A Hennepin County judge ordered a pair of defendants charged with involvement in the shooting of five Black Lives Matter protesters to turn over DNA samples to prosecutors, rejecting their arguments that it was unnecessary because neither was the triggerman.
Brief, separate hearings were held for Daniel Macey, 26, of Pine City, and Joseph Backman, 27, of Eagan.
Macey’s lawyer, Ryan Garry, said that although Macey is charged with second-degree riot while armed, he is not charged with shooting at the protesters.
Assistant County Attorney Judith Hawley countered that the sample was necessary to compare DNA on the firearm used in the shooting of the five black protesters at an encampment at a north Minneapolis police precinct.
During Backman’s hearing, his attorney, Alex DeMarco, argued that providing the DNA sample “doesn’t seem relevant to this case.” “The weapon does not belong to my client,” DeMarco said.
Judge Hilary Lindell Caligiuri ruled in favor of allowing the prosecution to take the samples. “I do find DNA a material aid,” to the case, she said during Macey’s hearing. In Backman’s hearing, she said the sample would help in getting to the “truth of this case.”
The two men are among four charged in connection with the Nov. 23 shootings, which heightened an already-tense racial atmosphere at the encampment.
The protest followed the Nov. 15 death of Jamar Clark, 24, an unarmed black man fatally shot by police during a struggle.
The alleged shooter in the Nov. 23 incident, Allen Scarsella, 23, of Lakeville, is charged with first-degree assault and remains jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail.