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Minneapolis 'Umbrella Man' seen in viral video believed to be white supremacist trying to incite violence

A man seen in videos smashing the windows of an auto parts store in Minneapolis during protests over the death of George Floyd is suspected of being a white supremacist trying to incite racial violence, The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Tuesday.

The man was seen in videos wearing all black and carrying a black umbrella as he smashed windows with a sledgehammer during protests two days after the death of Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed in Minneapolis police custody on May 25.

Police say prior to that, the man spray-painted "free shit for everyone zone" on the double front doors of the Auto Zone in question.

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The man is a suspected member of the Hell’s Angels biker gang, as well as the Aryan Cowboy Brotherhood, according to the Star Tribune.

“This was the first fire that set off a string of fires and looting throughout the precinct and the rest of the city,” police said in a warrant affidavit this week. 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. Your affiant believes that this individual’s sole aim was to incite violence.” 

Police have reportedly identified the man through an email tip, but he has not yet been charged with any crimes and the Star Tribune is not naming him.

Minneapolis police did not immediately respond to an inquiry from The Hill.

Video footage shows the man smashing windows as other protesters follow him and ask him to identify himself. The term "Umbrella Man" was coined on social media as people guessed at his identity, with some protesters speculating he was actually a member of the police force. 

Protests against police brutality and systemic racism continue in cities across the country in the wake of Floyd's death, including in Portland, Ore., where the Trump administration's use of federal law enforcement officers against demonstrators has drawn sharp condemnation from Democrats.