Charges Filed Against Four Men for Shooting at Protest Site
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Prosecutors have charged four men after shots were fired at demonstrators protesting the killing of a black man by Minneapolis police.
Twenty-three-year-old Allen Lawrence Scarsella, of Lakeville, is charged with one count of riot while armed with a dangerous weapon and five counts of assault with a dangerous weapon.
A criminal complaint says Scarsella fired the shots that injured five protesters on Nov. 23.
Twenty-seven-year-old Joseph Martin Backman of Eagan; 21-year-old Nathan Wayne Gustavsson of Hermantown; and 26-year-old Daniel Thomas Macey of Pine City each face a riot charge.
The shooting happened near a police precinct where dozens of protesters have been camped since the Nov. 15 fatal shooting of Jamar Clark.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Monday the felony charges he filed against the four men carry tougher potential sentences than any kind of hate crime-related charge he could bring.
Freeman noted it is possible that federal charges could be brought.
Protesters are rejecting a call from the mayor of Minneapolis that they end their demonstration outside a police station near where a black man was fatally shot by a police officer more than two weeks ago.
Minneapolis NAACP President Nekima Levy-Pounds said Monday that her organization continues to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and other protesters in demanding justice for Jamar Clark and all victims of police violence.
Levy-Pounds says it is "frustrating" to have Mayor Betsy Hodges stand with "so-called established black leadership" in calling for an end to the occupation outside the 4th Precinct.
Hodges said Monday the protest should end. She said campfire smoke is hurting air quality and the blocking of a street impedes emergency vehicles and snowplows.