Posted on June 3, 2020

A White Bar Owner in Omaha Shot and Killed a Black Protester. He Won’t Face Charges.

Sophie Lewis, CBS News, June 2, 2020

During protests in Omaha, Nebraska over the weekend, a black activist was shot and killed by a white bar owner after a fight broke out. The county attorney said the shooter will not face charges because he was “defending himself.”

James Scurlock, 22, was killed by Jacob Gardner, the owner of the Hive Bar and Gatsby Bar in Omaha’s Old Market neighborhood around midnight Saturday in the midst of protests against police brutality and George Floyd‘s death.

The Douglas County Attorney’s Office determined Gardner acted in self-defense after interviewing the shooter and reviewing videos of the incident.

“There was a consensus… that the actions of the shooter were justified,” County Attorney Don Kleine said during a briefing Monday. “There wasn’t any big disagreement about what happened here.”

According to prosecutors, the incident followed an altercation involving Gardner’s father, who pushed several protesters when asking them to leave the bar.

A grainy surveillance video of the shooting, played during the briefing, shows that Gardner backed up and pointed a gun after two people tackled him in the street. He initially fired two shots into the air that did not hit anyone.

After Scurlock jumped on his back, Gardner can be heard saying “get off me” many times before fatally shooting Scurlock once in the clavicle, Kleine said. Scurlock was taken to a local hospital where he died from his injuries.

“Mr. Gardner, as we know now, has said, ‘I did what I did to defend myself,’ and we find that we can’t disprove that from the evidence that we have,” Kleine said. In response to outrage on social media, Kleine added that there was not any “racial tone” to the conversations between Scurlock and Gardner.

Gardner was taken into police custody and released Sunday. Prosecutors say he has an expired concealed carry permit.