MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — He’s accused of shooting five black protesters outside the 4th Precinct in November 2015, and now Allen Scarsella is explaining to jurors why he did it.
Scarsella and three friends went to the police station where Black Lives Matter protesters were camped out after the police shooting of Jamar Clark. Scarsella claims he shot five men in self defense.
He took the stand on his own behalf, hoping to convince jurors, but it also opened him up to some blistering cross examination. For the first time, jurors got to see cell phone video taken by the defendant as he and three friends went to the 4th Precinct protest the night of Nov. 23. Soon, they were confronted by a growing group of protesters.
Scarsella recalled to the court, “I was really scared, I just wanted to leave.”
Police security video shows the four leaving the scene and being followed by a group of five to seven protesters. That’s where the defendant said his friend, Nate Gustavsson, was punched in the face and fell to the ground.
Scarsella yelled to stay back, and said he heard a few protesters shouting. He told jurors, “they thought we were the KKK, saying they wanted to beat [us up].”
He told the court one of the protesters told him, “white boy, you’re going to die.”
Scarsella then described a protester holding a shiny object in a threatening gesture. He told jurors he thought it was a knife. Within seconds, he pulled out his pistol and shot, striking the five men.
When his defense lawyer asked how he felt, Scarsella responded “I was mortified. I didn’t understand what had just happened.”
Prosecution then ripped into Scarsella, asking if his conceal-carry training taught him to avoid troublesome situations. Scarsella answered “Yes.”
Prosecutor Judith Hawley hammered away at his many racist text messages. In referring to his pistol, Scarsella said in one text, “Cool – the gun I’m getting is proven to kill black guys in a single shot.”
Scarsella was asked why he didn’t call 911 to report what had just happened. He claims he was in shock, and thought another friend, Joe Backman, said he made that call.
Final witnesses will take the stand Tuesday.