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Police Kill Handcuffed Black Man, Cite Self-Defense

But police say Ariane McCree was aiming a gun at them
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2020 4:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – South Carolina police released video this week of an officer fatally shooting a handcuffed black man—a shooting police said was justified, the Post and Courier reports. The grainy bodycam video, which lacks audio, shows the officer shooting 28-year-old Ariane McCree in a parking lot in Chester, SC, last November. McCree is accused of aiming a gun at officers while handcuffed; a state report found that officers fired at least two dozen times, but McCree's weapon hadn't been fired. "My officer took the action he took because he was facing an imminent threat," said Police Chief Eric Williams, per the Herald. "There was a firearm in view and pointed at him." State officials say the Nov. 23 incident began when McCree was caught shoplifting at a Walmart.

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McCree was handcuffed with his hands behind him when he allegedly headbutted an officer and ran to his car, retrieving a gun. Officials say a chase ensued in the parking lot that ended with Officers Justin Baker and Nicholas Harris shooting McCree; eyewitness accounts have McCree either carrying a gun, firing at officers, or having no gun at all. The bodycam video (WARNING: graphic content) shows an officer pulling a handgun from McCree's body after shooting him. But McCree's family says the officers involved should be fired and criminally charged. "If it's true, it's not worth his life," says McCree's grandfather, Charlie Stringfellow. "People steal at Walmart every day. ... I'm mad. I'm upset because it could have been me. It could have been you." (Read more police shooting stories.)

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