If this seems quick, it’s because Matthew Lee Rupert made it easy. The first man charged with a federal crime tied to rioting in Minneapolis practically gift-wrapped his indictment and handed it over to the Department of Justice, which unwrapped it in a federal court in Minnesota last night.
How many more gifts did the FBI get from rioters?
Matthew Lee Rupert, 28, is charged with civil disorder, possession of unregistered explosives and participating in and organizing riots, making him the first to face federal prosecution for allegedly taking part in the fires, looting and other violence that engulfed the Twin Cities since the death of George Floyd in police custody.
Last Thursday night, Rupert, of Galesburg, Ill., posted on his public Facebook page an invitation for “goons” to join him in traveling to Minneapolis, where he said he was renting hotel rooms and planned to wreak havoc and “take hella good videos.”
The livestreamed videos, cited as evidence by FBI investigators in the complaint, show his role in the riots on Friday night and early Monday, including distributing explosives and then announcing, “He’s throwing my bombs … they’re going to bomb the police with them.”
“Good shot, my boy,” he shouted after one of the explosions, according to the complaint. “We came here to riot,” he declared later.
So let’s count up the admissions this moron allegedly made on his social-media platform. He admitted to bombing, arson, attempted murder of police officers, conspiracy to commit all of the above, and crossing state lines to do all of these. He’ll need Monty Hall as his defense attorney in order to play Let’s Make a Deal with this case.
But at least he took hella good videos. In fact, they might be sooooo hella good that the local US Attorney might even indulge Rupert by playing his greatest hits in the courtroom. Good shot, my boy. One does have to wonder just how many of these cases will get made by simply trolling through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to find all of the radicals who are too full of themselves to refrain from bragging about their exploits and posting video evidence of them. Let’s hope that most of them fall into the Rupert trap.
The good news here in the Twin Cities is that we appear to have fewer of them hanging around. The Star Tribune reports this morning that the enhanced security presence continues to provide results and that tensions are slowly “ebbing.” Some National Guard units might even get released, but only those who hadn’t yet arrived:
Minnesota leaders hoped cautiously Monday for continued de-escalation of tensions in the aftermath of George Floyd’s deadly encounter with Minneapolis police, even as President Donald Trump threatened to mobilize the military to tamp down unrest elsewhere in the country.
Gov. Tim Walz talked of pulling back a portion of more than 7,000 National Guard members that had been called in to help quell violence in the metro area. Hours were reduced on a Twin Cities curfew first issued days earlier, and officials planned to leave freeways open, unlike previous nights.
The state was in “a much more stable position,” National Guard Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen said Monday, though he emphasized that the Guard’s presence in the Twin Cities would look the same as it had over the weekend. Other units, which had been waiting at armories to step in if needed, could return home if leaders deemed it OK, he said.
The protests yesterday were entirely peaceful, which means that this security presence has succeeded in ensuring that civil rights get protection. Protest and assembly are civil rights, and Americans need to conduct both without threat of them being exploited by the Ruperts of the world. That takes a lot of sensitivity and balance from the community, police, and Guard, and so far it seems we are finding it.
The question remains whether the radicals and agitators have had enough of the Twin Cities, or whether they are just biding their time. We’ve certainly had enough of them. We need to move on to the next pressing issues — rebuilding what has been lost, and dealing with the decades of failure by progressive leadership in Minneapolis and its police department.