Two protesters arrested this week at demonstrations about the presidential election were charged with pointing a laser into an officer’s eyes and kicking another in the groin.
Amina T. Mussa McCaskill, 19, of Golden Valley, was charged Friday in Hennepin County District Court with one count of felony second-degree riot for the laser incident.
Thressa I. Johnson, 29, of Minneapolis, was charged Thursday in Hennepin County with one count each of fourth-degree assault and obstructing the legal process for the kicking incident. Both charges are gross misdemeanors.
The women could not be reached for comment Friday. The Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office represented Mussa McCaskill at her first court appearance Friday and declined to comment, noting that it’s unclear who will represent her moving forward.
Johnson did not have an attorney listed for her case. Her first court appearance is set for Nov. 19.
County jail records showed that as of late Friday, Mussa McCaskill was in custody and Johnson had been released from jail.
According to the charges against Mussa McCaskill: Police confronted a large number of protesters on Interstate 94 in Minneapolis on Wednesday.
Mussa McCaskill pointed a laser “directly” into a Minneapolis officer’s eyes as they stood in a line with other officers.
“Shining a laser into the eyes of officers has occurred at a number of protests around the country and is very dangerous to the officers,” the charges said. “Multiple officers in the United States have suffered significant damage to their vision as a result of being hit in the eyes with such a laser.”
The officer was wearing special safety glasses and was not injured. The officer identified Mussa McCaskill as the person who allegedly turned a laser on and off a few times.
A laser pointer was found on Mussa McCaskill, who admitted to her actions, the charges said.
More than 600 people were arrested after protesters blocked the interstate late Wednesday and early Thursday.
According to the charges against Johnson: Minneapolis police responded to a large group of people in the 3100 block of S. Bryant Av. about 12:23 a.m. Wednesday.
Johnson was standing near officers who were making arrests and was instructed to cross the street. She allegedly refused to follow an officer’s orders.
The officer tried to “escort” Johnson and she resisted, “at which point he felt she was going to strike him with her hands in the face area,” the charges said.
“He pushed her hands away from him, at which point, she kicked him in the groin area,” the complaint said.
Johnson was “taken to the ground” by another officer and arrested. Authorities allege that she had been yelling and caused several others to become hostile toward police, “escalating the situation,” according to the charges. “This was causing the riot situation to get worse.”
Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708 • @ChaoStrib