MINNEAPOLIS — An Illinois man was sentenced Tuesday to nearly nine years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for setting fire to a cellphone store in Minneapolis following the murder of George Floyd.
According to court documents, on May 28, 2020, Matthew Rupert, 29, a resident of Galesburg, Illinois, posted messages on his Facebook account referring to the public protests that took place in the Twin Cities following the death of George Floyd. , including one who said, “I’m going to Minneapolis tomorrow that’s just goofs, I’m renting hotel rooms.”
On May 29, 2020, Rupert released a Facebook Live video indicating he was in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Rupert announced he had come “to riot” and is pictured distributing artillery shell fireworks, encouraging violence against law enforcement, actively damaging property, penetrating breaking into buildings and looting businesses.
According to the defendant’s guilty plea and court documents, the video also shows Rupert asking for lighter fluid before entering a boarded up Sprint store on Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis.
Rupert surveyed the store and eventually entered a back room while telling the others that he had located a safe. Rupert and others then dropped several boxes in a heap on the floor.
Rupert doused the pile of boxes with lighter fluid, then ordered another individual – at the time a miner – to light the pile on fire. Rupert fled the building and said, “I set it on fire!”
The store suffered extensive damage from the fire.