Charges were filed against four men accused of shooting multiple people near a protest for Jamar Clark.
Five protesters involved in demonstrations outside the Fourth Precinct were wounded in the shooting, which happened Nov. 23 near 14th Avenue and Morgan Avenue N., about one block from the police station.
Four people were charged with felonies Monday:
- Allen Scarsella, 23, of Lakeville, is charged with one count of second-degree riot and five counts of second-degree assault.
- Joseph Backman, 27, of Eagan, is charged with one count of second-degree riot.
- Daniel Macey, 26, of Pine City, is charged with one count of second-degree riot.
- Nathan Gustavsson, 21, of Hermantown, is charged with one count of second-degree riot.
The investigation is ongoing, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said at a news conference Monday. Freeman noted he is working with U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger to determine if further charges are warranted against the four men, or possibly others.
The men were not charged with a hate crime Monday, despite accusations they were "white supremacists." Freeman says they considered hate crime charges, but the charges announced Monday carry a heftier sentence, with Freeman noting "this is the most serious crime we can charge under the circumstances."
The men are expected to make their first court appearances Tuesday. Bail was set at $500,000 for Scarsella, while bail for the other three is set at $250,000.
Charges: Suspects went to livestream 'crowd reaction to their presence'
According to the criminal complaints:
After the shooting, investigators learned at least one suspect had "verbally sparred" with protesters outside the Fourth Precinct prior to the incident.
Surveillance video captured Scarsella and an acquaintance who was not charged (identified in the criminal complaint as J.S.) on Nov. 19. They wore camouflage and face masks. J.S. told officials they went there to film the protesters and made inappropriate comments to them, which "sparked anger between Black Lives Matter and his group and led to angry Internet posts on Reddit and 4Chan."
A video showing Scarsella and J.S. on their way to the protests Nov. 19 records them referring to African Americans in derogatory terms. They also say they are going to do some "reverse cultural enriching" and "make the fire rise."
J.S. told investigators he was aware Scarsella and three others, later identified as the three others charged, were going to the protest on Nov. 23 to "livestream the crowd reaction to their presence" and he knew they would be armed.
J.S. didn't go because he thought it would be dangerous. Scarsella called him after the shooting to tell him he shot five people.
Scarsella also called another person, who is a police officer outside of the Twin Cities, to report he had shot five people. The officer told investigators Scarsella has "very intense opinions" about being a sovereign citizen and pro-Constitution.
Scarsella was arrested Tuesday, Nov. 24 in Bloomington. Police said his cellphone had text messages between him, Backman and Gustavsson about setting up plans to go to the protest on Nov. 23.