A man who reportedly brought bomb materials to the protest 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 court Monday.
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.