Testimony beings in trial of man accused of shooting BLM protesters

-

It was the first day of testimony for the trial of Allen "Lance" Scarsella -- the man accused of shooting five black men at a Black Lives Matter protest outside the Minneapolis Police Department's Fourth Precinct in November 2015.

Scarsella is charged with first degree assault and rioting. 

The prosecution argues Scarsella wanted to make trouble at the protest, while Scarsella's lawyers say the shooting occurred out of self-defense.

First to the stand was Julio Suarez --- a friend of Scarsella who he met online through a weapons message board on a web site called 4Chan.

A few days before the shooting, the two men went to the protest and streamed video live to the site.

In one video, Lance Scarsella and Julio Suarez were in a car on their way to the protest - each with their faces covered by a mask or scarf. Suarez was holding a gun. While in the car, Suarez used derogatory language toward the protesters. He said they wanted to do "reverse cultural enriching" and ended the video with "stay white."

A 20-minute video, not released by the court to the media, showed the two walking around the protest. They commented "the fire is rising," which is a quote from the villain, Bane, in the movie the “Dark Knight Rises.”

Suarez said these phrases were memes or "internet jokes made for the 4Chan community." 

He wanted to say as many as he could on the videos for laughs adding  he had "no intention of instigating violence." But when the prosecuting attorney pressed him about the off-color jokes he agreed he was saying "provocative things." 

The defense team worked to prove the two men had no plan to be violent and their inflammatory remarks were a series of movie quotes and online jokes.

The grandfather of Jamar Clark, James Clark, says he thinks the videos were anything but humorous.

"They were going to do some damage," said Clark. "They were going to cause a problem or whatever. They were all loaded and ready to go and to me they shouldn’t have been there with guns."

The prosecution asked Suarez if he felt responsible for emboldening Scarsella the night they shot the videos, but he said no.

Suarez was not with Scarsella when the shooting happened, but saw him before and after.

Testimony is expected to continue into next week.


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in – includes advertiser stories