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26-year-old man charged with starting fire in Cleveland restaurant during May 30 demonstrations

REBol May 30 destruction
Posted at 4:38 PM, Jun 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-11 16:39:44-04

CLEVELAND — A 26-year-old Cleveland man has been charged for allegedly starting a fire inside of a restaurant during the May 30 George Floyd demonstrations downtown last year.

The man was charged with explosive destruction of property after court documents allege he maliciously began a fire inside REBol Restaurant on West Superior Avenue on May 30, 2020.

Investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) reviewed surveillance camera footage from that day and observed an individual, later identified as the 26-year-old man. Officials allege the man entered the restaurant, started a fire, placed additional fuel on the fire and then left the scene.

Moments after the fire was set, authorities arrived on scene and were able to extinguish it. The following day, investigators determined the fire was incendiary and caused by an open flame applied to combustibles, court documents show.

The man was identified thanks in part to tips received from the public after the images and video were released to the media, according to investigators.

REBol, the restaurant that was damaged, took to social media on May 31, 2020 to address the damage, saying:

It is difficult to figure out exactly how to put our emotions into words at this time, but we know that we are angry and sad. We know how the world has been operating, and our current systems need immediate change, but we also know that destroying our city and numerous small businesses is unfair and does not equate to justice. What happened to George Floyd and many others before him was inhumane, unjust, and in the simplest terms, wrong.

We are humbled by the support we have received this morning and all of the volunteers that came out to lend a hand with clean up. A very special shoutout to our friends @runwiththewinners for joining us. We love you and thank you. Cleveland has and will always be a resilient city. We know that we will rebuild together and come back stronger.

After remodeling both the storefront and the inside of the restaurant following the damage, REBol reopened its downtown location on July 24.

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