Prosecutors to decide Monday whether to charge men who shot unarmed Black Lives Matter protesters
Prosecutors must decide by noon on Monday whether to charge four men held by Minneapolis police in connection with the Nov. 23 wounding of five people protesting the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man.
A judge on Wednesday gave the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office until midday on Monday to make a decision on charges against Allen Lawrence Scarsella, 23; Joseph Martin Backman, 27; Nathan Wayne Gustavsson, 21; and Daniel Thomas Macey, 26.
Minneapolis police, who are working with the FBI, have said they are not seeking any more suspects in the shooting of the protesters, who were demonstrating outside a police station against the fatal shooting on Nov. 15 of Jamar Clark, 24.
Scarsella, Gustavsson and Backman are white, while Macey is Asian, police said. None of the wounds to the five Black Lives Matter demonstrators were life-threatening, police said.
Questions have been raised over whether Clark was handcuffed when he was shot, which police have denied. Clark died the next day from a gunshot wound to the head. The officers involved are on leave.
Clark was shot at a time of heightened debate in the United States over police use of lethal force, especially against black people. Over the past year, protests against killings of unarmed black men and women – some videotaped with phones or police cameras – have rocked a number of U.S. cities.
Demonstrators camped outside a Minneapolis police station since Clark’s shooting have said the shooting of the protesters a block away left them undeterred.
The Minneapolis Urban League and members of Clark’s family have urged an end to the police station vigil due to safety concerns, but not an end to protests or demands that authorities release videos related to Clark’s shooting.
Authorities have said there was no police dashboard or body camera video of the shooting. Investigators are reviewing video from security cameras in the area and witnesses’ cellphones, though they have said no one video captures the whole incident.
According to authorities, paramedics called for police help, reporting that a man was interfering with their attempts to aid an assault victim. They said Clark was a suspect in the assault and got in an altercation with officers before one shot him.
A police union representative has said Clark grabbed one officer’s gun, although the weapon remained in its holster.
(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)