Scarsella, 23, is facing assault charges for shooting five Black Lives Matter protesters on November 23, 2015. The peaceful protests were in demonstrating in response to the death of Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man killed by police.
— Lorena de la Cuesta (@LorenadlaCuesta) November 24, 2015
Days before the shooting, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis posted a livestream video showing two men dressed in camouflage and masks driving to the ongoing protests, making racial slurs and referring to protesters as “dindu,” an abbreviation of “dindunuffin,” a racist Internet meme insulting African Americans.
One of the men shows off a pistol, saying they were going to the protests “for a little reverse cultural enriching.”
VIDEO: Last night 2 white supremacists, one carrying a pistol, showed up to our peaceful protest at the 4th precinct.After community members on livestream started questioning them they left without incident, then we later found a video of them en route to the protest brandishing a pistol and making comments including “stay white” and justifying the killing of Jamar Clark.It has come to our attention that members of this group plan on returning tonight to our candlelight vigil at 4:30, some may come armed. [See: http://pastebin.com/FkA1B2rq]They say they will be wearing the "4 of clubs" to identify one another, so watch for this badge or patch on their clothing.In the era of white supremacist terrorism against people of color across the U.S., we refuse to be intimidated by hate groups. We call on our supporters to join us tonight to continue to demand #Justice4Jamar and an end to violence against our community, whether by white supremacist citizens, or white supremacist Police like MPD union president Bob Kroll.
Posted by Black Lives Matter Minneapolis on Friday, November 20, 2015
The two in the video were identified as Scarsella and Julio Sanchez, who did not attend the protests the night of the shooting.
According to the search warrant for Scarsella, Mankato police officer Brett Levin contacted the Minneapolis Police Department hours before any news on the shooting had been reported. Levin told police that Scarsella had called him after the shooting, and admitted that he was the shooter twice in a five-minute phone call.
Levin was friends with Scarsella since high school, and Levin told police he knew Scarsella owned a .45 caliber handgun. The search warrant says that eight guns were recovered, along with “evidence of hate crimes or white supremacy paraphernalia.”
On Tuesday, Levin also testified that he and Scarsella often exchanged “racially charged” text messages that were “negative about black people.” When asked if he had ever replied with similar text messages, Levin replied “Yes, I have.”
Levin justified the text messages, claiming that, “How we were talking was more along the lines of locker room talk,” according to the Star Tribune.
Levin was not asked to describe the content of the racists messages with #Scarsella. He described them as "locker room talk."
— Brandon Stahl (@b_stahl) January 24, 2017
Levin has not given specific descriptions of the content of those messages, nor has he given any comment on what those messages might entail.
@BurnsvillePD gosh, I don't know about everyone else but I'd sure like to see what racist officer Levin said to racist shooter Scarsella.
— Ugh, America. (@KearneyQ) January 24, 2017
Scarsella is currently arguing that he shot the men in self-defense after a group of protesters rushed him, to which Levin testified in agreement.
“I believe he told me … that one of his friends pushed him down as the protesters caught up to them,” Levin testified, according to the Star Tribune. “One of the protesters pulled out a knife and that’s when Lance pulled out his gun and shot.”
On Wednesday, testimony and videos that Scarsella livestreamed were shown to a jury, none of whom are African-American.
“How can it be self-defense when those guys had guns, and my grandson and his friends, they didn’t have guns they were just walking – going about their business,” James Clark, the father of Jamar Clark and grandfather of one of the victims of the shootings, told KARE.
— RT America (@RT_America) March 17, 2015