Nike faces a wrongful death lawsuit, filed by a grieving mother, whose son was murdered in a violent incident because of a pair of shoes.
According to new legal documents, obtained by The Blast, the woman is suing the footwear giant – with Shoe Palace — a store in Los Angeles where her son was working at the time of the incident.
In the filing, the woman claims that on August 11, 2021, her 26-year-old son was working at the store during a Nike shoe launch event. At the time, a raffle was held to determine who would receive the new shoes, a pair of Nike “Dunk Low” sneakers. That day, the mother told him son is dead at his workplace, “attempting to defend his girlfriend and colleague from a group of violent men during a Nike sweepstakes.”
Murder victim’s family accuses Nike of causing ‘relentless desirability’ for new shoes
The victim – Jayren Bradford – was said to have been at work that day when he “witnessed an altercation”. A group of male customers were at the raffle booth, “appearing to be mad at something with their raffle tickets.” His girlfriend and colleague was working the event at the stand, “without any form of security and without any training on how to handle this type of violence”. The lawsuit states: ‘Worried about his girlfriend, the employee approached the booth in an attempt to defuse the situation. However, this group of male customers shifted their aggressive energies towards (him), which ultimately led to the shooting.
The victim’s mother says this is not a new problem in the United States. “This type of violence – known as ‘sneaker violence’ to the mainstream media in recent decades – is not uncommon. at shoe launch events for Nike and other big brands,” she said. Adding, “this phenomenon afflicts young people, especially those of color. In 2015 alone, a staggering 1,200 young Americans died due to violence surrounding shoes like the Nike Air Jordan and other popular high-demand/low-volume releases, which are meant to create relentless desirability.
Shoe Palace worker dies of gunshot wound in ‘sneaker violence’ incident
“A brief examination of the subject indicates that this is not a new problem: 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 to death for his Nike Air Jordans; in Georgia in 2013, a Craigslist sneaker sale ended with a man being shot for trying to steal the Nike shoes in question; in California in 2013, fights erupted online over the release of the Nike “Gamma” XI; in Chicago in 2013, a man was murdered for his designer Yeezy shoes; in Virginia in 2014, a college student was tracked and murdered for his Nike Air Jordans,” the lawsuit states.
Unfortunately, Shoe Palace’s Melrose Avenue location has also reportedly seen an increase in crime over the past two years, the victim’s mother said.
The grieving mother blames Nike squarely, saying the shoe company “was also aware of the proliferation of ‘sneaker violence’ over the years in neighborhoods across America. Some of the most desirable sneakers (and therefore dangerous) are manufactured by Nike and marketed, distributed and managed by subsidiaries – despite the bloodshed on their products, Nike has done very little to protect the public.
16-year-old arrested for shooting shoe store employee
According to reports, a 16-year-old boy was stopped for the murder.
In the end, the victim “called back alive for almost an hour – no doubt in pain and suffering, while those around him tried to resuscitate him and keep him alive. But, he was finally produced dead in a nearby hospital. A copy of his death certificate, included in the lawsuit, says he died of a gunshot wound at the top of the torso. “The defendants knew the shoe raffle could be dangerous, but they chose profit over safety,” the lawsuit states.
The family is seeking damages, including burial and funeral costs.