Scarsella sentenced to 15 years in prison for shooting at Fourth Precinct

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Allen Scarsella was sentenced to 15 years in prison for shooting five African-American men at a demonstration near the Minneapolis Police Department Fourth District precinct.

“We are pleased with the sentence handed down today by Judge Caligiuri,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said after the Wednesday sentencing. “We did ask for 20 years. As I have said before, Mr. Scarsella’s behavior was absolutely unacceptable. He shot five people he had no reason to shoot.”

During the sentencing, Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Chris Freeman, no relation to the county attorney, said what Scarsella did on Nov. 23, 2015 can “only be called a racially motivated mass shooting.” The text messages introduced in the trial showed his thinking, including the idea that he could aggravate African-Americans into attacking him and then he could shoot them.

“He had been privately contemplating with his friends for months. In January, he purchased a weapon because it was ‘designed to kill brown people,’” Chris Freeman said, quoting from the text messages.

Chris Freeman added that Scarsella has shown only shallow remorse and in his pre-sentence investigation mentioned that one of the men had a club, something that no witness mentioned during the trial. Instead, “he is trying to perpetuate this self-defense myth, “ Freeman said and Scarsella should be sentenced to more than 20 years in prison, or 247 months.

Just before that, Cameron Clark, who suffered two bullet wounds while trying to run away from Scarsella, said he can no longer work because of the pain in his legs and he cannot stand for long periods. Clark is the cousin to Jamar Clark, who was shot by police on Nov. 15, 2015 and was the reason for the protests outside the fourth precinct.

Jamar Clark’s father, James, also gave a victim impact statement because Cameron is his grandson, said that if Scarsella was scared he should not have come to the protests.

“Right is right and wrong is wrong,” James Clark said. “If black people shot white people, they would get first-degree murder, second-degree murder. This world is a one-sided world against black people.”

Scarsella’s attorney told Hennepin County district Court Judge Hilary Caligiuri that because he had no criminal record and was sorry, he would be a good candidate for probation. If not, he should receive no more than 74 months in prison.

When it was his turn, Scarsella said he recognized his actions hurt people and he took responsibility for it, but if he were given probation, he would get a job and give back to the community.

Judge Caligiuri said she was surprised that a person “still held such repugnant ideas as in your texts.” Further, she pointed out that Scarsella bought a gun “and I don’t believe for a second that you wore a mask because you were cold.”

She handed down the sentence recommended by a probation officer who did the pre-sentence investigation for 182 months in prison and credit for the 520 days he has been in jail since his arrest.

During a news conference after the sentencing, County Attorney Mike Freeman pointed out that Scarsella was charged with the highest charge allowed given the available evidence. Indeed, when he and his co-defendants were charged in November 2015, the highest charge was second-degree assault. However, as more evidence came in, the charge was amended to first-degree assault. A jury found him guilty in February of 11 counts of assault and one of riot.

His co-defendants, Joseph Backman and Nathan Gustavsson, are scheduled for trial on June 19. The charges against Daniel Macey were dismissed by Judge Caligiuri over the county attorney’s objections.