An Oakdale man whom prosecutors call a serious criminal will spend at least 17 years in prison for the shootings of a Minneapolis police officer and another man in November.
Israel Lee Anderson, 34, maintained his innocence before he was sentenced by Hennepin County District Judge William Koch on Tuesday.
"I still contend that I am innocent," Anderson said. "I feel for the two individuals that were shot during this time -- for them and their families. I did not do this. Thirty years? I mean, 30 years?"
Anderson referred to the sentence that prosecutors sought -- lengthy prison terms served one after the other rather than the two terms served at once, as the defense sought. Koch opted for the consecutive sentences, but not as long as the terms sought by prosecutors.
Anderson was convicted in May by a jury of five counts: two counts of attempted second-degree intentional murder and three counts of first-degree assault. The judge also found him guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm. (Anderson had a conviction in 2002 for possessing a controlled substance.)
The shootings happened early on Nov. 26 as bars were closing in downtown Minneapolis and a crowd gathered in a parking lot at 3rd Street and Hennepin Avenue S. According to the complaint, as officers approached they saw 12 to 15 people shoving and kicking one another and one man on the ground being beaten.
Officer Dan Grosland moved into the crowd to stop the beating while another officer sprayed a chemical irritant. Both were on duty and in uniform.
As they tried to stop the assault, they heard four gunshots. Grosland was struck in the ankle by a bullet and fell. He can no longer walk a beat and faces potential necrosis in the foot because of poor circulation caused by the injury.
Another man was hit in the buttocks and lost part of his colon. Neither man appeared at sentencing.
Koch called Anderson's actions brazen, callous and arrogant. He noted that when the fight occurred, Anderson went to a car and got his gun.
"You put yourself above the law and took matters into your own hands," Koch said. "You could have fled. You could have stepped out of sight. Instead you chose to come back with a gun."
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Anderson "deserves every one of those 312 months" in his sentence. (He could be released with good behavior after about 17 years.)
Freeman said as a convicted felon, Anderson should have known better than to run around with a gun. "This is a gangbanger, not a nice human being," Freeman said.
Defense lawyer Earl Gray and Anderson's family members declined to comment as they left court. One woman shouted, "I love you," to Anderson as he was led from the courtroom by deputies.
Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747