After a trial that stretched on for three weeks, a Hennepin County jury will now deliberate the case of a man accused of felony assault and riot for shooting at a group of Black Lives Matter protesters in November 2015.
Allen Scarsella, 24, faces six counts of first-degree assault and one count of riot after he shot and wounded five protesters on Nov. 23, 2015. He and three friends went to Minneapolis Police’s Fourth Precinct that night to live stream an ongoing protest after the death of Jamar Clark, who was shot and killed during a scuffle with police. After weeks of testimony followed by closing arguments, the jury will begin deliberations on Wednesday morning.
Video played during the trial showed the four men standing at a fence before they were quickly surrounded by a group of about 20 to 30 protesters. The four fled north up Morgan Avenue, but were followed by a smaller group of about five to seven protesters for about a block. Scarsella testified that he opened fire at the group in self-defense when he saw one of them pull out a weapon.
None of the shooting victims who testified said they saw anyone pull a knife on Scarsella, and that they ran after him after they heard someone from Scarsella’s group shout a racial slur.
The prosecution argued that Scarsella is a racist who went to the protest that night to mock the protesters before he ended up shooting them, while the defense argues that he feared for his life.
Along with Scarsella, Nathan Gustavsson, 22, of Hermantown; Daniel Macey, 27, of Pine City, and Backman, 28, of Eagan stand charged with second-degree riot and aiding an offender. Gustavsson took the stand in Scarsella’s defense on Friday.