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Scurlock family, Douglas County Attorney react to indictment of Jake Gardner

Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 10:34 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - On Tuesday, a grand jury convened regarding the late May shooting death of 22-year-old James Scurlock brought an indictment against Jake Gardner for manslaughter.

The family of Scurlock, along with Douglas County Attorney Don Klein, reacted to the news and gave statements following special prosecutor Franklin Frederick’s announcement of the grand jury’s decision.

Attorney Justin Wayne gave a statement outside Omaha City Hall on behalf of Scurlock’s family following the announcement of the grand jury indictment.

“I want to stress that today is not a day of celebration, it’s a day to be thankful,” he said.

It’s the start of a process, he said, and there’s a long way to go.

Justice hasn’t been served yet, Wayne said, with family members echoing the sentiment behind him and saying “far from it.” It’s the start of the process, he said.

“If we didn’t call for a grand jury, this case is over,” Wayne said. “It shouldn’t have taken this much... so it’s mixed emotions.”

The family was fortunate to be able to find an attorney who had worked on petitions before, so they knew to ask for a grand jury when the Douglas County attorney’s office announced in June that no charges would be filed.

“And the fact of the matter is, if you’re black growing up in Omaha, and you brandish a gun, and you run from the cops, and you threaten somebody, you don’t walk away with a $200 fine for disorderly conduct,” Wayne said.

The decision is also a bit of a disappointment, Wayne said, because it’s a reminder that Omaha is like two cities, that not everyone here is treated equally before the law.

“And until we get that, we’re always going to have this injustice,” Wayne said.

Wayne also praised the family for their handling of the situation.

“You didn’t seem them out there causing violence, and often times they spoke against it,” he said.

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