Jamar Clark protest shooter trial: Prosecution rests, defense begins

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Allen Scarsella
Allen Scarsella
Hennepin County Sheriff's Office

Prosecutors on Thursday rested their case against Allen Scarsella, the man charged with shooting and injuring five men in November 2015 who were protesting the fatal police shooting of Jamar Clark.

Prosecutors called at least 29 witnesses, including the five men who were shot. Three witnesses testified Scarsella admitted opening fire at the protesters.

His attorneys say Scarsella fired in self-defense as protesters charged him and his friends. Their first witness was Minneapolis police officer Steven Jensen, who recorded video of activity in front of the 4th Precinct police station on the day and evening of the shooting. The footage, however, doesn't capture the shooting which occurred about a block away.

The recordings shown to jurors feature a group of four to five young African-American men yelling profanities at Jensen and other officers who were outside the building, but behind a metal security barrier. Dozens more protesters can be seen in the background walking and standing around on Plymouth Avenue, which runs right in front of the precinct.

Many of the men voice anger over the shooting death of Jamar Clark, who was killed about a week earlier by an officer from the precinct.

Defense attorneys say Scarsella and three other men were pushed and one of them punched by a group of protesters later that night, before Scarsella opened fire, wounding five of them.

Scarsella, 24, has pleaded not guilty to the seven felony counts he faces.

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