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The identity of “Umbrella Man” has remained a mystery since he was seen in video footage smashing out windows at a business in Minneapolis two days after George Floyd was killed in May 2020.
In the days that followed, a social media rumor — proved untrue — claimed that the shadowy suspect, who was dressed in all black with most of his face covered, was a St. Paul police officer. St. Paul police immediately denied the accusation and later released evidence that the officer in question was in St. Paul at the time of the incident at AutoZone on East Lake Street.
Then, about two months later, Minneapolis police, following an anonymous tip, zeroed in on a 32-year-old suspect described at the time in a search warrant affidavit as a white supremacist who sought to “incite violence.”
Now, the FBI is asking the public for help in identifying “Umbrella Man,” as he became known on social media and in news reports.
The FBI’s Minneapolis field office on Tuesday issued a news release with images of video surveillance that shows a man, who is described as white, wearing a black baseball hat with a “unique yellow logo with the letters L, M, Co and a black shirt with a picture on the front of it.”
The FBI is asking anyone with information about the man in the pictures or the case to call 800-CALL-FBI or submit a tip at tips.fbi.gov.
The federal agency didn’t explain the timing of the public plea, and spokeswoman Cynthia Barrington said the investigation is active and ongoing.
“The logo on the hat as well as the picture on the shirt appear to be unique,” Barrington said. “The hope is that these images highlighting the logo and shirt may generate leads that will identify the person in the pictures.”
In video footage of the incident, the man wearing black gloves and carrying a black umbrella is seen using a hammer to break the windows of AutoZone’s storefront on May 27, 2020, two days after Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody. The person is also suspected of vandalizing the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct.
In video footage, “Umbrella Man” is approached by several people. While it’s unclear what was said, body language of those involved suggests they were trying to stop his conduct, according to the affidavit previously filed in Hennepin County District Court by a police arson investigator.
It was later determined that the same man spray-painted the words, “free (expletive) for everyone zone” on the store’s front doors, the affidavit said.
The store was looted and set ablaze shortly thereafter, marking the incident as a turning point in the unrest that followed the officer-involved fatality, the affidavit said.
“This was the first fire that set off a string of fires and looting throughout the precinct and the rest of the city. Until the actions of the … ‘Umbrella Man,’ the protests had been relatively peaceful. The actions of this person created an atmosphere of hostility and tension,” the arson investigator wrote. “(I) … believe … this individual’s sole aim was to incite violence.”
A Minneapolis police spokesperson couldn’t be reached Tuesday about the status of the suspect described in the affidavit.Related Articles Crime & Public Safety | Ex-Savage middle school principal sentenced for trying to hire girl in police sex sting Crime & Public Safety | West St. Paul man stabbed and punched girlfriend while she held her son, charges allege Crime & Public Safety | Citing likely self-defense case, no murder charges for man arrested in St. Paul shooting Crime & Public Safety | Bust of nationwide catalytic converter theft ring included MN search warrants Crime & Public Safety | In St. Paul schools, in-house liaisons take over for police, contract security
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