Man Shot Nine Times by York County Deputies During Mental Health Emergency Files Lawsuit
A man who survived being shot nine times by York County sheriff's deputies during a mental health emergency two years ago has filed a lawsuit against the York County Sheriff's Office. Trevor Mullinax and his mother, Tammy Beason, allege that deputies immediately drew their weapons and used deadly force without trying to deescalate the situation, claiming gross negligence, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, defamation, barratry, abuse of process, civil conspiracy, civil assault and battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress/outrage. According to the man's lawyers, Mullinax had a rifle on him while sitting in a pickup truck, but disputes the sheriff's office's narrative that he waved it at deputies. Within seconds, deputies fired at him nearly 50 times, striking Mullinax nine times.
The sheriff's office said Mullinax pointed a shotgun at them shortly after they arrived on the scene, but Mullinax's attorneys contest that he pointed it at deputies. They said a hunting shotgun was in the truck but claimed Mullinax never indicated he intended to use it on anyone other than himself. Bodycam footage 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 was still standing beside the truck and talking to her son through the driver's side window. Mullinax's lawyers said he was hit several times by bullets, including directly in the back of his head.
According to the sheriff's office, deputies responded to Mullinax's home with the knowledge he had active arrest warrants from the York Police Department for a reported violent felony, along with crimes against personal property. Their initial call indicated that Mullinax had a knife on him and was considering suicide. The sheriff's office said all four deputies fired their weapons at Mullinax and responded appropriately to the threat as they were trained to do. Three of the four deputies still work for the force, and the fourth voluntarily left the agency last April to take a job in the private sector.
An independent investigation by the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division cleared the deputies of any wrongdoing, and Mullinax was charged with pointing and presenting a weapon in relation to their investigation of the shooting. The charge is still pending. Mullinax and Beason sued York County and its sheriff's office, and the sheriff's office has responded that it cannot respond to any specific allegations until they and outside council have had an opportunity to thoroughly review the document in its entirety.
During a news conference, Tammy Beason expressed her disbelief in the police and said, “It's hard to believe in the police when they destroyed everything I believe in that day. It's taken me a very long time to recover from that. I'm still recovering.
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