Minneapolis investigators say a masked, umbrella-carrying man who was filmed in a viral video smashing windows during protests in the city in late May against the police killing of George Floyd was a white supremacist intent on inciting violence.
In an affidavit filed in state court on Monday as part of an application for a search warrant and seen by BuzzFeed News, an arson investigator with the Minneapolis Police Department identified the man as a 32-year-old member of the Hells Angels biker gang who intended to incite violence at the peaceful demonstration.
The news of his identity and the search warrant affidavit was first reported by the Star Tribune on Tuesday.
The man's identity drew widespread speculation after he was filmed on May 27 slowly and methodically smashing the windows of an AutoZone in Minneapolis, where protests erupted following the May 25 death of Floyd in police custody.
While named in the affidavit, the man has not yet been charged with any crime and so BuzzFeed News is not naming him. The man did not immediately respond to requests for comment for this story.
MPD arson investigator Erika Christensen wrote in the affidavit that the man’s actions at what had previously been largely peaceful demonstrations helped trigger a rash of looting and fires, noting that the AutoZone was later burned to the ground. Prior to smashing the store’s windows, the man also spray-painted "free shit for everyone zone" on its doors, according to the affidavit.
“Until the actions of the person your affiant has been calling ‘Umbrella man,’ the protests had been relatively peaceful,” Christensen wrote. “The actions of this person created an atmosphere of hostility and tension. Your affiant believes that this individual’s sole aim was to incite violence.”
Christensen reviewed hours of footage from TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube in an attempt to identify the “umbrella man,” but was unsuccessful, she wrote. He was ultimately identified last week via a tip emailed to the Minneapolis Police Department.
The tipster identified the suspect as a 32-year-old biker and told Christensen that the man intended to “sow discord and racial unrest by breaking out the windows and writing what he did on the double red doors.”
The man is a member of Hells Angels, as well as an associate of the Aryan Cowboys, a white supremacist prison gang based out of Minnesota and Kentucky, Christensen wrote.
The same man was also photographed during a confrontation in Stillwater, Minnesota, last month, in which a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf was harassed by a group of Aryan Cowboys, according to the affidavit.
Photos of the suspect bear “a striking resemblance in the eye, nose bridge, and brow area” to the “umbrella man,” Christensen wrote.