Elijah “EJ” Easley released a video today letting the world know that he’s the “pink shirt pizza guy” who confronted the Umbrella Man who was breaking windows at an AutoZone in Minneapolis. He said that since he’s been the subject of a growing conspiracy, he felt that he needed to come forward and share his story.
‘I’m Not … Any Type of Plant. I’m Just a Young Man.’
Easley shared that he’s not any type of government plant, in answer to all the rumors that were circulating on social media. You can see his video below.
In the interview with Mac House, Easley shared that he’s now known as the man with the pink shirt and the pizza. He addressed the rumors that he was somehow involved with the unnamed umbrella man, since a video showed them walking together after he confronted the man.
According to his Twitter bio, Easley is the VP of Mac House LLC. He’s been sharing tweets about what he did, including retweeting this one:
That was right after their altercation behind the Autozone (there's video of that too).
Man, pinkpizzashirtguy (Easley) is REALLY easy to research. It's not hard. If you don't know he's a good guy by now, then there's no other option but to question YOUR motives.
— Krayon (@krayonc) May 31, 2020
Back on May 30 he shared his identity, but a lot of people missed what he said.
To those of you who may not know my name is EJ and I am the Pink shirt Pizza Guy!
— Elijah (Ej) Easley (@Grey_Matter1) May 31, 2020
In the video he released on June 2, he said: “I’m not any type of government plant, police plant, or any type of plant… I’m just a young man who was raised in north Minneapolis. I went to Seed Academy Harvest Prep.”
He said he went to Seed Academy Harvest Prep and graduated from North High School.
I’m just somebody who’s passionate about my community. And I was out there that day. I saw something that I believed was wrong and so I decided to make a change. I was out here like I am pretty much every day in my community, just trying to help out people to make sure that we’re doing everything that we can to prosper and thrive. We’re out here once again. We had another successful day just working together…”
He said he visits the same area every day to try to help the community.
He’s Known for Being Involved in Outreach Programs in His Community
On Twitter, he retweeted a tweet that refuted the online rumors. Joshua Hill had tweeted: “Elijah is a known member of the Minneapolis community and various outreach programs. #pinkpizzaguy is a hero who speaks of love and finding solutions to problems. Don’t get it twisted. #UmbrellaMan is the bad guy here.”
Although he didn’t address this in the video, the pink shirt he was wearing is part of A Mothers Love Initiative, which you can visit here. The Initiative writes on its webpage:
Our initiative is focused around Gun Violence and Domestic Violence, understanding that they are often intertwined. We recognize that a simple argument and disagreement is sometimes resolved with the use of firearms. In our approach to Violence With Guns, we recognize that a bullet destroys two families and eats at the fiber of a community. In an effort to change the narrative, we work to de-escalate those unfortunate situations. We do Boots On The Ground Outreach to communities most affected by violence and a multitude of disparities. We start the journey with outreach and prayer. From there we offer listening circles and 8-week Workshops (one day per week) for fathers and mothers, as well as group/self-esteem building outreach activities for youth ages 8-18.
Easley did not mention the initiative in his video and it’s not known if he volunteers with them or was simply wearing the shirt in support of their work in the community.
He Spoke Out About the Need for Continued Action Just Before He Saw the ‘Umbrella Man’
In a video interview below, you can see Easley talking about the protests before his encounter at AutoZone later. The video was recorded by Emma Leigh Fiala, a journalist in Minnesota who has been live streaming the protests and reporting on the ground. He might be a little hard to understand at first, but soon the audio clears and he’s easy to understand. Heavy will follow up with more details about the man as they are known.
The video interview was recorded as part of a live stream outside the Minneapolis Police Third Precinct on May 27. The interview happened before Easley was seen later in a video that’s gone viral on social media. In that video, he’s seen confronting a man carrying an umbrella and wearing a mask who started breaking windows at an AutoZone.
He approached Fiala and asked if he could speak to the people watching her video. Here’s a quote from the video above:
We can’t just vote for the people and expect change and then not call them out when they don’t make the change. We have got to call people out. We have got to make sure that the people that are capable of making the change — the people that we vote in — are doing their job, are doing what we are asking them to do.
This does not matter if we just shut up after a month. This does not matter if we be quiet and we don’t respond if something doesn’t happen. We have to continue. So all of this is great, but where are all these people gonna be in two weeks, in three weeks, in four weeks, in two months? Where are these people gonna be at? Y’all fighting, y’all moving in anger, that’s fine. We need something to mobilize.
You can see the full video above.
He Was Seen in Several Videos Encountering the Umbrella Man
Easley was seen in several videos where he encountered a mysterious person carrying an umbrella who broke out windows at an AutoZone. The man who broke the windows has been the subject of many social media queries and theories.
In the video below, you can him interacting with the ‘umbrella man’ and trying to stop him as the man breaks out windows at AutoZone. Then you can later hear someone holding a camera yelling at the umbrella man and asking if he’s a cop. The St. Paul, Minnesota Police Department told Heavy that the umbrella man in the video is not their police officer. Rumors about the man’s identity have circulated on social media, including texts claiming to identify the man. The names of the people who sent the texts were blacked out, but Heavy has reached out to multiple sources for more information about the contents of those text messages.
In this next video, you can see the man with the umbrella standing behind a photojournalist.
— Dymanh Chhoun (@Dymanh) May 28, 2020
And then later, after the confrontation at the AutoZone, you can see the man wearing the pink shirt following the man with the umbrella. It’s not clear where they went after this video.
Easley has addressed the rumors from the video above, saying: “I’m just somebody who’s passionate about my community. And I was out there that day. I saw something that I believed was wrong and so I decided to make a change.”
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