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Press Release

Federal Criminal Complaint Charges Illinois Man With Traveling To Minnesota To Riot, Possession Of Explosive Devices

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Minnesota

United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced a federal criminal complaint against MATTHEW LEE RUPERT, 28, charging him with civil disorder, carrying on a riot, and possession of unregistered destructive devices. RUPERT, who was taken into federal custody earlier today in Chicago, Illinois, will make his initial appearance later today before Chief Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer in U.S. District Court in Chicago, Illinois.

According to the allegations in the complaint, on May 28, 2020, RUPERT posted messages on his Facebook account referencing the public protests occurring in the Twin Cities following the death of George Floyd, including one that stated, “I’m going to Minneapolis tomorrow who coming only goons I’m renting hotel rooms.” On May 29, 2020, RUPERT posted a self-recorded cell phone video to his Facebook account indicating that he was in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In the video, RUPERT can be seen passing out explosive devices he possessed, encouraging others to throw his explosives at law enforcement officers, actively damaging property, appearing to light a building on fire and looting businesses in Minneapolis.

According to the allegations in the complaint, in the video, RUPERT stated, “They got SWAT trucks up there . . . I’ve got some bombs if some of you all want to throw them back . . . bomb them back . . . here I got some more . . . light it and throw it.” RUPERT makes these statements as he hands out an item with brown casing and a green wick to other individuals. The video also depicts RUPERT asking for lighter fluid before entering a Sprint store, followed by his statement, “I lit it on fire.” RUPERT then goes to a nearby Office Depot and states, “I’m going in to get [expletive].” RUPERT can be seen taking items from the store.

According to the allegations in the complaint, on May 30, 2020, RUPERT posted messages on his Facebook account stating that he was headed to Chicago, Illinois. Specifically, RUPERT stated, “comr [sic] with bro Chicago let’s go” and “We will be back bro we can loot til 2:30.” In the early morning hours of May 31, 2020, RUPERT posted multiple videos to his Facebook account showing him in and around the Chicago area. RUPERT can be heard saying “let’s start a riot” and “I’m going to start doing some damage.” At approximately 2:21 a.m., Chicago police officers arrested RUPERT and his associates for violating the City of Chicago’s emergency curfew order. Law enforcement officers searched RUPERT’S vehicle and recovered several destructive devices, a hammer, a heavy-duty flashlight, and cash.

The FBI is urging the public to report suspected arson, use of explosive devices, or violent, destructive acts associated with the otherwise peaceful protests of the last week. Anyone with information can call the FBI at 1-800-CALLFBI (800-225-5324).

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI Minneapolis Field Office, with assistance from the FBI Chicago Field Office and the Chicago Police Department.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Angela M. Munoz and Jordan L. Sing.

The charges contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


Defendant Information:


Galesburg, Ill.


  • Civil disorder, 1 count
  • Organize, promote, encourage, participate in, or carry on a riot, 1 count
  • Possession of unregistered destructive devices, 1 count





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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600


Updated June 1, 2020

Violent Crime