Galesburg man sentenced for arson in Minneapolis during George Floyd protests

Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 9:50 AM CDT
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MINNEAPOLIS, Mn. (KWQC) - A Galesburg, Illinois man has been sentenced to prison after being charged with arson in Minneapolis during the George Floyd protests in the summer of 2020.

According to a release from the District of Minnesota’s U.S. Attorney’s Office, Matthew Lee Rupert, 29, was sentenced to 105 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. Rupert was charged with arson after setting fire to a cell phone store.

Court documents say on May 28, 2020, Rupert posted to Facebook referencing the protests in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd. Documents show one of those posts read, “I’m going to Minneapolis tomorrow who coming only goons I’m renting hotel rooms.” The following day, documents say Rupert went live on Facebook saying he was in Minneapolis saying he came to “riot and is depicted handing out artillery-shell fireworks, encouraging violence against law enforcement officers, actively damaging property, breaking into buildings, and looting businesses.” The video also shows Rupert asking for lighter fluid before entering a boarded-up Sprint store. He is then seen entering a back room, announcing he found a safe. Documents say Rupert and others then dumped the papers on the ground, soaked them in lighter fluid, and lit them on fire.

Rupert pleaded guilty to the charges.

Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk says, “Matthew Rupert chose to drive more than 400 miles from his home in Illinois to Minnesota to engage in violence and destruction, all while broadcasting it for the world to see. Peaceful protest was not on his agenda. Arson, looting, property damage, and the glorification of it, will not be tolerated. Today, justice has caught up with Mr. Rupert as he must now account for his crimes.”

The Galesburg Police Department assisted in the investigation.

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