white male arrested in the burning of Precinct 3

St. Paul man arrested for burning down of Minneapolis police precinct’, kimt.com, June 8, 2020, (with a five image photo gallery including Wolfe’s photo and this one):

(Authorities say Wolfe identified himself as the shirtless figure with his arms raised)

“ST. PAUL, Minn. – A federal charge has been filed against a St. Paul man for the burning down of the Third Police Precinct in Minneapolis.

United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald says Branden Michael Wolfe, 23, is accused of aiding and abetting arson. He is scheduled to make his initial appears in U.S. District Court Tuesday.

The Third Precinct was overrun during protests on May 28 and heavily damaged due to vandalism and arson, with investigators identifying multiple fires being started in the building.

On June 3, St. Paul police officers were called to a home improvement store in St. Paul about an individual, later identified as Wolfe, wearing body armor and a law enforcement duty belt and carrying a baton was trying to get into the store. Store employees said WOLFE had been working as a security guard at the store but was fired earlier that day over social media posts about stealing items from the Third Precinct.”

‘Man Arrested for Arson at Minneapolis Precinct During George Floyd Protests;  23-year-old Branden Michael Wolfe allegedly stole numerous items — including body armor and riot helmet — from Third Precinct’, rollingstone.com, June 9, 2020


Mandatory Credit: Photo by CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Shutterstock .

What, if anything, do you see in that photo?

“When Wolfe was arrested, he was reportedly “wearing multiple items stolen from the Third Precinct, including body armor, a police-issue duty belt with handcuffs, an earphone piece, baton and knife. Wolfe’s name was handwritten in duct tape on the back of the body armor.” Additionally, at Wolfe’s apartment, authorities found “a riot helmet, 9mm pistol magazine, police radio and police issue overdose kit.”

Wolfe was previously convicted of a petty misdemeanor trespassing charge and interfering with a 911 call. The 911 call case also initially included charges of domestic assault, property damage, trespassing and disorderly conduct, although those were all dismissed. Wolfe is still on probation for the 911 call until September 2021.

The Star Tribune briefly spoke with Wolfe’s father, Robert Wolfe, who lives in Macon, Georgia. The elder Wolfe said his son was mostly raised by his mother, and that he knew little about his son’s past legal troubles or political leanings. “He has grandiose ideas, a lot of them… and zero common sense,” Robert said. “I’m still proud of him, whether he burned down the police station or not. He didn’t hurt nobody, did he?”

Branden Wolfe Charged in Minneapolis Police Precinct Arson’, June 9, 2020, heavy.com

“Wolfe’s Facebook profile says he lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and is originally from Florida. A quote beneath his profile picture reads, “Silence becomes violence, when we refuse guidance to those who seek it.”

[a twist on MLK, Jr. or Malcolm X?]

“The profile indicates Wolfe has worked as a private security guard at O’Brien and Associates and at Medusa Nightclub. The Star Tribune reported Wolfe was a former security guard at Menards, a home improvement store in Minnesota. Police arrested Wolfe on June 3 after receiving a complaint that he was trying to get into Menards wearing body armor and law enforcement equipment. He had been fired from the store earlier in the day after talking about his social media posts about stealing from the 3rd Precinct, according to the Star Tribune. The posts in question appear to have been removed from Wolfe’s Facebook page.

Wolfe posted to social media at numerous points throughout that week, claiming to be peacefully protesting, Fox 9’s Lyden noted.”

A few folks at the link above asked if he might be ‘The Umbrella Man’.

Heavy then features two of Wolfe’s Facebook posts, the second one noting that Orange Fanta had been invented in Nazi Germany in 1940, the contest to name it, and its name meaning in English: “Let your imagination run wild!”.  He’d finished with: ‘Hope you’ve learned something from this.  Good night!”

Wolfe appeared in court yesterday by video link before Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer of the US Magistrate’s office n St. Paul.  He’ll be appointed an attorney from the Office of the Federal Defender and will be held in custody pending a further hearing which is scheduled to take place remotely on Thursday, according to the Daily Mail.

My sense, for what it’s worth, is that Wolfe wasn’t there to protest against George Floyd’s assassination by the 3rd Precinct cops, but an opportunistic, and at least slightly-deranged and violent frustrated wanna-be Cop.  I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about his profile in the future.  Then again, maybe he was a cop.

Note the photo at the top: are those his accomplices on either side of him? 

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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earthling1's picture

with most most having their backs to the camera but I see an awful lot of pale arms and legs in those two photos.
FWIW

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After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

wendy davis's picture

@earthling1

some of the black arms in the foreground are filming w/ smart phones, while on the side stoop in the right background (click on the photo to enlarge) there seem to be three black people making various gestures or none at all), one seems to be asking 'WTF?' with his arms, another may be cheering, but it's really hard to say.

any ideas on who this wolfe character might be?

sorry about those herpes robo calls... call blocking?

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earthling1's picture

@wendy davis
who he might be or working for. I think you come closest to describing him.
We shall see as his prosecution unfolds.
It certainly seems to me that while the outraged black community is elsewhere peacefully marching, white troublemakers and opportunists are taking advantage or have their own agenda.
And I've call blocked hundreds of numbers from Marriot and they keep coming up with new ones.
Why can't they understand their persistance is not endearing but obnoxious?
They used to provide an out option but that only lasted for a few months, at best.
Once you are in their system, you are in for eternity. I will never deal with them or their affilliates again.
Thanks for the post, Wendy.

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After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

wendy davis's picture

@earthling1

(and not by you) i hadn't meant to sound racist, as many of the floyd protesters (even globally) are multi-ethnic, multi-color, and so on. but i did seem to want to show that the white dudes on either side of wolfe may have been his allies in the burning of the 3rd precinct building. and yes, i'm speaking of the ubiquitous false-flag agents provocateurs and even police infiltrators we've seen for decade.

i'm not even sure i'd say that all outraged black community members are 'marching peacefully', depending on one's definition. some seem to be throwing tear gas canisters back at the police, and so on, but yes: there are opportunists of all sorts who DO have skin in the game who do vent their pent up rage on the streets. violnce against property i one thing (broken windows, smashed police car windows, etc.) but violence against human beings is atrocious.

i talked with our black/azteca son earlier, and he said that he's been harassed since thee protests began by the pigs (my word, not his, and i used it advisedly). this a.m. he rode his bike ten miles before work, he was on a bike path, and a po-po car opened its passenger door right into him, causing him to swerve and crash into a fence.

it's hard to know how that sort of threat might feel, although i sure do try, and try not to fear for his life.

ah, yes, new numbers after blocking, of course. some even switch to local-seeming exchanges, don't they? i just don't answer the phone unless i know the number on the screen.

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wendy davis's picture

if you click on the photo at the top to enlarge it, the two fellows on either side of the (self-identified) branden wolfe are white, but is the one our left holding onto a crutch, a weapon, or the same thing?

if you've been following the NYPD's brutal police state history, and mayor deBlasio's concessions (winding down stop and frisk, and so on...) or 'changes', then recently having added 'reform 50-A, this is sure a step in the right direction. they're right: @2change the nypd has worked hard on the issue, full pedal to the metal with petitions, phone calls, and emails to NY legislators. of course gov. cuomo will have to sign it into law, so there's that ahead.

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earthling1's picture

@wendy davis
Sunshine is the best disinfectant. Next is to ban covering their faces or badges. That reeks of gestapo. If a cop is so afraid of being identified, they should choose another line of work.
Personally, I think every civil judgement against the cities and their P.D.s for brutality or wrongful death should be paid right out of the police budget. If that results in lay-offs, so be it. How many lay-offs will it take for a police department to realize they are their own worst enemy?
To start the conversation with that, threaten to start proceedings to remove the money from the P.D. pension funds.
I've been accused of disliking cops. Not true as my own mother was a cop. And a cousin.
What I don't like is BAD cops. And I don't like good cops that enable bad cops by looking the other way and not confronting them. That is cowardice and unbecoming of an officer sworn to protect.
My two cents. Thanks Wendy.

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After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

wendy davis's picture

@earthling1

police unions also often pay for defense attorneys and 'expert witnesses' to defend their own guilty. cops in your family; awesome. some actually join the force to 'serve and protect'. i've known good ones, as well, and even had a past county sheriff as a friend. his deputy? meh, not quite so much. ; )

but with only limited impunity, too militarized, too many in large cities are simply out of control. de blasios initial 'fixes' were almost comical. how about closing rikers and your offices in israel for IDF training and give it to youth programs and social services? come to think of it, minneapolis cops have also undergone training by the IDF. sigh.

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boriscleto's picture

'Cause silence can be violent sorta like a slit wrist
If the vibe was suicide, then you would push the button
But if ya bowin' down, then let me do the cuttin'
Some speak the sounds but speak in silent voices
Like radio is silent though it fills the air with noises
Its transmissions bring submission as ya mold to the unreal
And mad boy grips the microphone with a fistful of steel
Yeah

Rage Against the Machine...closest I can find...

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" In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move. -- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy "

wendy davis's picture

@boriscleto

the song, but those lyrics gave me the shivers.

but no, that phrasing was neither mlk, jr.'s 'time to stop the silence (against the viet nam war, riverside church, iirc) nor malcolm X's (h/t longtalldrink): 'White Silence is Violence: How to be a White Accomplice', , from july, 2016, corrine fletcher

i'll look up the song...one day. thanks, boriscleto.

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wendy davis's picture

i'd known the Ds had bent a knee for nine minutes while announcing their 'sweeping reform package' but i hadn't known they were sporting kente cloth.

'Rebellion, Confusion and Kente Cloth: The Establishment Can’t Handle Black Lives Matter; Suddenly, workers are publicly criticizing their bosses. Politicians are backpedaling and newspapers face revolts when they are caught spreading propaganda. In Europe and the United States monuments to genocidaires are defaced and pulled down.'
by Margaret Kimberley, mintpressnews.com, june 10, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., center, and House Majority Whip James Clyburn of S.C., right, and top Congressional Democrats, raise their hands during a news conference to unveil policing reform and equal justice legislation on Capitol Hill, June 8, 2020, in Washington. Manuel Balce Ceneta | AP

it' longish, but so far it's a worthy read, so i'll finish it later. ms. kimberly's a force of nature!

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