A Lakeville man was found guilty of shooting five people at a protest days after Jamar Clark was killed.
Allen Scarsella, of Lakeville, was among four men charged in the Nov. 23, 2015, shooting outside the Minneapolis Police Department's Fourth Precinct, where protesters had been demonstrating following Clark's death.
And on Wednesday – after about seven hours of deliberations – a jury found Scarsella guilty of all 12 counts. That included first-degree assault and riot, in what Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman called a "racially motivated" attack.
During the trial, prosecutors said Scarsella and his friends went to the police station that night to mock the protesters before he shot and injured five of them, with prosecutors noting Scarsella used racist language on social media, and again in an incident captured on video.
Scarsella, however, testified he fired at the protesters in self defense when he saw someone pull out a weapon after they chased him and his friends, the Star Tribune reports.
In a statement Wednesday, Freeman said:
"We are pleased with the jury’s guilty verdict against Allen Scarsella today. As I said at the time we charged Mr. Scarsella and his companions, the racist language he used in the videos and on social media is just not acceptable and the actions he took as a result of those racist beliefs were heinous. The jury obviously saw it the same way.
"This office took a very strong stand against Mr. Scarsella. We charged him with the most serious possible charge that the evidence allowed. We argued successfully for a high bail. We argued again in later hearings not to reduce that bail. As a result, he has already been off the streets for 14 months. At his sentencing, we will be seeking the stiffest possible sentence to keep him confined even longer."
Scarsella's sentencing is scheduled for March 10.
Nekima Levy-Pounds, former president of the NAACP in Minneapolis and current mayoral candidate, said on Facebook she is " in awe that justice is being served on behalf of the five victims who were shot by this man."