(TMU) – The conditions that led to the uprising in Minneapolis earlier this year had been provoking anger in the city for years, and there is no doubt that this anger was ready to boil over in the wake of George Floyd’s killing. However, it appears that one of the catalyzing events of the riot may have been instigated by a white supremacist who wanted to provoke a strong police response and create negative press for the demonstrations.
Since the riots began, there was suspicion about a masked man with an umbrella who was seen on video breaking the windows of the AutoZone store across the street from a police precinct where protesters had initially gathered. The store was looted and set on fire shortly after the windows were broken, and theories began to circulate that the person in the film was an undercover police officer acting as an agent provocateur, while many traditional media sources speculated that perhaps Antifa was responsible.
Witnesses have told the TMU staff that a man with an umbrella, possibly the same person, threw a rock at police officers very early on in the peaceful protests, which resulted in police firing the first tear gas canisters of the uprising. This incident happened near the Target store that was looted shortly after.
Videos of the “Umbrella Man” spread across the internet, but police were reportedly having trouble identifying the suspect. Eventually, they received a tip that it was a man named Mitchell Carlson.
Carlson is reportedly affiliated with the Hell’s Angels & Aryan Cowboys, and his social media pages are filled with racist posts and Nazi imagery.
The tipster told police that Carlson “is a member of the Hell’s Angels and that Carlson wanted to sow discord and racial unrest by breaking out the windows and writing what he did on the double red doors.”
According to court records, Carlson has been charged with numerous violent crimes in the past, including convictions as recently as this year for domestic abuse and “terroristic threats.”
One of the gangs that Carlson is affiliated with, The Aryan Cowboys, is named in law enforcement documents relating to the riots. The documents accused the gang of flooding the city with heroin while police were preoccupied with the protests, and posing as members of Antifa to carry out acts of violence and vandalism.
The police noted that the protests were peaceful until Umbrella Man started causing trouble.
“Until the actions of the person your affiant has been calling ‘Umbrella man,’ the protests had been relatively peaceful. The actions of this person created an atmosphere of hostility and tension,” the report said.
Police say that there is a “striking resemblance” between the Umbrella Man and Carlson.
“Also, of note is also a slight variation in Carlson’s left eyebrow that is present in the photos of ‘Umbrella Man,’” police wrote in the warrant application.
Investigators now have a court’s permission to look through Carlson’s phone for additional evidence linking him to the crime, including GPS coordinates which would put him in the area at the time it happened.
Carlson is also suspected of being involved in an incident last month in Stillwater, Minnesota, where a group of men in Aryan Cowboy vests harassed a Muslim woman.
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