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Who is the umbrella man who started damage at AutoZone?

The damage and subsequent fire at AutoZone sparked a major escalation of the protests.

Video footage showing the man who seemingly sparked the criminal damage at AutoZone in Minneapolis has become a huge talking point on social media.

Footage from the scene near the Minneapolis Police 3rd Precinct shows protesters taking cover near the store as police fired rubber bullets and threw flash bangs, with some protesters responding by throwing projectiles.

It's at this point in the video below that smashing can be heard from behind the recorder, who turns round to see a white man wearing all black, a gas mask, and carrying an umbrella, smashing the windows at the AutoZone.

The man's identity is not revealed, though his appearance has sparked many theories online.

Warning: The video shared below contain upsetting scenes and offensive language.

The man is then chased away from the store by protesters, who admonish him for causing the damage.

At one point, he gets angry at being recorded and lunges for a woman with the phone.

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What followed then was further criminal damage at the AutoZone, which eventually led to a fire being set in the store, and at several more buildings in the area, including a Wendy's and an affordable housing complex, both of which burned down.

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Bring Me The News has asked Minneapolis Police Department for a comment on whether it has launched an investigation to find the culprit. We have not received a response.

St. Paul PD debunks internet rumor

St. Paul PD however moved to quell rumors online that the culprit is one of their officers.

"We are aware of the social media post that erroneously identifies one of our officers as the person caught on video breaking windows in Minneapolis. We've seen it. We've looked into it. And it's false.

"So we also want to be perfectly clear about this: The person in the video is not our officer. We don't know who that person is, but we hope he's identified and held accountable for his actions.

"Our officer? He's been working hard, keeping people and property safe, and protecting the right to peacefully assemble. It’s sad that people would post and share this untrue information, adding more confusion to an already painful time in our community."

A longer version of the video can be seen here.

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