As riots still rage over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Black Lives Matter activists have identified a new victim to rally around: a black protester in Nebraska who was shot dead by a bar owner in apparent self-defense.
James Scurlock, 21, was fatally shot by Jake Gardner in Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday night. Video footage from the scene appears to show Gardner, a former US Marine, pull a gun on a crowd of suspected rioters, before shooting Scurlock, who attempted to tackle him.
Gardner had posted on social media about pulling “fire watch” at the bar to ward off looters, and was identified online by his own cousin, who called him a “white supremacist,” and published his name and phone number.
My white supremacist cousin antagonized and then fucking shot and killed a Black man who was protesting in Omaha last night.The murdered mans name was James Scurlock.white people this shit isnt some fringe white people bs. ITS US AND ITS OUR SHITTY FUCKING FAMILY MEMBERS.— JUNIPER MIDWEST NICE FITZGERALD (@juniperfitz) May 31, 2020
Gardner was taken into custody, but let go on Monday. According to Douglas County Attorney Donald Kleine, Gardner acted in self-defense and would not be charged.
Kleine told reporters that Gardner and his father had been attacked by the crowd outside the bar, with one pushing the father. Gardner showed the crowd his gun to ward them off, but Scurlock dove at him. Gardner, who Kleine said “thought they were trying to take his gun,” fired twice, killing the 21-year-old.
"This wasn't somebody who walked out and was trying to hunt somebody""This individual gave a statement that he thought he had to do it because he thought he was going to get hurt or killed"— Omaha Scanner (@omaha_scanner) June 1, 2020
“We know that emotions are running high right now. We understand this decision may not be popular,” Kleine said on Monday, but added that “this decision can't be based on emotions, anger, any of these things.”
Kleine also denied reports that Gardner hurled racial slurs at the crowd. He confirmed that Gardner’s concealed carry permit had expired at the time of the incident, but added that the prosecution was not planning to file charges stemming from that.
The decision left online activists furious, with the hashtag “JusticeForJamesScurlock” trending on Monday afternoon.
James Scurlock was murdered this weekend during a protest by a WHITE SUPREMACIST and they just announced that there wont be any charges against Jake Gardner. Please take a second to call these numbers and demand #JusticeForJamesScurlock !!!!!!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/potIXzHcrw— Jo (@leahyjordyn) June 1, 2020
The death of Scurlock, a father of one, it comes at a time of heightened racial tension in the US. The death of George Floyd, for which former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged, ignited a wave of violent riots in at least 75 cities across the US.
Further protests have been planned in Omaha following Kleine’s announcement.
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