On May 28th, protesters in Minneapolis overpowered police at the city’s Third Police Precinct, forcing the officers who had been defending the building for days to retreat.
It wasn’t long before protesters had made their way into the building, looting everything they could find before burning it to the ground. There were hundreds of people in the crowd, and many of these perpetrators may never be known to police. However, at least one arrest was made in the case of the precinct arson. The arrest came after a young man took items that he stole from the police precinct to his job and bragged about his participation in the riots on social media.
23-year-old Branden Michael Wolfe of St. Paul, Minnesota, was officially charged with arson this week, according to KIMT.
On June 3rd, police in St. Paul were called to a home improvement store after someone reported that Wolfe was walking around wearing body armor and carrying a baton. Wolfe reportedly worked at the store but was fired just before his arrest for making social media posts about his involvement in the riots. Wolfe previously worked at the store as a security guard.
When Wolfe was arrested, he was found with many items stolen from the department, including body armor, a police-issue duty belt with handcuffs, an earphone piece, baton, and a knife. Back at his apartment, police recovered more items from the precinct including a riot helmet, 9mm pistol magazine, police radio, and police issue overdose kit, from Wolfe’s apartment.
When questioned by police, Wolfe did not admit to starting the fire at the percent, but says that he took property from the building after it had already been broken into. He also identified himself in numerous photos, and admitted to pushing a wooden barrel into the fire.
Wolfe is the only protester who was arrested for the police department breach so far, but other arrests have been made for different acts of looting and arson that occurred in the city.
According to Twin Cities, at least two other arrests have been made for other acts of destruction that occurred during the riots. The report indicated that 28-year-old Matthew Lee Rupert of Illinois was charged with civil disorder, rioting, and arson in relation to his participation in the riots on May 28th and 29th. These actions reportedly took place in both Minneapolis and St. Paul, two cities that are extremely close in proximity, which is why they are known as the “Twin Cities.”
Just like Wolfe, Rupert also clumsily incriminated himself on social media by bragging about his actions and posting live cellphone videos of his crimes.
The police say that in the video, Rupert “can be seen passing out explosive devices” and “encouraging others to throw his explosives at law enforcement officers, actively damaging property, appearing to light a fire in a building and looting businesses in Minneapolis.”
Days later, he then attempted to start trouble in Chicago, where he also posted live videos on social incriminating himself.