1,500 rioters arrested in Chicago; most not facing serious charges

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner WLS logo
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
1,500 rioters arrested in Chicago, most not facing serious charges
Chuck Goudie and the I-Team have details on a man in a Joker mask now facing federal arson charges in the torching of a Chicago police vehicle.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Nearly 80 percent of those arrested in Chicago riots last weekend were charged with disorderly conduct, according to police department numbers provided to the ABC7 I-Team on Tuesday.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday arrests totaled a little more than 1,000; 832 were disorderly conduct.

"I'm sure the state's attorney and CPD are busy trying to figure out who's going to be prosecuted but possibly felonies, and who isn't," said Jeff Cramer, a former federal prosecutor in Chicago. "I would imagine the majority of people brought in, are not going to be prosecuted."

Only a fraction of the thousand-plus arrested over the weekend were even presented by police to the Cook County state's attorney for possible serious felony charges, according to preliminary records provided to the I-Team.

Officials with the state's attorney's office say last weekend the cases of 253 defendants were handed over to their felony review division for possible approval of charges. 184 of those cases-most of them gun charges-were approved and 24 were rejected for an authorization rate they say of 88%.

Among 40 defendants that were reviewed for burglary, the state's attorney says 26 were approved and four were rejected. That reflects an approval rate of those cases presented by police of 87%.

CPD released details on charges for the first time Tuesday.

Numerous looting scenes played out on live TV, leaving a trail of ransacked businesses and boarded-up storefronts.

The I-Team has asked for names of those arrested, charges and where they are from. Neither police, the state's attorney, nor the courts have provided ABC7 with a list of who was charged from riot-related arrests. And we aren't alone.

"Volunteer attorneys through organization have been having a lot of difficulty in tracking and identifying who's in custody," said Brad Thompson of the National lawyers Guild in Chicago that represents some detainees. "That's largely be been because of the systematic approach by the Chicago Police Department to prevent our attorneys from being able to access people who've been arrested."

CPD told the I-Team that nearly 400 arrests were made Monday, including 146 for looting.

Two suburban criminals Tuesday were charged with federal gun charges after authorities say they were arrested separately early Sunday morning south of the Loop riot.

Prosecutors charged that convicted burglar Brandon Pegues from Riverdale had a gun in his waistband on S. Federal; and they say 28-year-old Will County robber Amber Peltzer was spotted peering out of a looted Michigan Avenue bar with a gun.

And then there is the Joker; a man wearing the comic character mask is on video at the scene of one attack that has become an icon of the weekend riot. A Chicago police SUV was torched on Saturday kitty-corner from ABC7 on N. State St.

Late Tuesday federal prosecutors in Chicago say a tattoo on the Joker's neck had been linked to South Side resident Timothy O'Donnell. Now O'Donnell, 31, aka "the Joker," has been charged with arson.

U.S. prosecutors say he was seen and photographed plugging a flaming mass into the police SUV gas tank. Those photos, included in a federal criminal complaint, include a close-up picture that features this neck tattoo "Pretty." That is the same one authorities say they found on O'Donnell's neck, and that they found a Joker mask in his Chicago apartment.