A “White Supremacist” named Allen Scarsella, who shot five black men during the Black Lives Matter protest in 2015, is sentenced for more than 15 years in prison.
The protesters were shot during a Black Lives Matter protest in which they were demonstrating against the police killing Jamar Clark, reported by the Daily Mail. Jamar Clark’s death had resulted in weeks of protests on Minneapolis’ north side since November 15, 2015.
Scarsella had brought a 0.45-caliber handgun and fired at demonstrators, but luckily all of the victims survived the incident.
The Minnesota man, who has been living in the county jail for almost 18 months now, told the court that he would live with the consequences of his action for the rest of his life. However, he said he stopped just short of an apology for those wounded.
“The fact that others were injured because of something I did weighs heavily on my heart every day. The incident touched so many lives and everybody who was involved is now worse off for it.”
Scarsella, 25, was requested 20-year prison by the prosecution, but the court verdict on Wednesday was a few years less than what was asked. The prosecutors on the case presented evidence that Scarsella was motivated by racial hatred.
Defense lawyer Laura Heinrich argued that Scarsella was “naive” at that moment, and he didn’t know about the lives of the black community in north Minneapolis. She also claimed that her client’s mind was not fully developed as he was only 22-years-old at the time of the incident.
On the day when the incident took place, Scarsella, along with three other men, went near the camps of Black Lives Matter protests outside a police station in north Minneapolis to live stream the protests.
Scarsella, who had a license to carry a gun, brought a 0.45-caliber handgun and shot at black protesters in what his attorneys say was an act of self-defense.
However, the prosecutors pointed to a number of texts the convicted had sent to his friends about shooting the black people in the demonstration with an intention to throw the protest in disarray.
One of the victims of the crime, Cameron Clark, who is the cousin of the late Jamar Clark, said the injuries from the shooting has made his life difficult, both physically and emotionally.
“I can’t do a lot of things with my kids anymore, I can’t work. I’m going to be living with this for the rest of my life.”
Clark said the initial charges brought forward by the county against the convict should have been more severe. However, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman stressed that first-degree assault was the highest charge he could allow, considering the evidence against the convict. But Cameron said all of those claims were lies to make the judge have some sympathy for the accused.
Just a week before the verdict, Judge Hilary Caligiuri had denied the media’s request to have cameras in the courtroom, citing the video coverage would make the accused “a likely target for retribution.”
Scarsella said that he was afraid of being attacked while live streaming the Black Lives Matter protests on November 23, 2015. But, the judge agreed with prosecutors that his action was deeply racist, as evident by the messages he had sent to his friends before the incident.
Assistant County Attorney Chris Freeman, on Wednesday, typified the incident.
“Five unarmed black men [were] gunned down in what could only be called a racially motivated mass shooting.”
In her sentence, Judge Hilary Caligiuri said the following.
“You brought a loaded gun into a gathering of people of whom you expressed such contempt. You were not there as a person of good will. And it played out as anyone would have predicted. The only saving grace is that your shots did not kill their targets.”
[Featured Image by Minneapolis Police Department]