When things started to get downright hairy in Minneapolis, a palpable tension seemed to hang over the entire city. Among the peaceful protesters, who were seeking justice for George Floyd, was another, shadier element, who sought to escalate the ferocity of the discourse to a breaking point.
These extremists agitators arrived from both the far right and far left, with a few non-partisan anarchists thrown in the mix as well. They all shared the same goal, however: Creating chaos.
For those on the left, the hope was that a spark of violence could ignite a revolution. For the far right, it was a race war that they were after. The anarchists? Well, we all know precisely what they want, even if they themselves don’t.
Among the crowds in Minneapolis, one agitator in particular was singled out as a catalyst to the mayhem, and authorities believe that they have now identified him.
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According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minneapolis police arson investigator Erika Christensen wrote in a search warrant affidavit filed this week that the man’s actions created a hostile atmosphere and sparked a series of events that turned previously peaceful protests chaotic. She said she believed his “sole aim was to incite violence.”
Minneapolis police spokesperson John Elder told NPR he is unable to comment on the investigation, which is “open and active.” NPR has not seen the affidavit and is not naming the man because he has not been charged with a crime.
Video of the individual breaking the windows of an AutoZone with a sledgehammer went viral this spring, prompting speculation about the identity of the so-called “Umbrella Man.”
The Star Tribune reported that the man had also spray painted “free (expletive) for everyone zone” on the doors of the store, which was later burned to the ground.
Similar agitators have been at work in cities around the nation as of late, sullying the name of peaceful protesters by acting out for their own violent and selfish goals.
We can only hope that they, too, will be rooted out and brought to justice.
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