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Nebraska bar owner who killed George Floyd protester hit with manslaughter charges

Nebraska bar owner who killed George Floyd protester hit with manslaughter charges

The white Nebraska bar owner who shot dead a black George Floyd protester in May was hit with a slew of charges this week — 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 several other charges in the May 30 shooting of unarmed 22-year-old James Scurlock.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine initially declined to prosecute Gardner, deciding that he acted in self-defense, after reviewing video of the incident and witness statements in the days after the shooting.

Kleine said Scurlock jumped on Gardner’s back and began choking him after the bar owner fired off two warning shots in front of his business during a night of chaotic protests over the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

However, Kleine asked the grand jury to take a look at the case after his decision was criticized, saying he wanted people to have faith in the justice system. Critics had said that Scurlock was just trying to stop Gardner from hurting anyone.

Special Prosecutor Frederick Franklin on Tuesday said the grand jury reviewed additional evidence 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 an intentional killing.”

“I can tell you that there is evidence that undermines (claims of self-defense),” Franklin said. “And that evidence comes primarily from Jake Gardner himself.”

Gardner will now either turn himself in or he’ll be subject to an arrest warrant, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

Franklin said he hoped the charges would not ignite new protests in Omaha.

“This is not a time for celebration or exuberance. These are simply charges,” Franklin said. “Jake Gardner is a man presumed innocent as I stand here before you right now.”

With Post wires

Published at Fri, 18 Sep 2020 02:32:50 +0000