Omaha Protests Lead To 1 Death And 72-Hour 8 PM-6 AM Curfew

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A second night of protests in Omaha over the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer turned deadly Saturday when a black protester was fatally shot.

In response to the shooting and increasing criminal activity associated with the protests, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert imposed an 8 pm-6 am curfew for 72 hours Sunday afternoon.

Police Chief Todd Schmaderer told a Sunday afternoon news conference that a suspect was arrested within an hour of the shooting of 22-year-old James Scurlock, but did not release the name of the person in custody.

Chief Schmaderer said officers heard gunshots about 11:00 pm a couple blocks from the protesters. They rushed to the scene outside an Old Market bar and found Scurlock, who died later at a hospital.

Although authorities have not released the identity of the shooter, the Omaha World-Herald confirmed he was Jake Gardner, owner of two popular bars near the shooting scene.

The World-Herald says that hours before the Saturday night shooting, Gardner wrote on Facebook about protecting his business. “Just when you think, ‘what else could 2020 throw at me?’ Then you have to pull 48 hours of military style firewatch.”

Multiple videos of the incident are circulating online. In one, a bystander can be heard saying that a man has a gun before shouting “That’s not worth it!” The man with a gun is approached by a group of people, including one who appears to be Scurlock, leading to a scuffle during which at least two shots ring out before the video cuts off.

A protest earlier in the evening a few miles away started peacefully with about 500 people, but grew into the thousands and devolved into clashes between protesters and police as well as vandalism to more businesses.

Business owners, aided by volunteers, were busy Sunday boarding up broken windows and scrubbing their walls to remove graffiti, much of it expressing anger at police or solidarity with George Floyd

Chief Schmaderer says the National Guard will be mobilized to help police, who made 51 arrests, mostly white males, during Saturday night’s protests after arresting 21 people Friday night.

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