OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — A lawsuit filed by the estate of Jake Gardner against Douglas County was dismissed in federal court Tuesday.
Gardner was indicted by a Douglas County grand jury in September 2020 on charges that included manslaughter for the shooting death of James Scurlock, an Omaha man who was shot and killed by Gardner during the May 2020 protests.
Shortly after the indictment, Gardner died by suicide. His family, on behalf of his estate, sued Special Prosecutor Frederick Franklin, County Attorney Don Kleine and other county officials for “allegedly violating Gardner’s civil rights,” according to the court ruling.
United States District Judge John M. Gerrard went on to explain why he dismissed the case:
“Gardner's parents are undoubtedly bereaved, and of course they have every right to be. The events that led to this case were tragic for Gardner's family and for Scurlock's, and the loss of a child is devastating under any circumstances. But not all tragic circumstances ultimately lead to legal liability. This is one of those instances. For the reasons that follow, the lawsuit filed by plaintiffs' counsel lacks legal merit under both federal and state law. As a result, the Court will grant the defendants' motions to dismiss the plaintiffs' complaint.”
Gerrard’s entire ruling is embedded below.