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Man accused of throwing rocks in Fargo riot faces felony charges

Khafo Dany Lahai said he threw rocks at businesses and police because he was angry at officers "for using tear gas and rubber bullets, which he thought were unjustified uses of force," according to court documents.

Protesters and rioters where mixed throughout the crowds in downtown Fargo May 30..jpg
Rioters overturned dumpsters and threw rocks at police on First Avenue North on May 30 in downtown Fargo. C.S. Hagen / The Forum

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.

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"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."

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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.

Osmundson, who has resigned, has not been charged in connection to the riot. The North Dakota Attorney General's Office is investigating his conduct.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTSFARGO
April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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