Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said his office will not be charging a bar owner who fatally shot a black protester Saturday night during protests in downtown Omaha, Nebraska.
Kleine, speaking at a news conference today, said that the decision to not charge the owner in the death of 22-year-old James Scurlock came after a review of several videos of the incident.
"When we viewed the evidence — myself, my chief deputy — we viewed it with all the homicide detectives that that were involved in this case and the command staff of the Omaha Police Department," Kleine said.
"There wasn't any big disagreement with regard to about what happened here as far as this being something that led to self-defense and the use of deadly force," Kleine added.
The incident, which occurred outside a bar called The Gatsby at around 11 p.m., began when protesters pushed the bar owner's father to the ground, Kleine explained.
The owner, who was armed with a handgun, proceeded to intervene. A scuffle with a group of protesters ensued and the owner ended up firing several shots, one of which struck Scurlock in the clavicle, killing him, Kleine said.
"I certainly wish that none of this would have happened," Kleine said. "It's a senseless death."
The incident gained attention on social media with major figures like actress Gabrielle Union and gun control activist Shannon Watts tweeting about it.
Nebraska State Sen. Justin Wayne demanded that Kleine "charge [the owner] with the senseless murder of James Spurlock" in a tweet last night.
However, today, Kleine noted his frustration with these comments and pointed to the video evidence as being key to his decision.
"Statements that are made without foundation or knowledge about the case are irresponsible — they're reckless," he said.
"We have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it's not self-defense," Kleine explained.
"The officers that were involved in the investigation said we don't think there's any way we can move forward at this point," he added.
Kleine also pointed out that "there isn't any audio that we have that shows any racial slurs" and, after reviewing the evidence, he doesn't feel that the owner was "somebody who walked out and was trying to hunt down somebody."