How White Supremacists Are Using Protests to Fuel Racial Tensions

And how the president and the attorney general are helping them.

The day after George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officers, peaceful protesters took to the streets. But the first serious incidence of violence came two days later on May 27th when a masked man started breaking windows at an auto parts store.

That set off a chain reaction of looting, fires, and rioting. Three days later, Attorney General Bill Barr made a statement, saying that “In many places it appears the violence is planned, organized and driven by anarchic and far left extremist groups using Antifa-like tactics, many of whom travel from outside the state to promote the violence.” The president echoed those remarks.

On Tuesday, we learned something about the so-called “umbrella man” in the video above.

A masked man who was seen in a viral video smashing the windows of a south Minneapolis auto parts store during the George Floyd protests, earning him the moniker “Umbrella Man,” is suspected to be a member of the Hell’s Angels biker gang seeking to incite racial tension in a demonstration that until then had been peaceful, police said…

A subsequent investigation revealed that the man was also an associate of the Aryan Cowboy Brotherhood, a small white supremacist prison and street gang based primarily in Minnesota and Kentucky.

Police have also connected the Aryan Cowboy Brotherhood to an incident in which a Muslim woman and her daughter were harassed in Stillwater, Minnesota by a group of men wearing white supremacist insignia.

Last weekend, something similar happened in Richmond, Virginia.

Riots in downtown Richmond over the weekend were instigated by white supremacists under the guise of Black Lives Matter, according to law enforcement officials.

Protesters tore down police tape and pushed forward toward Richmond police headquarters, where they set a city dump truck on fire.

If we add all of that to the involvement of the far-right anti-government group Boogaloo Boys, it becomes clear that much of the violence we’re seeing on the streets is coming from two groups: (1) law enforcement, and (2) far-right/white supremacist groups. But as the president and attorney general defend the use of force by law enforcement to “dominate” the streets, it is significant that neither one of them has called out the actual extremists who are involved.

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Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60.