In Florida the Daytona Beach Police Department is still investigating a Sunday morning fire that ruined a police cruiser parked outside of a mosque.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that police are investigating a note that was also found at the scene with an anti-police message and Black Lives Matter written on it. It currently can’t be concluded that the mostly peaceful civil rights movement had any part in the vandalism that took place.
The note was was written on standard lined paper in big black marker and according to police it says, “Black Lives Matter A. Sterling P. Castile f*** the police.”
— Kelly Joyce (@FOX35Kelly) July 18, 2016
The local Police Chief, Mike Chitwood, spoke briefly with the News-Journal and was adamant that this one incident does not in any way reflect the relationship between the local residents and law enforcement.
‘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.’
Chitwood went on to add:
‘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 grand kids to grow up in.’
The fire was reported around 2:30am on Sunday and police responded. When they arrived on the scene the police cruiser, which was empty and simply parked, was engulfed in flames.
Thankfully, there were no injuries.
According to Police Chief Chitwood the department started parking the vehicle in front of the mosque purposely after last month’s horrific mass shooting in Orlando. They called it a “ghost car” and were attempting to deter anyone that might plan to target Muslims.
It’s suspected that a molotov cocktail was used to cause more than $20,000 of damage to the vehicle.
One person who lives near the mosque shared their experience but wished to remain anonymous:
‘We were in bed and I heard a boom noise. It sounded like a window being broken and I thought it could be someone trying to break into my boyfriend’s car. So I looked out the window and didn’t see anyone near his car. Then I looked left and saw the police car was on fire. 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.’
So far there is no suspect or person of interest for this fire. Surveillance video from the area is being reviewed and if anyone is connected to this vandalism they will face arson charges.
Featured Image via Screen Capture