Scarsella will have to spend about 10 of those 15 years behind bars before he is released from prison. The 25-year-old Bloomington man was convicted in February on assault and riot charges for shooting the five men at a Black Lives Matter protest encampment outside a north Minneapolis police station following the fatal police shooting of a black man, Jamar Clark, in 2015. "I can't provide for my family", shooting victim Cameron Clark told Judge Hilary Caligiuri prior to the sentencing as Scarsella sat nearby in a jail-issued orange jumpsuit.
Scarsella had testified that he was not sympathetic to the protesters. "I'll live with the consequences the rest of my life".
Under questioning by his attorney during the trial, Scarsella said he shot in self-defense, arguing that his life was in danger from the oncoming protesters. He called the crime, "five unarmed black men gunned down in what can only be described as a mass shooting" by a man whose numerous racist texts to friends made his motivations clear to the jury.
Allen Scarsella's sentence Wednesday was short of the prosecution's request for 20 years. "That is something he feels deeply sorry about", she said. The pursuit stopped, but then several protesters said they heard someone from Scarsella's group shout the N-word. 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".
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The hearing and the aftermath highlighted how emotions remain raw over Clark's death.
Clark had been shot and killed in a struggle with police. "If black people shot white people, they would get first-degree murder, second-degree murder".
"We are pleased with the sentence handed down today by Judge Caligiuri", Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman (no relation) said after the Wednesday sentencing. Freeman a year ago decided not to charge the white officers involved in the killing of Jamar Clark.
Just before that, Cameron Clark, who suffered two bullet wounds while trying to run away from Scarsella, said he can no longer work because of the pain in his legs and he cannot stand for long periods.