Minneapolis, MN – On Wednesday, July 6th, 2016, Allen “Lance” Scarsella appeared in court for a bail hearing for shooting 5 unarmed Black men at a protest against the police’s execution of Jamar Clark in November of 2015. The motion to reduce his bail was denied by Hennepin County District Judge Hilary Caligiuri.
For more detailed information on this case, please read Hiding Hate Crimes: Prosecutor Goes Easy on Attempted Murderers
Below is a video of the ‘Timeline of Attack’:
Scarsella, who appeared in an orange Hennepin County jumpsuit with glasses and a freshly shaven face, has remained in jail since November 24th with a bail of $500,000.
He faces five charges of 1st degree assault, which has been upgraded in seriousness since his original charge of 2nd degree assault, as well as one charge of riot in the 2nd degree while armed with a weapon.
In a highly tense courtroom filled with three of the victims and supporters, six sheriffs deputies faced the public as the judge ordered no phones, no reactions, and no leaving the courtroom while there were arguments being made.
Of the thirty-four available seats, a few were taken by press and Scarsella’s family, a few by Hennepin County Attorney’s office employees, and the majority by supporters of the victims, so many of whom attended that dozens were unable to enter the packed courtroom.
During the bail hearing, Scarsella’s attorneys provided many reasons for why they believed their client should have his bail reduced.
It was stated that for the time that Scarsella has been in custody, he has been in segregation, meaning that he is not with the general population of prisoners. His attorney argued that because he has been spending his time in segregation, Scarsella should have the ability to have a reduced bail.
The State attorney chided Scarsella’s attorneys, saying that the State has records proving that Scarsella had been offered placement in general population but that he denied it, saying his attorney had ‘told him not to’.
Most people in segregation are there for reasons of safety, for example those that are states’ witnesses or those who have done things that got them in jail or while in jail that puts there safety at risk.
Scarsella’s defense stated that they are now at the point where they have seen enough evidence and believe that he should be “presumed not guilty“.
“He has not done anything to threaten anyone.” – Peter Martin, Scarsella’s Attorney
The defense said that he is not a flight risk, asking many times for conditional bail along with HUBER (work release) or home monitoring. They brought up that he lives with his parents and that his family wants him home. They also stated that Scarsella “has not done anything to threaten anyone” yet his family has been economically devastated when his mother, after her son shot the five protesters last November, decided to cease running her day-care business out of her home, for fear of the children’s safety.
“He’s a bedrock of his community.” – Peter Martin, Scarsella’s Attorney
It was stated that Scarsella is “a bedrock of his community” because he was an Eagle Scout and is involved in the Lakeville community in which his parents live. It was later revealed by the state that he received an appointment to West Point at some time in his past and lost his appointment for disciplinary reasons because of the misuse of a non-fire-powder weapon.
Scarsella’s attorney opined that the high cost of bail “will just line the pockets of the court system” and that he wouldn’t have the funds to try to elude his next court date. The attorney also brought up that the bail was lower for the other three co-defendants, Daniel Macey, Joseph Backman and Nathan Gustavsson, and that they have been bailed out. He noted that Scarsella’s family does not have the money to bail him out; Scarsella’s family was present and were escorted out of the court by sheriffs deputies at the conclusion of the hearing.
Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Judith Hawley responded to all of the points brought forth by the defense, first stating that the circumstances haven’t changed since the last bail reduction hearing on December 15th.
When speaking of the credibility of the defense, state attorney Hawley said:
“This defendant has made no statements to the police and no other law enforcement in which he claims self-defense.” – Attorney Judith Hawley
When speaking about the prosecutions view of the case, Ms. Hawley stated:
“He [Allen Scarsella] armed himself. He went to what we can describe a racially motivated protest, a protest of individuals challenging the death of Jamar Clark at the hands of the police some weeks before that. A large number, although not all the protesters were African Americans…there were a lot of Black people protesting outside the fourth precinct. He went there armed after making inflammatory and racist statements. He did a prior run the Thursday before with an individual, and before they did that, they made a video in which racist statements were made and his cohort in the vehicle said, ‘now let’s stay white’.“
She also stated that the state knows text messages were sent among friends discussing causing a disruption at the protest; that Scarsella shot 8 rounds from a .45 caliber into a crowd with no warning, or shooting in the air; that he fled the scene, didn’t turn himself in, and contacted friends to get rid of his gun. The above two attorney statements demonstrate premeditation on the part of Scarsella, not self-defense.
Around this time, about thirty minutes into the hearing, Scarsella, who had remained standing still facing the judge, chuckled and shook his head.
Ms. Hawley dug into the felony point total that his charges would result in, adding that because there were five victims who he shot, that his point total is actually 63, not the 15 that Scarsella’s defense was stating it should be.
After a few more back and forth statements the Judge gave her ruling:
“I have considered everything…based on the information in front of me…I do find the bail previously set in this case of $500,000 with certain conditions…all those pieces are still appropriate and necessary to address [community safety and flight risk] and so having considered all of this, I’m going to have to deny the motion to have bail reduced.” – Judge Caligiuri
After the judge finished the hearing, Scarsella was escorted out amidst a chorus of snickering remarks, including a loud “go back and rot“, which the judge angrily reprimanded.
Scarsella has another court appearance scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on July 19th, 2016.
Scarsella Trial Reportbacks & Coverage of Shooting at 4th Precinct:
- White Supremacists Shoot Five Protesters and MPD Attacks #Justice4Jamar Crowd - Nov 24, 2015
- “Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes”: White Supremacists Arrested for Shootings - Nov 26, 2015
- #Justice4Jamar Assailants Net Minor Charges; Camp Braces for Police Action - Nov 30, 2015
- Hiding Hate Crimes: Prosecutor Goes Easy on Attempted Murderers - Mar 15, 2016
- Bail Motion Denied for White Supremacist 4th Precinct Shooter - July 6, 2016
- Reportbacks From the Scarsella Trial (Ten Part Series) - May 1, 2017
- Scarsella Trial – Part One: Jury Selection, Unicorn Riot Subpoenaed, Opening Statements - Jan 27, 2017
- Scarsella Trial – Part Two: “In hindsight it was very stupid” - Feb 4, 2017
- Scarsella Trial – Part Three: Jury Sees Videos Around Mass Shooting - Mar 4, 2017
- Scarsella Trial – Part Four: Shooting Victims Testify - Mar 8, 2017
- Scarsella Trial – Part Five: Cell Phone Extraction Shows Scarsella’s Hardened Racism - Mar 13, 2017
- Scarsella Trial: Part Six – Defense Attempts to Discredit Protesters Using Police Videos - Apr 12, 2017
- Scarsella Trial – Part Seven: Co-Defendant Waives his 5th, Testifies for White Supremacist - Apr 25, 2017
- Scarsella Trial – Part Eight: Scarsella Takes Stand, Admits Shooting, Claims Self-Defense - Apr 26, 2017
- Scarsella Trial – Part Nine: Defense Rests & Closing Statements - Apr 26, 2017
- Scarsella Trial – Part Ten: Scarsella Guilty of 12 Felonies, Sentenced to 15 Years - Apr 27, 2017