Police: Man linked to white supremacy group sparked Minneapolis riots over Floyd

MINNEAPOLIS (Gray News) - Police say a man captured on surveillance video breaking windows at a south Minneapolis auto parts store in the days after George Floyd’s death is a Hell’s Angels member who was bent on stirring up social unrest.

The man was dubbed “Umbrella Man” for his all-black get-up. His actions soon led to an arson fire May 27 that police say was the first of several that transformed peaceful protests into chaos. The fires spread and caused an estimated $500 million in damage.

“The actions of this person created an atmosphere of hostility and tension … this individual’s sole aim was to incite violence,” said Minneapolis police, as cited by WCCO.

The Star Tribune reports a Minneapolis police arson investigator wrote in a search warrant affidavit police identified the 32-year-old suspect through an emailed tip last week.

The search warrant says the man is a known associate of the Aryan Cowboys, a prison gang out of Minnesota and Kentucky. The tip claims he wanted to “sow discord and racial unrest,” WCCO reports.

Police have also linked him to a June incident in Stillwater, Minnesota, where a Muslim woman was harassed by a motorcycle club wearing Aryan Cowboy leather vests.

A Minneapolis police spokesman tells The Associated Press the investigation is open and active.

Copyright 2020 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Associated Press contributed to this report.