News from the County Attorney’s Office

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December 18, 2015


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Mike Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney 12-2013

Michael O. Freeman
Hennepin County Attorney
300 S. Sixth St.
Minneapolis, MN  55487
612-348-5550

citizeninfo@hennepin.us

www.hennepinattorney.org

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Additional charges to be filed in shooting of protesters at MPD 4th precinct

shooting banner

Mike Freeman has indicated that the County Attorney’s Office intends to file additional charges against Allen Lawrence Scarsella, 23, of Lakeville, one of the men accused in the shooting of five peaceful protesters outside the fourth precinct on November 23.

During a hearing to keep Scarsella’s bail at $500,000, Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Judith Hawley told Hennepin County District Court Judge Hilary Caligiuri that the bullet is lodged so close to 19-year-old shooting victim Tevin King’s arteries that it can’t be removed from his abdomen. As a result, Hawley said she will be filing a new charge of first-degree assault to replace the original second-degree assault.

In addition to the charges brought against Scarsella, Joseph Martin Backman, 27, of Eagan, Nathan Wayne Gustavsson, 22, of Hermantown and Daniel Thomas Macey, 26, of Pine City have each been charged with one count of second-degree riot-armed with a dangerous weapon.

“There is no doubt that the attack by the four was racially motivated,” Freeman said. “The defendants’ own statements, their videos, show that these are sick people. Maybe I shouldn’t say that, but the language they use, and what they say about fellow Americans, citizens, are just not acceptable.”

Freeman said the Minnesota hate crime law only moves a misdemeanor crime to a gross misdemeanor and a gross misdemeanor to a felony. The four men were not charged with that because the sentences for them, especially the suspected shooter, Scarsella, would be significantly longer for the riot and  assault charges.

Scarsella criminal complaint


Cleaning up blighted properties in pilot project

4100 Block of Dupont Ave N.

 In June, with the approval of the Hennepin County Housing & Redevelopment Authority, lawyers in our office went to work to cut the forfeiture time of nine tax-delinquent homes from three years to five weeks.

Mark Chapin, director of the Hennepin County Residential and Real Estate Services Division, said that county staff and Minneapolis regulatory employees identified these nine properties as “the worst of a bad bunch.” In fact, the photo shown here of the property in the 4000 block of Dupont Ave. N., is a prime example. The abandoned property sticks out like a cat at a dog show. All of the other homes on the block are in good condition.

In tax forfeiture, a property owner has stopped paying his or her property taxes. Hennepin County can begin the process of taking possession of the property, but under the law, the owners can have up to three years to redeem their property by paying the back taxes.

However, the county can take possession of tax-forfeited properties in just five weeks if it can be proved that an owner has abandoned the property.

Chapin praised Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman for allowing his staff to take the time to try something new. The pilot project has been deemed a success and Chapin will recommend that the Housing and Redevelopment Authority identify another 10 properties next year.