Officials now arriving to speak about grand jury findings in May 30 fatal shooting of James Scurlock by Old Market bar owner Jake Gardner.
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Special prosecutor Fred Franklin says he can’t make any statements until he gets a phone call from the clerk’s office, which may take 5-10 minutes.
Feels like all of Omaha, or at least online Omaha, is watching the announcement of the grand jury decision live.
Scurlock’s death made waves in the city throughout the summer. Murals & signs demanding justice at Culprit Cafe — a block away from the courthouse — are still up.
It’s been 15 minutes since special prosecutor Fred Franklin arrived at the press conference & said he had to wait for a call from the clerk’s office.
He’s still in the back.
Again, clerk would need to file a grand jury report, if no charges, or the charges, if there are some.
Special prosecutor Fred Franklin is back.
Franklin says before he makes an announcement, he wants to explain the process.
Monday after Scurlock was killed, Kleine said no charges would be filed against Gardner.
OPD continued with its investigation.
Grand jury planned in days after.
OPD interviewed about 60 people in conjunction with Scurlock’s death. They got video clips from people at the scene.
Franklin said all information was passed on to him and his team, which are made up of experienced retired police officers.
BREAKING: The grand jury chose to indict bar owner Jake Gardner with manslaughter, use of a firearm, attempted first-degree assault and terroristic threats in connection with the May 30 fatal shooting of James Scurlock
Terroristic threat charge addresses the conduct of Jake Gardner in a verbal confrontation with Scurlock, Franklin said. That’s when Gardner displays the firearm.
Attempted first-degree assault charge relates to second warning shot Gardner fired.
Gardner fired three shots.
Manslaughter count - Nebraska law says manslaughter charge can be brought when a person is killed intentionally but as a result of a sudden quarrel.
“That count does not rest solely on an analysis of the video that has been played in the media already.”
Investigators got evidence pointing to Gardner’s state of mind before getting in contact w Scurlock that came from Gardner himself, Franklin said. He can’t go into details.
“That evidence can reasonably construe as an intent to use a firearm for the purposes of killing someone.”
Franklin said he did agree with Kleine’s evaluation that it was self defense & justifiable, at first. But then new evidence came to light. “I can tell you that there is evidence that undermines that. And that evidence comes primarily from Jake Gardner himself.”
He applauds OPD, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine & Chief Deputy Brenda Beadle.
There is nothing about what this grand jury has done that should be taken as an indictment against the Douglas County Attorney’s Office, Franklin says, they were helpful in the investigation.
Franklin said Gardner is presumed innocent.
He addresses Omaha community and some who were waiting for an outcome that would reignite vandalism & chaos.
Scurlock’s dad asked for peace, Franklin reminds the room.
“...engaging in vandalism & destruction of property, when people engage in that sort of behavior, you are dishonoring the memory of the people who have died... you are playing right into the hands of the people who are against what it is you are protesting for,” Franklin said.
There are other ways to advance the issue rather than destroy stuff, Franklin said. Register to vote. Join causes. Speak up. Advocate.
Franklin said he’ll be in touch with Gardner’s attorney whether Gardner will turn himself in or a warrant will be issued for his arrest.
Franklin said grand jury received case today but won’t disclose what time.
“They spent more time deliberating on it than I anticipated.”
He won’t share racial makeup of 16 jurors + a few alternates.
Franklin will continue as special prosecutor in case.
Franklin said it would be contrary to justice for the grand jury to indict Gardner solely because he said or did racist things.
“Being a racist is not against the law,” Franklin said.
“I accepted this responsibility not to advance any organization’s agenda. Not to advance the agenda of black people because I’m African American. Not to rubber stamp what Don Kleine’s office wanted to do,” he said.
Said he tried to be as fair and objective as possible.
Franklin won’t say whether Gardner was cooperative in the investigation. And he can’t say the names of anyone who testified as a witness.
Grand jury serves as probably cause hearing. Gardner won’t have a preliminary hearing and it’ll go straight to district court. (Technical tweet).
END of presser. Follow @owhnews and look at omaha.com for a full story.

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More from @aliaconleyOWH

1 Jun
Press conference from Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine about to start on Saturday night’s fatal shooting of James Scurlock by suspect Hive bar owner Jake Gardner.
Follow here for updates.
Latest coverage:
omaha.com/news/crime/dow…
Kleine speaking.
“Omaha Douglas County is a community of people I truly love. I’ve been very proud of serving this community”.
His entire office has dedicated their careers for “justice for all” for the county, “no matter what part of the county they might live in.”
Kleine denounces death of Minneapolis man George Floyd and says anger by people is understandable.

Shooting of Scurlock was “so senseless” he said.
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