When five protesters were shot at a peaceful demonstration organized by Black Lives Matter and the NAACP in Minneapolis on November 24, the perpetrators were quickly identified with white supremacist views and organizations. Yet Hennepin County declined to charge them with hate crimes. The lead gunman, 23-year-old Allen “Lance” Scarsella, has been released on bail, despite video evidence created by Scarsella and his associates showing Scarsella using racial slurs and threatening to “cause commotion” at the protest.
Vice Magazine suggests that the shooter may also be part of the Sovereign Citizen movement, an anti-government movement that frequently also attracts white supremacists. Heavy.com reports that Scarsella’s Facebook profile photo is the Bonnie Blue Flag, which is associated with the Confederacy. His friends Nathan Gustavsson and Daniel Macey, and a fourth man, Joseph Backman, were charged with second degree riot while armed. “A group of white supremacists showed up at the protest, as they have done most nights,” Miski Noor, a spokesperson for Black Lives Matter, told the StarTribune.
The protest, staged in front of the 4th precinct police station in North Minneapolis, followed the fatal shooting of Jamar Clark, a black man who witnesses say was handcuffed and laying down at the time he was shot in the head by police on November 15. Police dispute these details. The protest took the form of a peaceful encampment that lasted until December 3, when the Minneapolis police department forcibly cleared the protest.
Protesters say Scarsella and his accomplices should face more serious charges, including attempted murder, domestic terrorism and federal hate crime charges. “We just feel like this is more evidence that the system does not work for black people to bring people that hurt us to justice,” Lena K. Gardner of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis told CBS Minnesota. “It fails us at every turn.”
In addition, many protesters claim that police failed to respond for 15-20 minutes to the shooting that took place in front of their station, and they are
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