Around the country, riots and looting are sometimes overshadowing peaceful protests. Now, some of those individuals participating in the chaotic destruction and stealing are being tracked down and arrested, including a man who was wearing a Joker mask while setting fire to police cars in Chicago. The mask is consistent with that of the supporters of Joaquin Phoenix's Joker character in the standalone Joker movie from 2019. Timothy O'Donnell, 31, allegedly placed a lit object in the gas tank of a police car on the 200 block of North State Street in Chicago, leading to the car going up in flames completely.
O'Donnell was tracked down after he was photographed with the mask on because he has a distinct tattoo: "PRETTY" is written across his neck. The photos can be seen in a Department of Justice document.
“Anyone involved in destructive behavior – such as setting fire to a police car – should know that federal law enforcement will use all tools available to us to hold them accountable,” U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch Jr. said in a statement. “We will continue to work with the Chicago Police Department and our federal and state partners to apprehend and charge arsonists and others engaging in violent crime.”
This is hardly the first instance of people dressing up as heroes and villains known from Marvel and DC properties. Another instance of someone dressed as the Joker went viral on social media over the weekend.
Someone captured a video of the Joker dancing down th street at a protest. You can see it in the tweet below.
THE JOKER HAS ARRIVED pic.twitter.com/6Lt49vCbZF— Best Videos 🎬🍿 (@30SECVlDEOS) May 31, 2020
Someone dressed as Spider-Man showed up to the protests in New York City, climbing on the Manhattan Bridge to send his Black Lives Matter message.
Video of Spider-Man on the Manhattan Bridge can be seen below.
A huge development at the Manhattan Bridge protest right now pic.twitter.com/rCH0GLDgEe— Anya Volz (@AnyaVolz) June 3, 2020
One of the people in the crowd yelled, "Do a flip!" This might be a coincidence but it could also be a reference to Spider-Man: Homecoming. In the beginning of Tom Holland's first Spider-Man movie, Peter Parker is not yet a member of the Avengers so he helps the people of New York City, sometimes by entertaining them upon the same request.
This is not a time to celebrate characters, though. This is a time to reflect on the real people of our communities and make sure everyone be treated fairly and given equal opportunities. That's what real heroes will do right now.
Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.