Federal government wants nearly 10 years for man from Galesburg who joined Minneapolis riots before heading to Chicago
Minnesota federal prosecutors ask judge to punish lower Galesburg man with nearly a decade in prison for torching a Sprint store amid last year’s riots in Minneapolis before turning to Chicago.
Matthew Lee Rupert, 29, “traveled over 400 miles to exploit an aggrieved community for fun” and “packed a duffel bag full of shell fireworks, but apparently forgot his signs protesting against the death of George Floyd, “prosecutors wrote in court. filing of the request for the severe penalty Thursday.
Rupert then moved from Minneapolis to Chicago as riots and looting began to erupt here on May 30, 2020. He did so even though someone warned him on Facebook that in Chicago, “they’re not going out. they just don’t use the guns. ” But Rupert was quickly arrested after violating the curfew announced by Mayor Lori Lightfoot in response to the unrest.
Jordan Kushner, Rupert’s defense attorney, told the Chicago Sun-Times via email that he expected to file his own position paper on Rupert’s potential sentence by the end of the day. Friday. Rupert’s sentencing is set for August 10.
Meanwhile, the first conviction in a federal court in Chicago to deal directly with the violence here came last week, when U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman gave Jacob Fagundo three years’ probation for setting fire to to a Chicago police vehicle.
Rupert pleaded guilty to arson in April, admitting to posting an approximately two-hour video on Facebook Live on May 29, 2020, in which he could be seen encouraging violence against law enforcement, damaging property, break into buildings and loot businesses in Minneapolis. His plea deal says he can be heard on the video stating, “We’ve come to riot! “
Eventually, Rupert can also be seen asking for lighter fluid and walking into a closed Sprint Store, according to the plea deal. He said he walked into a back room of the store, knocked over boxes in a heap on the ground and sprayed them with lighter fluid. A young Rupert brought with him from Galesburg then set the pile on fire in the direction of Rupert, according to the document.
The resulting fire totaled the store, authorities said. Liberty Mutual, which has insured the property, has so far paid nearly $ 4 million to repair the building and replace lost rental income, and Sprint has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in inventory, they said. The store is still closed.
Meanwhile, prosecutors say Rupert has a long history of trouble and taunts from law enforcement. Even though he was locked up, they also said Rupert got caught with alcohol, got into a fight and threatened inmates and correctional officers.
Finally, they said the harsh sentence would also send an important message.
“While no one hopes for widespread civil unrest in the future, the likelihood of such events remains a distinct possibility as the country grapples with this period of societal change,” they wrote.