An Illinois man was sentenced to nearly nine years in prison for setting fire to a cellphone store during the civil unrest in Minneapolis following George Floyd's murder.
Matthew Lee Rupert, 29, of Galesburg pleaded guilty to one count of arson in April.
On Tuesday he was sentenced in Minnesota U.S. District Court to 105 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for burning down a Sprint store, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Rupert drove more than 400 miles to Minnesota to "engage in violence and destruction," Acting U.S. Attorney Anders Folk said in the release.
"Peaceful protest was not on his agenda."
Last summer, Rupert was the first to be charged in the riots. He originally was charged with counts of civil disorder and riot as well, but the U.S. Attorney's Office dropped all but the arson charge as part of a plea agreement.
Rupert livestreamed his riot trip to Minneapolis last summer, including filming part of his role in burning down the Sprint store.
In a previous plea hearing, he admitted to traveling to Minneapolis on May 28 after seeing news of riots breaking out. He posted a message on Facebook inviting "goons" to join him.
In a video, Rupert is seen handing out fireworks, encouraging violence against law enforcement, damaging property and breaking into buildings and looting businesses, according to the release.
At one point, he and others broke into a boarded-up Sprint store on Nicollet Avenue.
Rupert piled boxes on the floor, sprayed them with lighter fluid and encouraged his 17-year-old companion to set them on fire, igniting a blaze in the store.
At the time of his arrest, he said "I lit it on fire" and "We came here to riot," according one of the videos.
Rupert then drove to Chicago, where he filmed himself breaking into a darkened cafe. He was arrested by Chicago police.
"Mr. Rupert made his way to Minneapolis for the express purpose of instigating lawless behavior on our local streets," said Michael Paul, special agent in charge of the FBI's Minneapolis field office.
"He demonstrated no purpose other than endangering peaceful protests by actively encouraging violence against law enforcement and personally destroying community businesses.
Rupert's attorney could not be reached for comment by deadline Tuesday evening.
Staff writer Andy Mannix contributed to this story.
Alex Chhith • 612-673-4759