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An anti-Trump protester exchanged words with a crowd of Trump supporters on the Capitol steps on Saturday, March 4. (AP photo: Star Tribune)

Court moves forward on Capitol rally violence

Four of six counterprotesters are scheduled to appear in Ramsey County District Court on Sept. 13 to face misdemeanor charges stemming from a violent March 4 pro-Trump rally at the Capitol.

Two others also face misdemeanor counts, including the son of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential running mate Tim Kaine, and have court appearances slated for Sept. 26.

Two additional suspects were charged with felonies. One of those, Francis Thomas Sagermerek, 29, of St. Paul, pleaded guilty to a reduced gross misdemeanor charge of third-degree rioting using tear gas, originally charged as a felony. A second felony charge of using tear gas to immobilize a person was dropped.

Sagermerek is scheduled for sentencing before Ramsey County District Court Judge Richard Kyle, Jr., on Oct. 5.

The second man, Anton William Bueckert, 30, of Ontario, Canada, faces the same charges as Sagermerek, plus a felony count of interfering with a police officer and obstructing the legal process. An arrest warrant for Bueckert was issued on May 26, but he remains at large.

The misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor charges were brought by the office of St. Paul City Attorney Samuel J. Clark. John Choi’s Ramsey County Attorney’s office charged out the felonies.

At a May 26 press conference, Choi said that about 400 people attended a permitted rally at the Capitol on March 4 to support the president. The gathering attracted a number of counterprotesters, Choi said that day, and most were peaceful.

“Unfortunately, some of the protesters arrived prepared to cause problems,” Choi said at the press conference. “They were equipped with face and head coverings and goggles.”

The “unlawful group” tried to disrupt the rally by pushing and shoving people while descending the jammed staircase on the Capitol’s west wing toward the rotunda, where the permitted rally was taking place, Choi said.

Eventually, the group used smoke bombs, mace and fireworks to disrupt the gathering, Choi said. That created a dangerous and chaotic situation, he said.

Clark said the “the vast majority” of people attending the March 4 rally “did everything right that day.”

“From the beginning, this has never been about what anybody had to say at the Capitol on March 4,” Clark said at the press conference. “In my mind, this has always been about making sure that people who seek to express themselves peacefully can do so free from fear of violence. That should be a bright line for everyone.”

Felony suspects

In his statement of probable cause in the felony cases, Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Eric Zastrow describes the scene.

Most in attendance on both sides were peaceful, Zastrow indicates. Some—he gives the number at “more than 10”—wore face and head coverings and goggles.

At about 12:45 p.m., the sergeant writes, an unidentified state trooper monitoring the crowd on the staircase saw a man, later identified as Bueckert, spraying people with tear gas then running upstairs to the second floor. The trooper was unable to give chase because the stairs were packed with people.

About 30 seconds later, the trooper reported seeing Bueckert run back down the stairs, pushing through the crowd and punching people. The trooper grabbed the suspect and declared him under arrest, but Bueckert allegedly fought back and was only subdued with the help of a Capitol security officer. He was then placed under arrest.

Zastrow indicates that the trooper sustained a broken thumb in the scuffle, and that a number of people were sprayed with tear gas. Two of those had to be treated by paramedics.

Sagermerek, who is also charged with spraying people with mace on the Capitol stairs, was apparently not involved in a scuffle with police. He was identified only later as “the person with red hair spraying mace” when police analyzed photos after the rally.

“When people seek to prevent others who are peacefully assembled from making their voices heard it threatens the very foundation of our democracy,” Choi said at the May press conference.

Misdemeanor suspects

The most high-profile suspect in the case is Linwood “Woody” Kaine, a St. Paul native and son of U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, the former vice-presidential candidate. Kaine was among a group of counterprotesters dressed in black and concealing their identities, most of whom fled the Capitol on foot only to caught by police.

They were spotted near the light rail station on University Avenue near Rice Street. Police in uniform pulled a car in front of them, exited and told them they were under arrest. That’s when they fled.

Kaine, 25, was pushed by St. Paul Police Senior Commander Steven Frazer before he made any headway. He briefly resisted by “swinging his arms” and “bucking and flailing his arms and legs,” but he soon stopped resisting. But that landed him a gross misdemeanor count of obstructing the legal process, in addition to two misdemeanor counts of fleeing police and concealing his identity in a public space.

Shortly after his arrest, Sen. Kaine’s family issued a written statement: “We love that our three children have their own views and concerns about current political issues,” it said. “They fully understand the responsibility to express those concerns peacefully.”

His first appearance is scheduled for Sept. 26 before Ramsey County District Court Judge Gary Bastian.

Starr Antoinette Vann-Jackson, 21, of St. Paul (identified as Austin Marcus Jackson at the time of arrest), faces two gross misdemeanor counts of allegedly using both tear gas and a stun gun on demonstrators inside the Capitol. Vann-Jackson is also charged with gross misdemeanor third-degree riot. Vann-Jackson was arrested after being identified in photographs after the rally.

Vann-Jackson’s omnibus hearing is scheduled for Sept. 13 before Ramsey County District Court Judge DeAnne M. Hilgers.

The other four were charged with two identical misdemeanor counts of fleeing police on foot and concealing their identities in public. They include:

  • Glenn Frederick Kimball, 23, of Minneapolis. According to court documents, Kimball was apprehended by St. Paul Police Commander David Mathison after a Metro Transit bus driver refused to allow him to board. His pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Sept. 13 before Judge Hilgers.
  • Alexander Isaac Kimball, 26, of Minneapolis. Court documents indicate that Kimball—who was arrested under the name Isabell Kimball but who has since been granted a legal name change—faces one additional misdemeanor count of illegal possession of prohibit fireworks after allegedly being apprehended carrying a banned Roman candle. Someone inside the Capitol that day set off a smoke bomb, but the probable cause statement does not directly accuse Kimball. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Sept. 13 before Hilgers.
  • Jonathan Marc Adams, 27, of Minneapolis, was apprehended near the light rail station by St. Paul Police Officer Henry Price, who pursued Adams on horseback. His pre-trial appearance is scheduled in Hilgers’ courtroom on Sept. 13.

All three of those suspects are slated for jury trials sometime in the three weeks after Oct. 2.

  • Haley Marina Ryan, 24, was apprehended on foot by St. Paul Police Officer Michael McNeill. She is scheduled for arraignment on Sept. 26 in Bastian’s court. Her attorney was not available for an earlier date, according to court documents.

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