The family of a black man killed by a white bar owner during protests in Omaha, Nebraska, said a prosecutor rushed to judgment by declaring the shooting an act of self-defense.
On Monday, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said that after viewing videos of the incident with police officials and homicide detectives, he decided not to charge Jake Gardner in Saturday night’s death of James Scurlock.
While Kleine called the death “senseless,” he said he followed the law. “It can’t be based on emotions. It can’t be based on anger. It can’t be based on any of those things,” he said.
But attorney Justin Wayne, who represents the Scurlock family, said the 22-year-old should not have been shot during a scuffle on Saturday night, and that the case should go to a grand jury.
“I would like to see my day in court,” said Scurlock’s father, James Scurlock II.
What happened: Two videos depict scenes from the incident. As described by prosecutors, Gardner’s father asked demonstrators outside the Gatsby bar to leave and pushed one protester.
An unidentified man can be seen pushing the elder Gardner back, and the son intervened. Wayne claims Scurlock was not part of that group.
Jake Gardner had a handgun tucked in his waistband and lifted his shirt to show it during his confrontation with protesters, Kleine said of one video.
Two people jumped on Gardner’s back and he fired two warning shots, the county attorney said. Within moments, Scurlock jumped into the fray, according to authorities.
Gardner told police he was put in a chokehold and he begged for the assailant to get off of him, Kleine told reporters.
That’s when Scurlock was shot in the clavicle and killed.
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