Attorneys for three men accused in a shooting that wounded five black men during a protest outside of a Minneapolis police precinct denied Tuesday that their clients are racist and downplayed evidence.
A fourth man accused of firing the shots during the Nov. 23 attack didn’t speak at the court appearance. The bail hearing for Allen Scarsella, 23, of Lakeville, was postponed until next month at his attorney’s request.
The North Minneapolis precinct has been the site of protests headed by the local Black Lives Matter group since 24-year-old Jamar Clark was shot in a Nov. 15 confrontation with police. He died the next day.
A criminal complaint says the Nov. 23 shooting happened after some protesters tried to get the men to leave. Activists and court papers accuse the men of trying to disrupt the protest for racial reasons.
Attorneys for two men, Daniel Macey, 26, of Pine City, and Joseph Backman, 27, of Eagan, said their clients aren’t white supremacists.
“Mr. Macey is not a white supremacist. He is not a racist,” said Ryan Garry, the attorney for Macey, who is Asian. The other defendants are white.
An attorney for a third man, Nathan Gustavsson, 21, of Hermantown, said there’s no proof his client had a gun.
Prosecutor Judith Hawley said the charges are extremely serious and asked for high bail.
“There’s an immense public safety risk and danger that these defendants have shown in this case,” Hawley told the judge.
Hennepin County District Judge Hilary Lindell Caligiuri set bail for Scarsella, who faces five counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and one count of riot, at $500,000. She set bail for the other three, who also are charged with riot, at $250,000 each, but did allow conditional bail of $100,000 for Macey.
All four men are due back in court in January.
One of the five shooting victims, 18-year-old Wesley Martin of Minneapolis, attended the hearing. Martin was shot in the left knee and said his 19-year-old brother, Tevin King, is still in the hospital after being shot in the stomach.
Martin said he believes Scarsella “should have gotten charged with way more stuff,” but that he didn’t believe there was an intent of shooting to kill.
“He was shooting to make a point,” Martin said. “That basically black lives don’t matter.”