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Police say a masked, umbrella-shielded man who smashed windows at a Minneapolis auto parts store two days after George Floyd’s death was linked to a white horse group and specifically sought to inflame racial tensions.
According to the Star Tribune Minneapolis, Minneapolis police arson investigator Erica Christensen said in a search statement this week that the man’s actions created a hostile atmosphere and caused a series of events that turned previously peaceful protests into chaos. She said she believed “his sole purpose was to incite violence.”
Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder said he was unable to comment on the investigation, which is “open and active.” The NPR did not see the statement and did not name the man because he had not been charged with a crime.
The video of a man smashing the windows of the Auto Zone with a sledgehammer became spring this spring, which prompted speculation about the identity of the so-called “umbrella man”.
The Star Tribune reported that the man also sprayed paint “free (explicit) for all area” on the door of the store, which was later burned to the ground.
In the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, about 500 businesses were damaged or looted, nearly 70 of them burned to the ground.
“This was the first fire to ignite a series of fires and looting throughout the area and the rest of the city,” Christensen wrote in a statement, according to reports. “So far, the actions of a person whom your officer did not call ‘Umbrella Man’ have been relatively peaceful.”
She also wrote that she watched videos on social media “countless hours” in search of the suspect, which was unsuccessful until the hint came to the police folder last week.
Tipster identified the man as a member of the angels of Hell and said he “wanted to dispel strife and racial unrest by knocking out windows and writing what he was doing on the double red door,” the reporter said. Star Tribune.
According to Minnesota Public Radio, community members have long suspected that outside extremists were trying to inflame tensions during anti-racism and police brutality after Floyd’s death, and some residents of the twin cities reported seeing “white leaders and other far-right images on vehicles.” who got into their neighborhoods during the protests. “
While the man’s face was obscured by a gas mask in the video, Christensen reportedly wrote in his statement that his height was aligned with the video, noting “a striking resemblance in the eyes, bridge of the nose and eyebrow area.”
According to several reports, police also linked the man to an incident in June in Minnear, Minneisk, in June, when a group of men dressed in white outerwear allegedly harassed a Muslim woman who was in a malting shop with her four-year-old boyfriend. shop -old daughter.
Reports also say police have linked the “Man with an Umbrella” and the “Steelwater” incident to the Aryan Cowboy Brotherhood, a small white prison jail and a street gang based in Minnesota and Kentucky.