Jake Gardner, an Omaha bar owner, has been indicted by a grand jury for the fatal shooting of James Scurlock, a 22-year-old Black man.
According to CNN, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine had previously decided not to bring charges against Gardner, who claimed he was acting in self-defense. Days later however, Kleine petitioned for a grand jury to review his decision.
Gardner is accused of fatally shooting Scurlock during a fight with several people on May 30 in Omaha, Nebraska, amid protests related to the police killing of George Floyd.
The Omaha Police Department continued its investigation of the shooting beyond Kleine’s initial decision to not seek charges.
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On Tuesday (September 15), Special Prosecutor Frederick Franklin told reporters that Gardner was charged with manslaughter, the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, attempted first degree assault and terroristic threats.
KETV reports that more than 60 interviews were conducted by the Omaha Police Department while evidence was taken from cell phones, video footage via social media, and more. The additional information presented to the grand jury was more than Kleine had when he initially decided not to bring charges. Kleine’s office says he now supports the charges that were brought forth.
Prosecutors say Gardner’s father asked protesters outside of Gatsby bar to leave and pushed one of them. An unidentified man can then be seen pushing Gardner’s father back. That’s when Gardner intervened.
Scurlock was not part of the group involved in the scuffle, family attorney Justin Wayne said.
Gardner reportedly had a handgun tucked in his waistband and lifted his shirt to show it during his confrontation with protesters. Two people then jumped on Gardner’s back, and he fired two warning shots.
Authorities say Scurlock subsequently jumped into the situation, and according to Gardner, he was put in a chokehold and begged for Scurlock to get off of him. Gardner then shot Scurlock in the clavicle, killing him.
Attorney Wayne, however, says Scurlock was trying to protect a family member and friend.
“I surely believe none of this would have happened if the bar owner’s father didn’t put his hands on a young individual ahead of time,” he said.