According to KETV, Jacob Gardner, the owner of The Hive in Omaha, NE, will not face criminal charges for killing 22-year-old protester James Scurlock during a fracas where people felt he was threatening them with a gun. This is both infuriating and predictable.
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine announced that no charges will be filed because it has been determined that this was an act of “self-defense” according to whatever they saw on the video recordings of the unnecessary killing. In the video, Kleine claims protesters surrounded Gardner after he walked into the crowd asking who pushed his father, James Gardner Sr., who had been pushing protesters seemingly because he thought they broke the windows at the bar. When someone yelled out “he’s got a gun on him” the protesters attempted to tackle and disarm arm him. After firing what is being described as a “warning shot”, Gardner fired again and that bullet fatally struck James Scurlock.
“You can’t use deadly force to protect property,” he said. “Deadly force can only be used if someone is in fear of their own life or serious bodily injury and they don’t feel like they can retreat safely. Even if they are mistaken, if their beliefs have a reasonable basis, it’s justifiable for them to use deadly force…that’s what the law is.”
He went on…
“It is a senseless death, a loss of a young man’s life, it shouldn’t have happened,” he said. “We know that emotions are running very high…this decision may not be popular and may cause more people to be upset. I would hope that they understand that we’re doing our job to the best of our ability and looking at the evidence and the law. And that’s all we can do. All right, that’s what the basis of this decision was it can’t be based on emotions, it can’t be based on anger, it can’t be based on any of those things. But I would hope that this great community that we live in, will be able to get through this.”
Nah. Ain’t no understanding. How was Gardner in fear of his life? I haven’t heard a single mention of him being punched, kicked, or attacked in any way. The young woman who first made physical contact with the killer, 19-year-old Alayna Melendez, says she did so because of the announcement of his firearm.
“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.
This isn’t going to go the way of peace and non-violence. Tensions are too high. We can only pray that no other protesters lose their lives.