People are mourning yet another Black person’s death in the midst of national protest over police violence.
According to Daily Beast, 22-year-old James Scurlock was shot and killed outside a bar in Omaha, Nebraska as unrest spread across the city over George Floyd‘s death and other victims of police terror.
“Last night I lost a son, my wife lost a son, my kids lost a brother,” said Scurlock’s dad, who has the same name. “His daughter lost a father. All because he decided to protest against racism. There’s a lot of speculation and rumors about how this happened. I don’t really care to be honest. My family wants closure and peace.”
“What we want is for this to go to court and get a full prosecution. We want this to go with justice and go peacefully,” he continued
Jake Gardner, a bar-owner, has been identified as the person who killed James Scurlock and Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine announced on Monday night that he will face no charges.
The prosecutor argued that Gardner shot Surlock in self-defense on Saturday night, despite Scurlock being unarmed. The whole incident occurred as protests and property damage was moving through Omaha.
According to KETV, Kleine showed a video as a way to justify Gardner’s actions:
“Kleine walked the audience through the footage, showing footage that he said shows the father of the bar owner, Jake Gardner pushing young people in the area, then being shoved. Gardner came up, asking, ‘Who did that? Who pushed my dad?’ Someone was heard in the video saying, ‘he has a gun on him,’ referring to Gardner. Kleine draws attention to the fact that windows are seen broken out of the bar.
Kleine said the video shows a group of people surrounding Gardner, tackling him and Gardner firing two warning shots. Kleine said Scurlock jumps on Gardner and and [sic] the bar owner fires another shot, fatally wounding Scurlock.
Kleine said Gardner is heard saying, ‘Get off me, get off me, please get off me,’ before the final shot is fired.”
One protestor, Alayna Melendez, said she was one of the ones who tackled Gardner on Saturday, and she said she’d do it again.
“I grabbed him from behind and pulled him to the ground and as soon as I pulled him to the ground, people gathered around us and he had his hand positioned in a way and just shot,” she said.
Melendez, a person of color, explained that Gardner fired two shots.
“The very last shot, that got him (Scurlock) and that killed him,” she said. Melendez said that she provided a statement to the cops, hoping it would bring charges against Gardner.
Gardner is the owner of two venues, The Hive and Gatsby’s. According to Daily Beast, Gatsby has a history of racism and transphobia.
On Twitter, activist and organizer Ashley Yates, even described him as a “known homophobic racist bigot whose friends congratulated him on the internet after he committed murder.”
In 2016, Gardner caused outrage when he wrote on Facebook that transgender women should have had their “appendage” removed if they want to use women’s bathrooms.
“I’m asking transgender folk to use the unisex…bathroom,” he told the World-Herald at the time. “I don’t think it’s a big ask.”
His venue The Hive has also been subject to various complaints on social media, with people saying it discriminated against Black patrons. One person tweeted that Gardner personally refused entry to her Black husband despite letting her white brother enter the building.
Since Scurlock’s death, protestors have demanded, “Justice for James.”
Hallie Snyder, a student studying art education in Kearney, told Kearney Hub at a Sunday protest that coming out was “the least I can do.”
“I’m white but I’m standing here for my friends and my family, for George Floyd and James Scurlock and I want to do what I can,” Snyder said. “It’s not fair for them. It’s not fair for my future students. It’s not fair for the black youths growing up in America traumatized by what is continuing to happen.”