Federal grand jury indicts Illinois man in Twin Cities arson, riots

A federal grand jury has returned an indictment against an Illinois man in connection to arson and riots in the Twin Cities.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Wednesday that Matthew Lee Rupert, 28, is charged with civil disorder, rioting and arson. He was initially charged in a federal criminal complaint last week.

Court documents say, on May 28, Rupert posted messages on Facebook referencing protests in the Twin Cities following George Floyd's death, including one stating, "I'm going to Minneapolis tomorrow who coming only goons I'm renting hotel rooms."

U.S. Attorney: Illinois man charged after traveling to Minnesota, bringing explosives to riot

The following day, he posted a self-recorded cellphone video to his Facebook indicating he was in Minneapolis, and he can be seen passing out explosive devices and encouraging others to throw them at law enforcement officers. The charges also allege he can be seen actively damaging property, lighting a fire and looting businesses.

The documents also say Rupert said, "They got SWAT trucks up there … I've got some bombs if you all want to throw them back … bomb them back … here I got some more … light it and throw it." As he said that, he allegedly was handing out items that look like explosive devices.

On May 30, messages on his account indicate he's in and around the Chicago area, and he's heard saying, "let's start a riot," and, "I'm going to start doing some damage."

He was arrested at about 2:21 a.m. in Chicago, and officers recovered several explosive devices, a hammer and other materials, the attorney's office said.