and local law enforcement released photos and videos of 19 “persons of interest” Tuesday in connection with fires set during the unrest which followed the police killing of George Floyd last month.
As protesters took to the streets to decry Floyd’s murder, federal authorities said others took advantage of the chaos to steal from and vandalize businesses, leaving parts of the city in flames.
Police say these were not protesters, but instead criminals that caused long-lasting damage. Now they’re looking for 19 people who might have been involved in some 53 suspected arsons last month.
On Tuesday, Chicago police released partial videos of crimes which occurred between May 30 and June 3, along with still photos of individuals referred to as “persons of interest” in the fires. Officials said the images came from “countless hours” of surveillance video.
“If we are truly to ever heal we need to make sure these arsonists are brought to justice,” Chicago Police Department Superintendent David Brown said. “Business owners of Chicago saw their hopes and dreams go up in flames with these fires.”
The videos show people aimlessly walking the street, some combing through businesses with flashlights, some were even caught on video actually starting the fire. From the Loop to River North, West Pullman to West Englewood and Austin, businesses, police cars and other buildings burned.
Investigators say it’s not just dreams that burned, but hope for communities that will now have to live with even more blighted buildings. In the very same communities that have suffered for decades from economic disinvestment, some will never reopen.
Officials said any tips (including the ID number of the person from the image) can be submitted anonymously by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, online at cpdtip.com or through CPD’s anonymous hotline at (312) 745–6233.
Business owners are also urged to contact police or ATF if they have additional video to share.