|The mysterious ''Umbrella man''
POLICE have denied any connection to a mysterious man seen calmly smashing windows at a number of George Floyd protests.
Authorities and conspiracy theorists are trying to identify the individual dubbed ‘umbrella man' due to the umbrella he holds over his head.
Dressed in all black, wearing gloves, boots, and with his face obscured by a gas mask, the unknown man has been seen at protests in Minneapolis, Atlanta and Washington DC.
First noticed in Minneapolis, ‘umbrella man’ was filmed smashing in the windows of an Auto Zone store with a hammer in an eerily calm fashion.
When confronted, a video posted to Twitter shows he quickly walked away.
When someone called out "Are you a f***ing cop?" he replied “Does it matter?” before disappearing.
A man in a pink T-shirt carrying a pizza box, also unidentified, walked off with him.
Twitter has exploded with conspiracy theories about ‘umbrella man, claiming he is an undercover police officer, a supporter of Antifa, a white supremacist or an agent provocateur.
Minnesota’s attorney general Keith Ellison suspects the individual is not involved with the protest movement and is in fact trying to incite violence and rioting.
“Video shows a suspicious white man breaking windows at the Minneapolis Auto Zone and then walking away from the scene,” Ellison tweeted.
“This man doesn’t look like any civil rights protester I have ever seen. Looks like a provocateur. Can anyone ID him?”
The St Paul Police Department was forced to deny that ‘umbrella man’ is employed there after Twitter exploded with claims allegedly identifying him as Officer Jacob Pederson.
Screenshots supposedly show text messages from Officer Pederson’s ex-fiancee saying she recognised him. The validity of the screenshots has not been proven.
“We are aware of the social media post that erroneously identifies one of our officers as the person caught on video breaking windows in Minneapolis,” a statement from St Paul PD said.
“We want to be perfectly clear about this: The person in the video is not our officer.”
Umbrella man was also the name given to a person seen in footage of President John F Kennedy’s 1963 assassination. He held an open umbrella despite the weather being fine.
He was later identified as Louie Steven Witt, a man who said he had no idea he had been the subject of controversy.