Bar Owner Who Shot Violent Protester Dead Won’t be Charged

Henrietta Brewer
June 3, 2020

"The actions of the shooter, the bar owner, were justified", Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said at a press conference on Monday.

"If somebody is in fear for their own life or serious bodily injury and that they can't, they don't feel like they can retreat safely". Scurlock, a black man, was unarmed. 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 Omaha World-Herald reports that Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts on Saturday condemned vandalism and violence in Lincoln and Omaha after protests overnight turned to unrest.


Protests taking place in cities across the country - which have quickly devolved into riots - appear to be in response to the death of George Floyd, who died in Minnesota last week after former police officer Derek Chauvin was seen pressing his knee onto his neck. In Lincoln, three people were arrested and eight police officers were injured. Officials played surveillance video that seemed to show words exchanged between Gardner, his father and protesters before Gardner, flashing the gun, backed away from the protesters.

Then, while Scurlock had him in a chokehold, Gardner fired again. Scurlock then jumped on Gardner's back and was shot by Gardner.

He said witnesses and video from the scene confirm that Gardner, who is white, was backing up at the time and that no racial slurs were used during the confrontation with Scurlock, who was black.


The decision not to charge Gardner in the shooting was met with a mix of responses on social media, with some lauding the announcement.

Kleine acknowledged that the decision would not be popular, given the calls for Gardner to be charged with murder in the death of 22-year-old James Scurlock.

Officials are imposing a curfew and the Nebraska national guard is being mobilized to help police after a man was killed during a demonstration in downtown Omaha over the death of George Floyd.


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