Police say the masked, umbrella-wielding man who smashed windows at a Minneapolis auto parts store two days after George Floyd’s death has ties to a white supremacist group and specifically sought to inflame racial tensions.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minneapolis police arson investigator Erika Christensen wrote in a search warrant affidavit filed this week that the man’s actions created a hostile atmosphere and sparked a series of events that turned previously peaceful protests chaotic. She said she believed his “sole aim was to incite violence.”
Minneapolis police spokesperson John Elder told NPR he is unable to comment on the investigation, which is “open and active.” NPR has not seen the affidavit and is not naming the man because he has not been charged with a crime.
Video of the individual breaking the windows of an AutoZone with a sledgehammer went viral this spring, prompting speculation about the identity of the so-called “Umbrella Man.”
The Star Tribune reported that the man had also spray painted “free (expletive) for everyone zone” on the doors of the store, which was later burned to the ground.