The white Nebraska bar owner who fatally shot a BLM protester in May was hit with a slew of charges today– more than a month after prosecutors deemed the killing was self-defense.
A grand jury indicted Jake Gardner, the owner of The Hive bar in Omaha, on manslaughter and a number of other charges in the May 30 shooting of unarmed 22-year-old James Scurlock.
Douglas County Lawyer Don Kleine initially declined to prosecute Gardner, deciding that he acted in self-defense, after evaluating video of the incident and witness declarations in the days after the shooting.
Kleine stated Scurlock got on Gardner’s back and began choking him after the bar owner fired off 2 cautioning shots in front of his organization during a night of disorderly protests over the May 25 passing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis cops.
However, Kleine asked the grand jury to take a look at the case after his choice was slammed, stating he desired individuals to have faith in the justice system. Critics had stated that Scurlock was just trying to stop Gardner from injuring anybody.
Special Prosecutor Frederick Franklin on Tuesday said the grand jury reviewed additional proof that Kleine didn’t have, including from Gardner’s phone and his Facebook Messenger account, along with video from inside his bar, that “was consistent with there being a deliberate killing.”
” I can inform you that there is evidence that undermines (claims of self-defense),” Franklin said. “Which evidence comes mainly from Jake Gardner himself.”
Gardner will now either turn himself in or he’ll undergo an arrest warrant, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
Franklin said he hoped the charges would not spark brand-new demonstrations in Omaha.
” This is not a time for celebration or enthusiasm. These are simply charges,” Franklin said. “Jake Gardner is a man presumed innocent as I stand here before you today.”