White Nebraska bar owner who shot dead a black man during BLM protests is charged with manslaughter months after the shooting was initially deemed self-defense

 A white Nebraska bar owner who shot dead a black man during a chaotic night of protests has now been charged with manslaughter months after the shooting was initially deemed self-defense.

Jake Gardner, an ex-Marine, was indicted by a grand jury this week for fatally shooting 22-year-old James Scurlock in Omaha back on May 30. 

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine had initially declined to file charges against Gardner, saying he had reviewed witness statements and video and believed the bar owner acted in self-defense. 

Kleine, who was slammed for overlooking Gardner's alleged racist history, asked the grand jury to review the case after he was heavily criticized. 

Special Prosecutor Frederick Franklin said the grand jury reviewed additional evidence that Kleine didn't have, including texts from Gardner's phone, messages on his Facebook profile and his interactions with bystanders before coming into contact with Spurlock. 

Bar owner Jake Gardner
James Scurlock

Jake Gardner (left), an ex-Marine, was indicted by a grand jury this week for fatally shooting 22-year-old James Scurlock (right) in Omaha back on May 30

He declined to provide specifics of what the new evidence shows except to say it undermines the self-defense theory. 

'There was significant evidence that was consistent with there being an intentional killing by Jake Gardner and that evidence comes primarily from him,' Franklin said. 

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine had initially declined to file charges against Gardner, saying the shooting was in self-defense

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine had initially declined to file charges against Gardner, saying the shooting was in self-defense

Gardner was also charged with attempted assault, making terroristic threats and using a gun to commit a felony. 

The shooting happened outside Gardner's bar as protests and civil unrest unfolded in Omaha and across the US in the wake of the May 25 death of George Floyd. 

Authorities have said Gardner shot Scurlock outside his downtown bar as he sought to ward off any theft or property damage.

Kleine later showed reporters some surveillance video that seemed to show Gardner, his father and protesters exchanging words before Gardner, flashing a gun, backed away. 

Gardner was shoved to the ground by two people before he fired two shots, sending people scrambling. Scurlock then jumped on Gardner's back and Gardner shot him. 

Surveillance video showed Gardner in a confrontation with BLM protesters outside his bar prior to the shooting. Gardner was shoved to the ground by two people before he fired two shots. Scurlock then jumped on Gardner's back and Gardner shot him

Surveillance video showed Gardner in a confrontation with BLM protesters outside his bar prior to the shooting. Gardner was shoved to the ground by two people before he fired two shots. Scurlock then jumped on Gardner's back and Gardner shot him

Scurlock (above) was fatally shot outside Gardner's bar as protests and civil unrest unfolded in Omaha and across the US in the wake of the May 25 death of George Floyd
Scurlock (above) was fatally shot outside Gardner's bar as protests and civil unrest unfolded in Omaha and across the US in the wake of the May 25 death of George Floyd

Scurlock (above) was fatally shot outside Gardner's bar as protests and civil unrest unfolded in Omaha and across the US in the wake of the May 25 death of George Floyd

While there was no audio with the video, Kleine said Gardner warned Scurlock to get off of him several times before he fired the fatal shot.

Critics of the initial investigation said Scurlock was trying to stop Gardner from hurting anyone.

Some witnesses initially said that Gardner had allegedly 'taunted' protesters and went out to the sidewalk yelling 'n****r lover'. 

Scurlock's death sparked protests across Omaha in the days after prosecutors initially declined to file charges. 

Franklin said he hopes the charges won't 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.' 

Just hours before the deadly clash, Gardner posted a status update on Facebook about protecting his business amid the unrest

Just hours before the deadly clash, Gardner posted a status update on Facebook about protecting his business amid the unrest

Scurlock's death sparked protests across Omaha in the days after prosecutors initially declined to file charges

Scurlock's death sparked protests across Omaha in the days after prosecutors initially declined to file charges

In the wake of the shooting, prosecutors were accused of turning a blind eye to the Gardner's alleged racist views and background.  

Court documents have shown that he has a past criminal record stretching back to the late 1990s, which includes multiple weapons-related charges, as well as arrests on counts of assault and battery.

In 2016, Gardner, who reportedly self-identifies as a Libertarian, sparked a controversy when he posted on Facebook that transgender women should not use the women's bathroom at his establishment, unless they have had their 'appendage' removed and their identification legally changed.

Just hours before the deadly clash, Gardner posted a status update on Facebook about protecting his business amid the unrest.

'Just when you think, 'what else could 2020 throw at me?' Then you have to pull 48 hours of military style firewatch,' Gardner wrote.

He is a retired Marine who served tours of duty in Iraq and Haiti between 2000-2004. 

Gardner has not spoken publicly about the shooting and deleted all of his social media accounts in the aftermath. 

White Nebraska bar owner who shot dead a black man during BLM protests is charged with manslaughter months after the shooting was initially deemed self-defense White Nebraska bar owner who shot dead a black man during BLM protests is charged with manslaughter months after the shooting was initially deemed self-defense Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 04:09 Rating: 5

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