In November 2015, an alleged White supremacist shot five activists during a Black Lives Matter protest following the police shooting death of Jamar Clark. Yesterday (February 1), a jury found Allen “Lance” Scarsella guilty on 12 felony first-degree assault charges and one second-degree riot charge.
The StarTribune reports that Scarsella and his friends harassed protestors ahead of the shooting, livestreaming video on their way to the days-long action in which one held up a gun and said, “We are locked and load. We’re going to make the fire rise.” A few days later, Scarsella, Nathan Gustavsson, Daniel Macey and Joseph Backman returned to the protest in masks. When the protestors advanced on them and requested that they reveal their faces, Scarsella opened fire, shooting five people. They all survived their injuries. Scarsella claimed self defense.
The Hennepin County jury saw several texts that proved Scarsella’s racism, including one in which he asked a friend to join him for target practice “for when we have to shoot Black guys.”
Scarsella will be sentenced on March 10. The county attorney told press that he will seek the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Scarsella’s co-defendents were charged with second-degree riot and aiding an offender.