RACINE, WI — The person alleged to have started the COP House on fire early Monday morning during a riot is not from Racine.
Authorities in Racine say they’ve made an arrest in an apparent arson case after the city’s Thelma Orr Community Policing House was ransacked and set ablaze Sunday night.
Speaking before reporters and in front of the burned-out building Tuesday afternoon, Racine police chief Art Howell said the suspect they arrested was not from the city of Racine.
“Information will be released in the coming days,” Howell said.
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Racine Mayor Cory Mason called the COP house torching ironic, given that the police department’s goal with the COP houses is to build stronger relationships with people in troubled neighborhoods.
“This is the exact kind of policing people are calling for right now. Building trust in the community, this is what this house represents,” Mason said.https://www.youtube.com/embed/lfuapkl_Xro
The Thelma Orr COP house is named after Orr, a lifelong supporter of civil rights.Subscribe
Howell said Orr is one of the people who turned him on to the idea of becoming a police officer back when he was a child.
“I grew up on the street she lived on,” Howell said. “I was a young kid who grew up with no aspiration to be a police officer, because there weren’t any officers who looked like me. She knew there was a disparity of people of color and women on the police and fire departments. She said she thought I could be a good police officer. It’s very personal.”
Smashed windows, and a burned-out building are what remained Monday morning after people torched the Thelma Orr Community Policing House Sunday night in Racine.
The COP House was set on fire by protesters around 2 a.m. Monday following a confrontation with police, according to Racine Police Chief Art Howell. By 2:36 a.m., the fire had been put out, according to preliminary reports.
By daylight Monday, the damage was evident. Racine Mayor Cory Mason was in a somber mood as he stood on the sidewalk on the 1100 block of Villa Street as he took iPhone photos of the wreckage. Television crews captured footage of the aftermath as people from the neighborhood passed by in disbelief as they saw the extent of the damage.