Sunday, October 2, 2022

Judge blames prosecutors for suspect’s death

Omaha, Neb. ( Associated Press) — A federal judge has filed a lawsuit against prosecutors filed by the family of a white owner of a Nebraska bar who killed himself after being charged with the fatal shooting of a black man during a 2020 protest over racial injustice.

US District Judge John Gerrard said in an order Tuesday that there is no legal basis to conclude that Douglas County prosecutors are responsible for the death of 38-year-old Jake Gardner.

Gardner’s parents allege The Douglas County Attorney’s Office, its top prosecutor and a special prosecutor who violated Gardner’s constitutional rights. The trial also accused Special Prosecutor Fred Franklin of alleging during a news conference that Gardner was a racist, which led to Gardner taking his own life in Oregon on September 20, 2020.

Gardner was charged with the shooting of 22-year-old James Scurlock and other felonies outside Gardner’s downtown Omaha bar during a protest against the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 30, 2020.,

Douglas County Attorney Don Klein initially denied charges against Gardner, saying he acted in self-defense after being attacked by Scurlock. Klein later asked for a grand jury investigation. After critics said that he had not thoroughly investigated the shooting. Scurlock’s defenders said he was trying to stop Gardner from hurting anyone when Gardner pointed a gun at the protesters, which they then scuffled with.

Franklin later said that additional evidence from Gardner’s phone and his Facebook Messenger account, along with videos from inside his bar, shed new light on his intentions. After Gardner’s death, Franklin revealed Gardner was armed and waiting to ambush those who might break into businesses, including him.

“Gardner’s parents are undoubtedly bereaved, and they certainly have every right to be,” Gerard wrote in his decision. “The events that led to this case were tragic for Gardner’s family and for Scurlock. But not all tragic circumstances ultimately lead to legal liability. This is one of those examples.”

An attorney for the Gardners, John Pierce of California, did not immediately return a message Wednesday seeking comment. Pierce has represented people in several high-profile cases, including one involving Kyle Rittenhouse, who was acquitted of murder. and Kenosha, Wisconsin, on other counts in the fatal shootings of two men during a protest.

The Douglas County Attorney’s office also did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Nation World News Desk
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