A man who allegedly brought explosive materials to the demonstrations in
Minneapolis from Illinois has been charged with inciting a riot, in the
what appears to be the first federal prosecution stemming from the US
unrest over racism and police brutality.
Matthew Lee Rupert, 28, travelled from Galesburg, Illinois, about 300
miles (500 kilometres) south of Minneapolis with the intent of causing
damage and looting, according to charges filed in Minnesota federal
In a May 29 self-taken video he posted online, Rupert “can be seen
passing out explosive devices he possessed, encouraging others to throw
his explosives at law enforcement officers, actively damaging property,
appearing to light a building on fire and looting businesses in
Minneapolis,” the Justice Department said.
“They got SWAT trucks up there … I’ve got some bombs if some of you all
want to throw them back … Here I got some more…light it and throw it,”
he says in the video.
In another video posted on May 31, he says, “let’s start a riot” and “I’m going to start doing some damage,” the charges allege.
Rupert was charged with one count each of civil disorder, rioting and possession of an explosive device.
There was no indication in the indictment of Rupert’s political leanings.
On Saturday, President Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr said
they were going to target the leftist “Antifa” group for allegedly
driving the rioting and looting around the country during protests
sparked by the police killing of a Minneapolis African American man,
Rupert appears to have been in legal trouble in the past.
According to news reports, a Matthew L. Rupert of Galesburg was arrested in 2018 on charges related to trading in stolen guns.
The Galesburg police department also issued a warrant for his arrest on February 7 this year for possession of methamphetamine.