A note supporting the Black Lives Matter movement was found at the scene of a firebombed police cruiser in Daytona Beach, Florida, early Sunday morning.
At approximately 2:00 a.m., a Molotov cocktail was thrown at an unoccupied cruiser parked outside of a local mosque. According to the Daytona News-Journal, the vehicle was completely engulfed in flames when police arrived on the scene:
According to Police Chief Mike Chitwood, the incident took place about 2 a.m. That’s when someone set fire to the cruiser parked outside the Islamic Center at 347 S. Keech St. The vehicle was engulfed in flames and destroyed.
Chitwood said police found a note at the scene that read “Black Lives Matter A. Sterling P. Castile (Expletive removed) the police.”
It was not yet clear exactly what was used to burn the vehicle, but Chitwood said he assumes the culprits used a Molotov cocktail. He said the firebombing caused more than $20,000 in damage to the vehicle.
A person who lives in the neighborhood told the News-Journal:
The police car has been parked there since the Orlando shootings. They move it every now and then but it’s always empty. My boyfriend called 911 and it took so long before they got there that by the time they did the entire car was covered in fire. It took a bit to get the fire out.
Chief Chitwood explained the purpose of the empty cruiser:
Chitwood said the police department began stationing the vehicle outside the Islamic Center periodically last month on June 12, the day of the Orlando nightclub shooting, to protect it against anti-Islamic backlash in the wake of the massacre that killed 49. The gunman, Omar Mateen, had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
The department had expected “anti-Muslim” backlash, but got something else altogether, didn’t they? It might have been a good idea to move the car after the Black Lives Matter outrage machine revved up its engine after the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota earlier this month.
Chitwood said that the radicals targeting cops only represent a small number of people in the community — and then compared them to ISIS:
I really do believe in my heart of hearts that we have a really great rapport with our community overall. They know that if there’s a problem, they can come and talk to us.
But there is a radical, small percentage that I think is trying to drive a wedge between all of us. If you notice what’s going on in America today, it’s like they’re taking a page out of ISIS. Find the disenfranchised folks that don’t want to fix things the right way, and have them be fanatical in their attacks. And it’s sad. Certainly not the world I want my grandkids to grow up in.
There are currently no suspects in the firebombing. Detectives are reviewing surveillance video in the area.