A mysterious masked figure dubbed as 'Umbrella Man' was filmed smashing windows of an auto parts store in Minneapolis in May. The video went viral on social media buzzing with theories that he was an undercover police officer who was inciting violence to justify the use of excessive force on rioters.
Who is the Umbrella Man?
As protests and unrest continued in Minneapolis following the killing of George Floyd, social media was flooded with images and videos of a mysterious man filmed stirring up violence outside an Autozone. The white man, dressed in black clothing, was spotted calmly smashing windows of the store using a large hammer.
His face remained hidden with a tactical gas mask and was seen holding an open black umbrella even though it wasn't raining, earning him the nickname "Umbrella Man" on Twitter. The strange choice of attire for a warm day, the unwarranted use of an umbrella and the expensive-looking tactical gas mask led many to suspect he was planted to incite violence. The incident took place before the city erupted in flames.
Identified as Member of White Supremacist Group
Although conspiracy theorists claimed the Umbrella Man was an undercover police officer, as previously reported, the mysterious man has been identified as Mitchell Carlson, a known member of a white supremacist group, police have alleged in a search warrant affidavit.
Erika Christensen, a Minnesota peace officer, made the application for a warrant to search Carlson's premises and property, including cell phone calls and texts.
Christensen claims Carlson is a member of the Hell's Angels and a known associate of the Aryan Cowboys, a prison gang that operates out of Minnesota and Kentucky. The search for Umbrella Man went months without any leads until investigators received a top claiming it was Carlson who "wanted to sow discord and racial unrest by breaking out the windows" of the auto parts store, according to the search warrant affidavit.
Although Carlson has not yet been charged with a crime, investigators are seeking data from cell phone towers that would provide additional information regarding his whereabouts during the incident.
Carlson was involved in another recent racially-motivated incident, according to the affidavit. He and other members of the Aryan Cowboys allegedly harassed a Muslim woman in late June while she was enjoying a meal with her four-year-old daughter in Stillwater, Minneapolis.
She posted about the encounter on Facebook, including photos of she said she took of the men and one of the images shows Carlson in an Aryan Cowboys leather jacket.
Previously Charged with Terrorist Threats and Domestic Abuse
Carlson has a long list of previous arrests, many for traffic violations, but some of them include violent incidents. In February, he was charged with making terror threats and domestic abuse by strangulation. He was convicted and sentenced on a misdemeanor level for the threats, but the abuse charges were dismissed. In a separate case that month, he was convicted of domestic abuse.
A Facebook account that appeared to belong to him has also indicated white supremacist behavior, including memes with swastikas and Nazi salutes.