Family of man shot, killed by Chester police outside Walmart files wrongful death lawsuit

The family of a man shot and killed by police last year marched to the Chester County Courthouse and demanded justice by filing a wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit.

“My life will never, ever be the same,” the man’s mother Vickie McCree said. “I got that phone call that my son was gone.”

Chester police shot and killed Ariane McCree outside the Walmart on J.A. Cochran Bypass on Nov. 23, 2019. Police said he pulled a gun after they arrested him for shoplifting and he was shot in the hip, arm and chest.

Members of the National Action Network and his family question how he could have had a gun if he were in custody and in handcuffs.

Lawyers for McCree’s family said he was in handcuffs at the time of the shooting and posed “zero risk of harm to anyone.” They said officers riddled at least one parked car with eight bullets and fatally hit McCree.

The lawsuit names Chester police, the city of Chester and Walmart as defendants.

According to the lawsuit, McCree returned to the store after realizing the cashier forgot to charge him. It said police searched McCree for weapons, handcuffed him but alleges the officers began threatening him.

The lawsuit states “despite being handcuffed, Ariane ran from the Loss Prevention room to the safety of the crowded Walmart parking lot, where he hoped other shoppers would intervene to save him.” The lawsuit then described the officers shooting at McCree in handcuffs as he ducked behind parked cars.

McLeod Law Group, which represents McCree’s family, said the officers involved were doing security work at Walmart. Attorney Colin Ram argued there was no excuse for Walmart to not have procedures in place to protect shoppers.

“Walmart must be held accountable so that no other family has to endure the pain and loss that the McCree family is going through,” Ram said.

Channel 9 reached out to Walmart after the lawsuit was filed and the company said it has not reviewed the complaint, but will respond once they are served.

“Our condolences continue to go out to the McCree family. We have not reviewed the complaint but will respond as appropriate in court once we are served," a spokesperson said.

The lawsuit alleges wrongful death, gross negligence, excessive force and several other causes for legal action.

McCree was described as a loving father to his 3-year-old son and as a well-known and respected citizen. Family members said they still haven’t gotten an explanation from Chester police or Walmart about what happened.

“That’s where it hurts the most, not knowing anything,” Vicki McCree said.

Attorney Mullins McLeod, along with McCree’s family and friends, said filing the wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit on Monday was the first step toward justice.

“A 3-year-old boy’s father was killed by the very people who were sworn to serve and protect him,” McLeod said. “Today’s filing marks the first step towards complete justice for Ariane McCree’s senseless death.”

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is still investigating the shooting, and no charges have been filed.

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