A man charged with shooting protesters outside a Minneapolis police precinct in November is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.
Allen “Lance” Scarsella, 24, of Lakeville, is the only one among four co-defendants charged with pulling the trigger on an encampment assembled to protest the death of 24-year-old Jamar Clark, a black man who was shot Nov. 15 by police during a struggle with white officers. The others were charged with second-degree riot while armed.
Lawyers for Scarsella and Daniel Macey, Joseph Backman and Nathan Gustavsson have postponed hearings in order to get through the evidence, or “discovery dump,” which includes police reports and electronic items, Scarsella’s attorney Peter Martin said.
“There’s such a massive amount of stuff that they’ve been turning over that it’s difficult to get through it,” Martin said. “We really need to see everything to see what our next step will be.”
In November, about a dozen protesters attempted to herd the four men from the encampment outside the Police Department’s Fourth Precinct station when the gunfire began and five protesters were hit, witnesses have said. The victims — all black men ages 19 to 43 — were taken to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.
Scarsella, who was charged with first-degree assault, remains jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail.
The men’s attorneys unsuccessfully attempted to prevent a warrantless DNA sample request by prosecutor Judith Hawley. She had said it was necessary to compare DNA on a firearm, ammunition and discharged cartridges.
Earlier this month, Macey’s attorney, Ryan Garry, filed a motion to dismiss charges, alleging there is no evidence to back the rioting charges against him and two others.
In the 14-page motion filed in Hennepin County District Court, Macey said one of the defendants was punched in the face before shots were fired in self-defense. According to police interviews with several protesters, they were upset that the group was filming the protest and that “they were up to something,” the motion said.
Protesters chased them away from the encampment, even as one of the men was seen in a video putting his hands in the air and attempting to walk away. Other interviews with protesters said they “wanted to beat” the men because they were white and it was rumored they were either KKK or police, the motion said.
Two hours after the shooting, Scarsella confessed to a Mankato police officer who was an old high school friend, according to court documents.
Hours later, Scarsella was the first of the men to be arrested.
Gustavsson’s next hearing is scheduled for April 19. Macey and Backman’s hearings are scheduled for April 21.