Tensions in Omaha

Jake Gardner, convicted for the death of James Scurlock, was found dead ahead of trial.

By Jack Vokt, Reporter

After the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, protest broke out all over the United States from California to New York. Even in Omaha, 400 miles away from Minneapolis, protests over police brutality and racism broke out. These protests led to events that angered more people and caught news across the Nation. 

On May 30, 2020 protests had broken out in the Old Market area of Omaha leading to violence and rioting. Windows were shattered, stores were robbed, and violence broke out. 

James Scurlock was a 22 year old Black man who had participated in these protests, finding himself outside a bar owned by Jake Gardner. A scuffle broke out leading to Gardner shooting Scurlock. No one knew at first knew all of the details until about two weeks later.

The trial of Jake Gardner was held in September, and he was not convicted the first time. Gardner stated that James Scurlock had him in a choke hold so the shooting was in self defense. This caused even more anger within the community, so there was a second trial with more evidence. 

On September 15, Gardner was officially charged for the death of James Scurlock in four different areas. He was charged for manslaughter, first degree assault, making terroristic threats, and weapon use, all adding up to 95 years in prison. 

Five days later, Jake Gardner was found dead in Oregon. Facing up to ninety-five years in prison, Gardner had shot himself. 

Not only have protests broke out in Omaha, but all over the United States as well.