Illinois man charged with handing out 'bombs' during Minneapolis protests

image: upi

Federal authorities have charged an Illinois man for crossing state lines into Minnesota where he filmed himself passing out explosive devices and urging people to throw them at police and buildings during nationwide unrest over the police-involved death of George Floyd.

Matthew Lee Rupert, 28, of Galesburg, Ill., was arrested and charged in Chicago Monday for civil disorder, carrying on a riot and possession of unregistered destructive devices, the Department of Justice announced in a release.

According to the criminal complaint, Rupert posted a video to his Facebook account on Thursday night, saying he was heading to Minneapolis, Minn., to participate in the protests calling for police accountability over the death of Floyd on May 25.

Prosecutors said Rupert streamed live to his Facebook account several videos lasting hours over the weekend showing him handing out explosives to throw at law enforcement officers, lighting a building on fire and looting a business in the city.

In one video, he is seen allegedly handing an explosive to an unknown male who lights it and does as instructed.

"He's throwing my bombs," Rupert is heard saying in the stream. "They're going to bomb police with them."

At one point during the period of Friday night to early Saturday, Rubert is seen in a video asking for lighter fluid before entering a Sprint cellphone store and is later heard saying "I lit it on fire," according to the complaint.

On Sunday, Rupert traveled to Chicago and posted several videos to his social media account, in one of which he is heard saying "let's start a riot."

At 2:21 a.m., Chicago police officers arrested Rupert and those he was with for violating the city's emergency curfew order and searched his vehicle discovering several of the "destructive devices," a hammer, a flashlight and cash.

In the complaint, the devices are described as made from commercial items and consist of a cylindrical container, a hobby fuse and a main charge "capable of exploding."

His girlfriend, who is unnamed in the complaint, was arrested with Rupert for violating the curfew and identified him as the person in the videos streamed to the Facebook account, prosecutors said.

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