Illinois man faces federal charges in Minneapolis rioting

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Matthew L. Rupert from February 2020 at the Knox County Jail.

MINNEAPOLIS — An Illinois man who allegedly participated in rioting in Minneapolis after the death of George Floyd has been arrested and charged with federal counts.

Matthew Lee Rupert, 28, of Galesburg, Illinois, was arrested Monday in Chicago and charged by criminal complaint with three counts, including civil disorder, carrying on a riot and possession of unregistered destructive devices.

According to an FBI affidavit, Rupert posted a self-recorded video on his Facebook page last week that shows him in Minneapolis, handing out explosive devices to others and encouraging them to throw the explosives at law enforcement. The video also shows him damaging property, attempting to light a business on fire, and looting.

The affidavit says that on Saturday, Rupert posted on his Facebook page that he was headed to Chicago, and that he would loot there.

Early Sunday morning, he posted more videos of himself in and around Chicago, and saying “let’s start a riot.”

He was arrested by Chicago police for violating an emergency curfew in the city. Officers found several destructive devices, a hammer, a heavy-duty flashlight and cash in his vehicle, according to authorities.

Rupert was appearing in federal court in Chicago on Monday. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney to comment on his behalf.

Floyd, a black man, died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck while Floyd was handcuffed and saying that he couldn’t breathe. His death sparked protests in Minneapolis and around the country, some of which became violent.

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