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After federal guilty plea, Cook County prosecutors drop charges against student who set fire to police SUV during George Floyd protests

Because Jacob Fagundo pleaded guilty in federal court to civil disorder and obstructing law enforcement on April 7, prosecutors said they would be dropping state charges of arson and criminal damage to government property.

A Chicago Police Department SUV is on fire near State and Lake streets in the Loop on May 30, 2020, as thousands of protesters in Chicago joined national outrage over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
A Chicago Police Department SUV is set on fire May 30, 2020 near State and Lake in the Loop as thousands of protesters in Chicago joined national outrage over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

Cook County prosecutors dropped charges Wednesday against a man who set fire to a Chicago police SUV during the George Floyd protests last summer.

Because Jacob Fagundo pleaded guilty in federal court to civil disorder and obstructing law enforcement on April 7, prosecutors said they would be dropping state charges of arson and criminal damage to government property.

Associate Judge Alfredo Maldonado accepted the prosecutors’ motion.

Fagundo, 23, faces a sentence of eight to 14 months in federal prison. His sentencing before U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman is scheduled for July 14.

Jacob Fagundo arrest photo
Jacob Fagundo
Chicago police

Fagundo, a student at the Art Institute of Chicago, admitted to bringing fireworks and lighter fluid to a May 30 protest and using them to set fire to a police SUV parked in a garage, at 30 E. Kinzie St.

Fagundo and others shattered the SUV’s windows before Fagundo tossed a lit firework inside the vehicle, according to federal prosecutors.

Replacing the SUV cost the Chicago Police Department $58,125, which Gettleman is expected to make Fagundo pay restitution for, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Surveillance cameras tracked Fagundo after he set the fire and captured his face when he removed the hood of a sweatshirt. The cameras also captured his unique arm tattoos, an assistant state’s attorney said during Fagundo’s bond hearing last year.

After police released portions of the footage, Fagundo was identified through an anonymous tip, the prosecutor said. Fagundo turned himself with his attorney at his side when he learned he was wanted.

The state’s attorney’s office declined to comment on the decision to drop the state charges, and Fagundo’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

The looting and vandalism that occasionally accompanied the Floyd protests caused an estimated $20 million in damages, state officials said.

On Tuesday, former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder and manslaughter for pinning his knee on Floyd’s neck while Floyd was handcuffed and repeatedly stated he couldn’t breathe.

The case led to protests worldwide over racism and policing.