Nike is facing a wrongful death lawsuit, filed by a grieving mother, whose son was murdered during a violent incident over a pair of shoes.
According to new legal documents, obtained by The Blast, the woman is suing the shoe giant — along with Shoe Palace — a Los Angeles retail store where her son was working at the time of the incident.
In the filing, the woman claims on August 11, 2021, her 26-year-old son was working at the store during a Nike shoe release event. At the time, a raffle was being held to determine who would get the new shoes, a pair of Nike “Dunk Low” sneakers. On that day, the mother says her son died at his workplace, “attempting to defend his girlfriend and coworker from a group of violent men at a Nike release raffle event.”
Murder Victim’s Family Blames Nike For Causing “Relentless Desirability” For New Shoes
The victim — Jayren Bradford — was reportedly coming into work that day when he “witnessed an altercation.” A group of male customers was at the raffle booth, “appearing to be angry about something with their raffle tickets.” His girlfriend, and coworker, was working the event at the booth, “without any form of security and without any type of training on how to deal with this type of violence.” The lawsuit states, “Worried for his girlfriend, the employee approached the booth attempting to diffuse the situation. However, this group of male customers shifted their aggressive energies to (him), which ultimately led to the shooting.”
The victim’s mother says this isn’t a new issue in the United States. “This type of violence — known as ‘sneaker violence’ by the mainstream media in the last few decades — is not uncommon at shoe release events for Nike and other big brands,” she said. Adding, “this phenomenon plagues young people, especially those of color. In 2015 alone, a staggering 1,200 young American’s died because of violence surrounding shoes like Nike Air Jordan and other popular, high-demand/low volume releases, which are destined to create relentless desirability.”
Shoe Palace Employee Dies Of Gunshot Wound During ‘Sneaker Violence’ Incident
“A brief survey of the topic indicates that this is not a new issue: in Massachusetts in 2011, a child was beaten by another child for his designer shoes; in New Jersey in 2012, a young man was followed by three men and shot and killed for his Nike Air Jordans; in Georgia in 2013, a Craigslist sneaker sale ended in a man being gunned down for attempting to steal the subject Nike shoes; in California in 2013, fights broke out in lines for the release of Nike “Gamma” XIs; in Chicago in 2013, a man was murdered over his designer Yeezy shoes; in Virginia in 2014, a college student was followed and murdered for his Nike Air Jordans,” the lawsuit reads.
Unfortunately, the Melrose Avenue location of Shoe Palace has reportedly also experienced a rise in crime in the last couple of years, explained the victim’s mother.
The grieving mother puts the blame squarely on Nike, saying, the shoe company “were also aware of the proliferation of “sneaker violence” over the years in neighborhoods all across America. Some of the most desirable (and therefore dangerous) sneakers happen to be made by Nike and marketed, distributed, and managed by subsidiaries — despite the bloodshed over their products, Nike has done very little to protect the public.
16-Year-Old Arrested For Deadly Shooting Of Shoe Store Employee
According to reports, a 16-year-old was arrested for the murder.
In the end, the victim “reminded alive for nearly an hour — undoubtedly in pain and suffering, while those around him attempted to resuscitate him and keep him alive. But, he was ultimately produced dead at a nearby hospital.” A copy of his death certificate, included in the lawsuit, says he died of a gunshot wound to the upper torso. “Defendants knew that the shoe release raffle could be dangerous, yet they chose profits over safety,” the lawsuit reads.
The family is suing for damages, including burial and funeral costs.