City of Minneapolis investigators revealed information about the masked, umbrella-bearing man who was recorded in a viral video busting windows in the midst of protests in the city. While most protested against the police violence after the killing of George Floyd, we now know the “umbrella man” is a white supremacist who intended to incite violence.
In documents filed in court on July 27th as part of protocol for a search warrant, an arson investigator with the Minneapolis Police Department identified the suspect as a member of the Hells Angels biker gang who was trying to bring negative attention to the peaceful demonstration. Police say “umbrella man” has been a member of the organization for more than 30 years. Star Tribune was the first to report the news of his identity.
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 while in police custody.
“Umbrella man” was named in the affidavit, but hasn’t been charged with any crime, for that reason we have decided not to name the suspect.
Within the same documents, Arson Investigator for MPD Erika Christensen wrote that the suspect’s actions helped trigger a rash of looting and fires, causing AutoZone to burn to the ground. Before breaking the store’s windows, the “umbrella man” also spray-painted "free sh-t for everyone zone" on its doors, according to BuzzFeed News.
“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.”
After hours of attempting to identify the “umbrella man” through social media videos, Christensen said she was unsuccessful. “Umbrella man” was identified last week based off an anonymous tip sent to the Minneapolis Police Department.
The crime-stopper reported the “umbrella man” as a 32-year-old biker and told police that he planned to “sow discord and racial unrest by breaking out the windows and writing what he did on the double red doors.”
In addition to being a member of Hells Angels, “umbrella man” is also an associate of the Aryan Cowboys, a white supremacist prison gang based out of Minnesota and Kentucky, according to Christensen.