A Minnesota man has been sentenced to 15 years behind bars for a 2015 shooting that left five Black Lives Matter protesters severely injured.
Hennepin County Judge Hilary Lindell Caligiuri sentenced Allen Scarsella on Wednesday, April 26, giving him 15 years out of a possible 20-year maximum. Scarsella, who’s been sitting in county jail for the past 18 months, was convicted on 12 felony counts of assault and riot back in February, CBS Minnesota reported.
The shooting happened just outside the of Minneapolis’ 4th Precinct police station, where a protest in response to the shooting death of 24-year-old Jamar Clark by police was taking place. Scarcella, 25, and a few of his friends got into a heated argument with some of the demonstrators, after which the gunman opened fire on five unarmed Black men.
Prosecutors detailed the severity of the victims’ injuries in court Wednesday, as they sought the maximum penalty against Scarsella. Cameron Clark, cousin of the late Jamar Clark, was shot two times in the foot and leg, while another victim, Teven King, was shot in the stomach and almost died after losing three liters of blood. Wesley Martin was struck in the leg, Walter Hoskins took two bullets in the back and femur, and Draper Larkins was shot in the arm, the Minnesota StarTribune reported.
Scarsella’s attorney’s asked for probation, which the judge ultimately refused. The gunman later addressed Caligiuri himself, appearing somewhat remorseful and saying he recognized “the severity of the events” that night.
“The fact that others were injured because of something I did weighs heavily on my heart every day,” he said. “The incident touched so many lives and everybody who was involved is now worse off for it.”
The judge was unmoved, however, adding that granting him probation would seriously understate the cruelty of his actions.
“You brought a loaded gun into a gathering of people of whom you expressed such contempt,” Caligiuri told the gunman, referring to a slew of racist text messages he sent to friends a year before the shooting. In one, Scarsella suggested a friend accompany him to target practice “for when we have to shoot black guys.” In another, sent to his girlfriend on the day of the shooting, Scarsella described the protesters as “smelly brown people.”
“You were not there as a person of goodwill,” the judge continued. “And it played out as anyone would have predicted. The only saving grace is that your shots did not kill their targets.”
Prosecutors argued that the shooting was racially motivated. Caligiuri seemingly agreed, commenting from the bench that she didn’t realize people “still held such racist, repugnant ideas as the ones expressed in your text messages.”
For Clark’s family, however, the 15-year sentence was much too lenient on account of all the pain and suffering Scarsella has caused.
“I can’t do a lot of things with my kids anymore, I can’t work,” Cameron Clark said. “I’m going to be living with this for the rest of my life.”
He went on to call the gunman’s remorse “fake” and blasted the judge and prosecutors for not bringing more serious charges (like premeditated murder) against Scarsella.
“A Black man cannot get justice,” said James Clark, Jamar Clark’s father.
Two other men were also charged with aiding Scarsella in the shooting, according to the StarTribune. Their cases remain open.