With an umbrella in his left hand and a hammer in his right, the man in black lobbed his weapon so nonchalantly into an auto parts shop’s windows that it surprised many others in Minneapolis marching nearby in a May 27 protest after George Floyd’s death.
Soon after the abrupt attack, the mostly calm demonstration near a police precinct erupted into looting and arson — the first fire in riots that eventually caused $500 million in damage and left two people dead, the Associated Press reported.
For weeks afterward, activists and Internet commenters homed in on a viral video of the figure nicknamed “Umbrella Man,” speculating that his intent was actually to turn the peaceful protests destructive.
On Tuesday, Minneapolis police identified him as an affiliate of a white supremacist group that allegedly sought to “incite violence,” according to a search warrant affidavit filed in the Hennepin County District Court. The Star Tribune first reported of the warrant. The 32-year-old man has not been charged.
The Minneapolis Police Department declined to comment on the case, citing the active investigation.
The news comes amid rising fears of right-wing agitators purposefully stoking violence at protests. Last month, federal prosecutors charged supporters of the right-wing “boogaloo boys” movement in incidents including the killing of a security officer at a federal courthouse and plotting firebombs and explosives at a government building and peaceful protests — all with the aim of stoking racial conflict. [Continue reading…]