Bill Barr and the DOJ just followed through on yesterday’s promise to crack down on the rioters and looters and start bringing federal criminal charges.
Matthew Lee Rupert who was heard on a video saying “let’s start a riot” and “I’m going to start doing some damage,” was arrested Sunday night.
Chicago police arrested him at 2:21 a.m. Sunday and they found “several destructive devices” similar to what he had been using in Minneapolis.
A man from downstate Galesburg who allegedly appears on video rioting, looting and urging attacks against the police has been hit with what appears to be the first federal criminal charge related to the violence this weekend in Chicago.
Matthew Lee Rupert, 28, has been charged in an eight-page criminal complaint in federal court in Minnesota with civil disorder, carrying on a riot and possession of unregistered destructive devices. The complaint alleges Rupert participated in looting and rioting in Minneapolis in response to the police killing of George Floyd before moving on to Chicago.
In a removal hearing held by telephone Monday before U.S. District Chief Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer in Chicago, Rupert maintained his innocence through his attorney but didn’t challenge being taken in custody back to Minnesota.
Meanwhile, the FBI began to publicly solicit tips and digital media Monday that depict “violent encounters surrounding the civil unrest that is happening throughout the country.”
The charges against Rupert hit as U.S. officials seek to determine if extremist groups had infiltrated protests nationwide and deliberately tipped largely peaceful demonstrations toward violence — and if foreign adversaries were behind a burgeoning disinformation campaign on social media.
Federal law enforcement officials have been insisting far-left groups were stoking violence. Meanwhile, experts who track extremist groups also reported seeing evidence of the far-right at work.
The complaint against Rupert does not connect him with any organization.
Still, a Chicago police officer told the Chicago Sun-Times that a sizable number of people looting in the Loop on Saturday night had Southern accents, indicating they were from out of town.
The officer was only involved in one arrest, of a person from Tennessee. “A lot are not from Chicago,” the officer said.
Nationwide, officials have seen a surge of social media accounts with fewer than 200 followers created in the last month, a textbook sign of a disinformation effort.