A young African-American protester was shot dead outside a bar in Omaha, Nebraska, by a white bar owner during a George Floyd protest in the downtown area of the city on Saturday, May 30. The victim, identified as 22-year-old James Scurlock, was found with a gunshot wound in downtown Omaha after police officers heard gunshots at around 11 p.m. near 12th and Harney. Scurlock was later taken to the Nebraska Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, Omaha Police Department said in a statement.
Caught on Tape
Omaha Police confirmed that the suspect was in custody but did not reveal the shooter's identity. However, according to witnesses who were at the scene at the time of the shooting, Scurlock was killed by Jake Gardner, the owner of two bars on the street where the incident took place, The Hive and The Gatsby.
Cell phone footage of the incident, which is being widely circulated on social media, shows Gardner involved in an altercation with one of the protesters, which appears to be Scurlock, on the sidewalk. "This n---a got a gun!," a bystander can be heard saying. "That's not worth it," the individual says before two gunshots ring out and the video ends.
According to the man who shot the video, Gardner approached Scurlock and stopped him as he was walking by. "Investigators are in the process of reviewing all collected evidence, video, witness interviews and conferring with the Douglas County Attorney's office," Omaha police said before adding that the investigation is still ongoing and urged witnesses to come forward with information. No charges have been filed against Gardner yet.
Gardner was a Known 'Racist'
Gardner, a former Marine and a Trump supporter, has previously been in the news over accusations of racism. The Hive had been the target of several complaints on social media that it discriminated against black patrons, with one woman tweeting that Gardner personally refused entry to her black husband while letting her white brother go in.
Shortly before the incident, Gardner took to Facebook to share a post insinuating that he was going on "military style firewatch" to protect his club from rioters.
Since the incident, the post has racked up dozens of comments with many pointing out Gardner's racist behavior in the past. "This man is a known racist I've heard him said N word a million times in front of me," wrote one user, while another commented, "Jake Gardner is a racist and a bigot."
In 2016, Gardner sparked online furor after sharing a Facebook post saying that transgender women should not use the women's restroom unless they have their "appendage" removed. He was also issued a warning from the State Liquor Authority last year for failing to cooperate with police who were investigating a possible assault at his establishment.
State of Emergency in Omaha
Omaha, like dozens of cities across the U.S., saw protests over the in-custody death of Floyd descend into chaos with clashes between crowds and law enforcement.
The city has been swarmed by protesters expressing their anger over the death of Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt over the 46-year-old African-American man's neck for several minutes, as previously reported by International Business Times.
The mayor declared a state of state emergency that began at 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 31, and will last for 72 hours, and the National Guard was called in to embed with the Omaha police department.