by Frederick H. Lowe
MINNEAPOLIS — The Hennepin County (Minnesota) district attorney on Monday charged four men with assault or riot for shooting five members of Black Lives Matter outside Minneapolis’ 4th police precinct.
Police arrested the men, who were wearing ski masks at the time of the shooting, on Wednesday, Nov. 25, two days after the shooting occurred on Monday, Nov. 23. Five black men were wounded in the shooting. BlackLivesMatter members said they would not be cowed by the shooting.
The BlackLivesMatter members set up an encampment at the police precinct. They were demanding an investigation into the police killing of Jamar Clark, 24. Clark was shot to death November 15th in Minneapolis. He died a short time later.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman identified the alleged shooter as Allen Lawrence Scarsella, 23, of Lakeville, Minn.
The others allegedly involved in the attack are: Joseph Martin Backman, 27, of Eagan, Minn., Nathan Wayne Gustavsson, 22, of Hermantown and Daniel Thomas Macey, 26, of Pine City, Minn.
Scarsella is charged with six counts, including second-degree riot and second-degree assault. Backman, Gustavsson and Macey are charged with one count each of second-degree riot- armed with a dangerous weapon.
None of the men have been charged with hate crimes because riot and second-degree assault charges would lead to longer prison sentences should they be convicted, Freeman explained.
Scarsella fired eight shots at the BlackLivesMatter group, wounding a 19-year man in the lower abdomen, a 43-year-old man in the left knee, a 24 year-old man in the thigh and foot, a 38-year-old man in forearm and a 29-year-old man in the leg and back. All those wounded were rushed to hospitals where they were treated. They have all been released for follow-up care.
The gunmen are scheduled to make their first court appearance today. Freeman said he will seek $250,000 bail each for Backman, Gustavsson and Macey, and a $500,000 bail for Scarsella.
All of the men are white except Macey, who is Asian.
“There is no doubt that this attack by the four was racially motivated,” Freeman said. “The defendants’ own statements, their videos, show that these are sick people. Maybe I shouldn’t say that, but the language they use, and what they say about fellow Americans, citizens are just not acceptable.”