A man seen on videos breaking the windows of an auto parts store in Minneapolis during protests over the death of George Floyd is suspected of being a white supremacist trying to incite racial violence, The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Tuesday.
The man was seen in videos dressed in black and wearing a black umbrella as he smashed windows with a sledgehammer during the protests two days after the death of Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25.
Police say prior to that, the man spray-painted “shit-for-everyone area” on the double doors of the car area in question.
Man is a Alleged member of the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang, as well as the Aryan Cowboy Brotherhood, according to the Star Tribune.
“This was the first fire to trigger a series of fires and looting throughout the compound and the rest of the city,” police said in an affidavit this week. “Until the actions of the person his affiliate called ‘Umbrella Man’, the protests had been relatively peaceful. This person’s actions created an atmosphere of hostility and tension. Your affiant believes that this individual’s sole objective was to incite violence.
Police reportedly identified the man through an email suggestion, but he has not yet been charged with a crime and is not named by the Star Tribune.
Minneapolis police did not immediately respond to a query from The Hill.
Video footage shows the man breaking windows as other protesters follow him and ask him to identify himself. The term “Umbrella Man” was coined on social media when people guessed his identity, and some protesters speculated that he was actually a member of the police force.
Protests against police brutality and systemic racism continue in cities across the country in the wake of Floyd’s death, including in Portland, Oregon, where the Trump administration’s use of federal law enforcement officers against protesters has sparked strong condemnation from Democrats.