MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Sentences of years of probation and some jail time came down this week on the final two men who pleaded guilty in connection to the 2015 shooting of Black Lives Matter protesters during the 18-day occupation of a north Minneapolis police station.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says that 23-year-old Nathan Wayne Gustavsson and 28-year-old Joseph Backman were both sentenced Wednesday for their roles in the November 2015 shooting that injured five people outside Minneapolis’ Fourth Precinct. The victims were protesters demonstrating against the fatal police shooting of Jamar Clark.

Joseph Backman (L)
and Nathan Gustavsson (R) (credit: Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office)

Judge Hilary Caligiuri sentenced Gustavsson, who pleaded guilty to second-degree riot and aiding an offender in at the scene of the shooting, to 10 years of probation, a stay of imposition and eight months in the county workhouse, the county attorney’s office said. He will not be legally able to touch a gun for the rest of his life.

The stay of imposition means that if Gustavsson completes his decade of probation without violating conditions, he can have his felony counts reduced to misdemeanors. However, if he does violate his probation, he could face a harsher sentence.

Gustavsson’s bail money will also go toward the victims, who didn’t give a statement at the sentencing this week but told officials they desired the “highest sentence possible” for Gustavsson and Backman, the county attorney’s office said.

Backman, who wasn’t present during the shooting but drove the shooter, Allen “Lance” Scarsella, away, pleaded guilty to aiding an offender after the fact.

Caligiuri sentenced Backman on a gross misdemeanor to two years of probation and 90 days in the workhouse, which he was allowed to serve under electric home monitoring, the county attorney’s office said.

In February, Scarsella was found guilty of 12 felony counts, ranging from assault to rioting, in the shooting that injured five protesters. Prosecutors argued that the shooting was racially motivated, as videos of Scarsella going to the Fourth Precinct show him using racially charged language.

Scarsella, 23, was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

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