A man got into a flaming police car and drove it down the street in Madison, Wisconsin on Saturday night amid the ongoing protests over George Floyd's killing. A now-viral video on Twitter showed a police SUV already thoroughly on fire in the city when a man got into the driver's seat. Onlookers were shocked when he drove the vehicle at least a block down the road.
The man was hard to make out in the dark video, but he was clearly tall and dressed in dark clothes. He looked almost nonchalant as he got behind the wheel of the car, which had smoke and flames billowing out of the back half. With the door still held partially open, he drove it from a curbside spot to the middle of a nearby intersection. According to a report by Channel 3,000, it was left there until firefighters responded.
A man just got into a flaming cop car and drove it down the street in Madison, WI pic.twitter.com/aRaLNGZ3HI— Lawrence Andrea (@lawrencegandrea) May 31, 2020
It is still not exactly clear how the daring driver was involved in Saturday night's demonstrations, nor what he hoped to accomplish. Many Twitter users speculated that he was trying to move the car further from people, homes and businesses that could be in danger when the flames reached the gas tank. Others thought that he might want the car to be as much of an obstruction as possible, especially once the fire melted the tires. Madison was one of the many cities across the United States to see ongoing protests, escalating to civil unrest in some cases this weekend.
According to a report by local ABC News affiliate WKOW 27, the protest was peaceful during the afternoon, but many of the peaceful organizers dispersed around 4:30 p.m. At that point, police in riot gear clashed with a group of about 150 civilians, resulting in a spree of property damage.
About 75 businesses on State Street in Madison were damaged, including some lootings. Several cop cars were damaged, though only one was completely destroyed, as seen above. Police said that they were pelted with bottles, trash and rocks by the protesters, while they lobbed tear gas canisters into the crowd.
Three arrests were made in Madison on Saturday night, and police remained on the scene until well into Sunday morning. Police are still hoping to arrest and prosecute others involved in the chaos. The demonstrations have become more and more controversial since Monday, May 25, when 44-year-old George Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis Police Department in Minnesota. The alleged murder caused a fresh wave of Black Lives Matter protests around the U.S., with some pundits saying the movement has grown in size and scope more than ever before.