FARGO — A Fargo man faces multiple felony charges after allegedly telling police he threw rocks at officers during the May 30 downtown riot because he thought their use of tear gas and rubber bullets was unjustified.
Cass County prosecutors filed three Class B felony charges on Friday, July 31, against Khafo Dany Lahai, born in 2002. He faces two counts of conspiracy to commit criminal mischief and one count of arming rioters while possessing a firearm. Each carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison.
He also was charged with Class A misdemeanors of engaging in a riot and disobeying public safety orders under riot conditions.
Police allege Lahai threw rocks at the windows of JL Beers and the Hotel Donaldson, as well as police.
"Lahai explained he did this because he was angry at police for using tear gas and rubber bullets, which he thought were unjustified uses of force," the complaint said.
Lahai said he was "remorseful and admitted what he had done was foolish," the document said.
The Fargo Police Department used tear gas and what it called less-than-lethal munitions to disperse a crowd in downtown Fargo in response to a May 30 protest turning violent. People were seen jumping on police cars while officers sat inside. Others threw objects at law enforcement.
After several warnings, police deployed tear gas. Several officers were injured, and businesses were damaged.
The Fargo Police Department denied using rubber bullets, instead calling them less-than-lethal 40mm munitions. The launchers typically have foam or sponge tips.
OneFargo, a group calling for police reform in the area, claims officers escalated the situation from a peaceful protest to a violent riot. The group pointed to former Deputy Chief Todd Osmundson, who went undercover without authorization and yelled obscenities at officers like "f--- the cops."
That, and a driver who is accused of hitting a protester with his vehicle in West Fargo, incited protesters to riot, OneFargo said.
Leaders of the organization have called on prosecutors to dismiss all charges against protesters, including a federal case against 30-year-old Errick Steven Toa of Fargo. About 20 people are facing prosecution in Cass County District Court.
So far, Toa is the lone defendant in federal court. It is possible others could face federal charges, U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley said.