Two Twin Cities women are facing charges in Hennepin County following protests last week in which authorities say one shined a laser in an officer’s eyes and the other, who appears to be a Minneapolis pre-school teacher, kicked an officer in the groin.
Amina Talib Mussa McCaskill, 19, has been charged with one count of felony second-degree riot in the laser-pointing incident.
Thressa Isobel Johnson, 29, has been charged with gross misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree assault and obstructing the legal process in the other incident.
According to a report in the Star Tribune on the charges, Mussa McCaskill shined a laser “directly” into a Minneapolis police officer’s eyes on Wednesday while protesters were gathered on I-94 near Cedar Avenue.
The officer was wearing protective glasses and was not injured. He was able to identify Mussa McCaskill as the person who allegedly flashed the laser pointer in his eyes. A laser pointer was later found on Mussa McCaskill and she confessed to her actions, the charges said.
Over 640 people were cited for being a pedestrian on a freeway and public nuisance in the I-94 protest incident, according to a post by the Minnesota State Patrol the following day.
The Star Tribune reported that the charges against Johnson state that Minneapolis police responded to a large group of people in the 3100 block of Bryant Avenue South around 12:23 a.m. Wednesday.
Johnson was standing by a group of officers who were making arrests and was asked to cross the street, but allegedly refused to follow the orders. An officer tried to “escort” Johnson but she resisted.
“He felt she was going to strike him with her hands in the face area,” the charges said, noting that “he pushed her hands away from him, at which point, she kicked him in the groin area.”
Johnson was “taken to the ground” and arrested. Authorities claimed Johnson was yelling during the incident, which escalated the situation and “caused the riot situation to get worse.”
Johnson is listed as a “lead teacher” at Joyce Preschool’s Hiawatha campus in Minneapolis, which the school confirmed in a statement provided to Alpha News.
“Joyce Preschool is aware of the incident involving one of our teachers. The incident occurred outside of working hours and has no connection to Joyce Preschool. Our main concern, as always, is the wellbeing of all our staff, students, and families, and we will be working closely with our team over the coming days to learn more and determine next steps. For the upcoming week, the teacher involved will not be in the classroom, but we have not received concerned contact from any parents,” the school said in its statement.
Mussa McCaskill, of Golden Valley, was granted a public defender at her initial court appearance on Friday. Court records show that Mussa McCaskill was conditionally released on zero bail late Friday evening and is scheduled to make her next court appearance on Dec. 2.
Court records show that Johnson, of Minneapolis, posted $1,000 bond and was released from custody without conditions on Thursday. No attorney was listed for Johnson at the time of this report. Johnson’s first court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 19.
A group of Minnesota Democrats wrote to Gov. Tim Walz last week to express their frustration with the arrest of the freeway protesters, Alpha News reported.
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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.