Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Chester Police

CHESTER, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) The family of a man killed in an officer-involved shooting last November filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit.  After the lawsuit was filed early Monday morning, more than 50 supporters marched to the Chester County Courthouse chanting for justice.

Police say Ariane McCree, 28, was shot outside of a Chester Wal-Mart in November after he attempted to shoplift, fled police custody, and then pulled on a gun on officers during a pursuit.

The Chester Police Department declined to comment on the lawsuit. In a statement released back in November, Chester Police Chief Eric Williams said: “While in custody, the suspect physically assaulted one of the officers and fled Wal-Mart on foot. During the foot pursuit, the subject presented a firearm resulting in two officers with the Chester Police Department discharging their firearms. The suspect was injured on scene and given medical attention but later succumbed to his injuries.”

But McCree’s family disputes what police say transpired.

“We have continued to ask police and Wal-Mart to show us the video on what happened to my son, and still no answers,” said McCree’s father, Michael McCree.

The McLeod Law Group, based in Charleston, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the family, saying a cashier didn’t charge McCree for a lock he purchased, and when he returned to the store to notify employees, he was confronted by Chester Police.

The lawsuit further says that McCree was taken to a loss prevention room and, fearing for his life, he fled the room and into a busy parking lot where attorneys say he hoped someone would help him.

“We believe he was shot while in handcuffs. That belief is based upon the fact that when EMS arrived, they had to unhandcuff him in order to administer CPR,” said the family’s attorney Mullins McLeod.

The lawsuit names the Chester Police Department, the City of Chester, Wal-Mart, and three officers who are only identified as John Doe #1, John Doe #2 and John Doe #3.

Williams also said the two officers involved in the incident were placed on administrative leave.  The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) confirmed that they’re investigating the case.

“Through a civil rights lawsuit, you can affect change. It’s not just about the money,” said McLeod, “And don’t get me wrong, our objective is to make it hurt. But it’s about more than that.”

McCree’s mother, Vickie, says the family had no choice but to file the lawsuit to get answers.

“My family is hurting, ya’ll. I cry all night long. I can’t even sleep,” said Vickie McCree in an emotional speech before a crowed outside of the Chester County Courthouse.

McCree’s family says he played football at Jackson State University, and had a three year old son.