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2 suspects face jail time and probation for role in 4th Precinct protest shooting

Five people were injured in the shooting, which happened during demonstrations following Jamar Clark's death.

Two of the people charged after protesters were shot outside Minneapolis' 4th Precinct police station are pleading guilty.

Nathan Wayne Gustavsson and Joseph Martin Backman were both accused of being involved in the Nov. 23, 2015 shooting. It came as demonstrators took over the streets outside the North Minneapolis precinct in the days following Jamar Clark's death.

Five people were shot in the attack, none of them died. The gunman, Allen Scarsella, was found guilty this February.

Now, Gustavsson and Backman are facing jail time for their roles.

The guilty pleas Monday

The 23-year-old Gustavsson pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree riot and aiding an offender/accomplice after the fact, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office said. The attorney's office wants between six and eight months of jail time for the Hermantown man, plus at least five years of probation.

Charges say he was with Scarsella during the shooting.

Backman, who is from Eagan, pleaded guilty only to aiding an offender/accomplice after the fact. The attorney's office is seeking up to 90 days in jail, plus two years of probation, for the 28-year-old.

According to the charges, he went to the 4th Precinct with the other suspects that night, but wasn't actually with Scarsella when the shooting happened. And when he heard gunshots, he called 911.

Both will be sentenced July 19.

A total of four people were initially charged in connection with the shooting.

As mentioned above, Scarsella – the gunman – was convicted earlier this year. He got 15 years in prison. The fourth suspect had charges against him dropped in late February.

One group argues against a plea deal

The group Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar had urged people to protest any plea deal, arguing the two were well aware of what was going on, and had planned to provoke people demonstrating at the precinct.

The criminal complaint notes a video uploaded to YouTube appears to feature Scarsella and another man on their way to the protest a few days before the shooting on Nov. 19, in which they make racist comments. The video ends with one of them saying, “Stay white.”

Investigators also found an email string on 4Chan in which the participants discussed going to the protest to “stir things up” and “cause commotion.”

The men were not charged with hate crimes, despite calls for it. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said prosecutors considered hate crime charges, but the ones they went with carried heftier sentences.

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