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Man Shot Nine Times by Deputies During Welfare Check Files Lawsuit Against York County Sheriff’s Office for Gross Negligence and Excessive Force

A man who was shot nine times by deputies from the York County Sheriff's Office while his mother stood nearby during a welfare check has filed a lawsuit against the department.[0] Trevor Mullinax and his mother, Tammy Beason, have alleged gross negligence, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, defamation, barratry, abuse of process, civil conspiracy, civil assault and battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress/outrage against York County and its sheriff's office.[1] Mullinax's attorneys have claimed that the officers used deadly force without attempting to deescalate the situation.

According to court documents, Mullinax had a hunting shotgun in his possession at the time of the incident, but he did not point the weapon at himself or any other person. The lawsuit states that Mullinax never indicated he intended to use the hunting gun on anyone other than himself.[2] Lawyers for Mullinax have disputed the narrative from the sheriff's office that he waved the gun at deputies.[3] Mullinax's mother was with him trying to console him from the driver's side door before the shots rang out, according to his attorneys.[4]

Deputies from the York County Sheriff's Office say Mullinax pointed a shotgun at them shortly after they arrived on the scene. According to the sheriff's office, Mullinax had active arrest warrants from the York Police Department for a reported violent felony, along with crimes against personal property.[4] Their initial call indicated that Mullinax had a knife on him and was considering suicide.[3] However, Mullinax's attorneys have claimed that the officers approached them “like cowboys from a John Wayne movie” and used deadly force without attempting to deescalate the situation.

Bodycam footage obtained by NBC News shows the deputies with their guns out converging on the pickup and yelling “Let me see your hands” before opening fire while Mullinax's mother is still standing beside the truck and talking to her son through the driver's side window.[5] Mullinax's lawyers claim that he was hit several times by bullets, including once in the back of the head.[6]

The York County Sheriff's Office has responded to the lawsuit, stating that the matter was investigated independently by the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division, and all the deputies involved were cleared of any wrongdoing by the 16th Circuit Solicitor's Office.[2] Three of the four deputies involved in the shooting are still serving the community, while the fourth voluntarily left the agency last April to take a job in the private sector.[2]

Mullinax's mother, Tammy Beason, expressed her disappointment and loss of faith in law enforcement during a press conference. “It's hard to believe in the police when they destroyed everything I believe in that day,” she said.[7] Recovering from that took me a considerable amount of time.[7] The recovery process is still ongoing.[2] Mullinax and Beason are seeking justice and accountability for the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers during a mental health emergency.[3]

0. “Dashboard camera shows deputies shooting Trevor Mullinax in York County” Charleston Post Courier, 10 May. 2023, https://www.postandcourier.com/rock-hill/news/dashboard-camera-shows-deputies-shooting-trevor-mullinax-in-york-county/video_f8df8a02-ef4d-11ed-80d3-ab2569da900f.html

1. “Man was shot 9 times by York County deputies, now he’s suing the county, sheriff’s office” Rock Hill Herald, 9 May. 2023, https://www.heraldonline.com/news/local/crime/article275215536.html

2. “Lawsuit: Deputies fired nearly 50 shots at suicidal York County man” WBTV, 10 May. 2023, https://www.wbtv.com/2023/05/10/lawsuit-deputies-fired-nearly-50-shots-suicidal-york-county-man/

3. “York County man files lawsuit against Sheriff's Office after surviving nine deputy gunshots” Charleston Post Courier, 10 May. 2023, https://www.postandcourier.com/rock-hill/news/york-county-man-files-lawsuit-against-sheriffs-office-after-surviving-nine-deputy-gunshots/article_ed48a774-ef42-11ed-bd7f-9b3c98763a14.html

4. “York County sheriff rails against critics, disputes claims made in May 2021 shooting lawsuit” WCNC.com, 10 May. 2023, https://www.wcnc.com/article/news/crime/york-county-sc-sheriff-lawsuit-press-conference-5-10-2023/275-9b614efc-c916-4b1e-8afc-9fa505778b51

5. “Cops opened fire on suicidal man ‘like cowboys from a John Wayne movie,' new lawsuit claims” New York Post , 10 May. 2023, https://nypost.com/2023/05/10/cops-opened-fire-on-suicidal-man-like-cowboys-from-a-john-wayne-movie-new-lawsuit-claims/

6. “S. Carolina police shooting survivor: Deputies fired ‘immediately'” NBC News, 10 May. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/south-carolina-police-shooting-survivor-says-deputies-opened-fire-moth-rcna83153

7. “Man shot 9 times by South Carolina deputies files lawsuit alleging ‘reckless' use of deadly force during wellness check” KAKE, 7 May. 2021, https://www.kake.com/story/48889328/man-shot-9-times-by-south-carolina-deputies-files-lawsuit-alleging-reckless-use-of-deadly-force-during-wellness-check

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