A grand jury has indicted Jake Gardner in the shooting death of 22-year-old James Scurlock according to a statement released by the Douglas County District Court in Omaha, Nebraska.

Special prosecutor Frederick Franklin was assigned to the tragic case after Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine initially declined to file charges against Gardner days after the incident, alleging he shot Scurlock, who is Black, in self-defense. 

On May 30, Scurlock was one of many young Black Americans who participated in nationwide protests against police brutality and racism following the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. According to the Omaha World-Herald, Gardner shot and killed Scurlock after a scuffle ensued outside of his bar The Hive in the Old Market section of Omaha.

On September 8, Franklin conducted a grand jury investigation under the supervision of Judge Horatio J. Wheelock. In a press conference with Franklin on Sept. 15, he reported that he had probable cause to formally charge Gardner, who is white, with manslaughter, use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, attempted first-degree assault and making terroristic threats. The evidence included video and testimony from at least 60 eyewitnesses from the scene, Gardner’s cell phone, video and Facebook Messenger.

The special prosecutor also stated during the press conference, "It's almost a slam dunk that they had much more information available to them than what was had at the time the initial decision was made." 

He reiterated that the investigation had continued even after Kleine failed to charge Gardner with a crime. He alleged members of the panel were able to "get evidence relative to Mr. Gardner's state of mind." 

The World-Herald report appeared to substantiate the newfound evidence that referenced Gardner’s state of mind. The publication alleged that he posted on Facebook, “Just when you think, ‘what else could 2020 throw at me?’ Then you have to pull 48 hours of military-style fire watch.”


The bar owner isn’t new to exhibiting bigoted, problematic behavior.

In 2016, Gardner caused another s**t show over social media when he suggested trans women should not use the women’s restroom if they haven't removed their “appendage,” and legally changed their identification.

The indictment is a step in the right direction.