All Things Must Pass

During the 2015 protests around the Fourth precinct in North Minneapolis, there was a shooting incident. A group of four young white men got into a verbal tilt with a group of the protesters, which led to a chase through the streets of North Minneapolis. Then one of the quite guys, Alan Scarsella, drew his legally permitted handgun and fired, wounding one of the men and ending the chase.

We wrote about this back when it happened. On the one hand, one could argue the fear of death or great bodily harm was reasonable; Scarsella used exactly the effort needed to end the attack, and I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of anyone making a more reasonable effort to retreat.

On the other hand, he handled the post shooting process, and the optics that are so important to jurors, about as badly as possible, going into hiding from the police until they came and found him. and there was one other thing, which we will come back to below.

In the weeks following the shooting, the press lionized the shooting victim, Cameron Clark.

Who is, by the way, back in the news this week:

Cameron Clark was shot during a 2015 protest by a man named Allen Scarsella, who was being chased by protesters who were demonstrating after Clark’s cousin, Jamar Clark, was killed by police. Although Scarsella claimed self-defense, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison after a trial that largely hinged on his history of making racially insensitive remarks.

And there’s a note in there for Potential self-defense shooters; while a good lawyer could’ve potentially gotten the completely unrelated remarks suppressed from evidence, it would’ve been much easier had they not existed. As I tell people on social media I’ll start stressing about how they intend to treat burglars, “the first rule of armed self-defense as you never talk about armed self-defense”.

But we digress:

Following the shooting, Clark was uplifted by Minnesota media as a voice for racial justice. Now, he’s received a lengthy sentence of his own after he tried to murder his unborn child.

While the lionization was far from the most ridiculous I’ve seen coming from Twin Cities media – Clark was not an unsympathetic victim, profiler you left the whole “chasing people through the streets“ thing out of the story, and implausible as it seems, perhaps they learned some thing from the ridicule they suffered over this – perhaps the media should learn the real lesson; taking sides in these sorts of episodes never works well

7 thoughts on “All Things Must Pass

  1. Rumor has it there is a placard on the newsroom wall at the Strib which reads:

    Truth Sends The Wrong Message>

  2. I’m shocked, shocked, that a guy who was shot by a guy who was looking for trouble was himself trouble…..seriously, would we expect the person who decided to chase him to have been an 85 year old grandmother who marched with Dr. King and learned his lessons of noniolence?

    Greg, I think that poster is up at a LOT of newspapers. Well played.

  3. Maybe one of the lawyers can explain to me why evidence of racially insensitive language is admissible but evidence of prior felony arrests isn’t.

  4. Golfdoc, if there was an “upvote” option I’d just have done that instead of replying. But, yeah, I’d love to see that explained as well!

  5. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 10.19.21 (Evening Edition) : The Other McCain

  6. Golfdoc, I think it’s because the social media posts give a hint as to motive, but previous criminal history is pretty much guilt by association fallacy. It’s grating, but I think it’s the right decision.

    I can see (e.g. 3 strikes laws) some review of other convictions for the purpose of sentencing, but not conviction.

  7. 10/10 only Alpha News covers this, or maybe Minneapolis will make a statue of him and put it on the placid shores of Bde Mka Skum

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