Following the death of George Floyd on May 25, protests erupted across the United States. During a particular demonstration in south Minneapolis, a masked man was seen smashing the windows in front of an auto parts store. Due to his attire, the moniker “Umbrella Man” was attributed to the person in the viral video. Now, police believe they have determined his identity thanks to a tip that was sent to them in an email.
According to the Star Tribune, law enforcement officials reportedly believe that a member of the Hell’s Angels biker gang was the person responsible. As stated by the publication, officials believe the decision to break the windows had been an effort on his part to “incite racial tension in a demonstration that until then had been peaceful.”
In the May 27 live stream, the “Umbrella man” was seen breaking the windows with a 4-pound sledgehammer. Protestors then asked him to stop, which resulted in an exchange of words. Police have also stated that during the day in question, the suspect was also seen wearing black head-to-toe clothing and carrying a black umbrella as he spray-painted “free [expletive]for everyone zone” on the doors.
When speaking about the events that police view as a catalyst for the subsequent looting and rioting that resulted after the windows were broken, Erika Christensen, a Minneapolis police arson investigator, elaborated on law enforcement’s current belief in a search warrant affidavit that was filed in court this week.
“This was the first fire that set off a string of fires and looting throughout the precinct and the rest of the city,” she wrote, adding, “Until the actions of the person your affiant has been calling ‘Umbrella man,’ the protests had been relatively peaceful. 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 also stated that even though she had initially watched “innumerable hours” of footage from social media platforms, such as Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok, investigators had been unable to successfully identity “Umbrella Man” until the Minneapolis Police Department received the aforementioned email.
At this time, the suspect has not yet been named publicly due to the fact that he has not officially been charged with a crime.