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Nike Ignored ‘Sneaker Violence,’ Wrongful Death Lawsuit Claims

The mother of a Los Angeles Shoe Palace employee who was murdered while on the job last year is accusing Nike of doing nothing to stop the proliferation of “sneaker violence.”

Jayren Bradford’s mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit against both Nike and Shoe Palace, the The Blast reported Wednesday. Per the celebrity news site, the lawsuit argues Nike was “aware of the proliferation of ‘sneaker violence’ over the years in neighborhoods all across America.” Some of the most desirable—and thus dangerous—sneakers are made and marketed by Nike, it added. “Despite the bloodshed over their products, Nike has done very little to protect the public,” the complaint said.

According to the filing, Bradford was arriving at work when he saw an altercation at a raffle booth involving a group of customers and a coworker who was working the event. When Bradford attempted to defuse the situation, the crowd turned its attention toward him. The confrontation culminated in one of the group members shooting and killing Bradford. A 16-year-old boy was arrested in connection to the crime days later.

The shoes being raffled off were a pair of Nike Dunk Low sneakers, The Blast reported.

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“Our Shoe Palace Family is heartbroken over the senseless act of violence that took the life of Jayren Bradford,” Shoe Palace said in a statement published on Twitter two days after the shooting. “A loving son, brother, friend and team member Jayren was a light in any room he walked into. We ask at this time to respect his family and friends as they navigate through this traumatic event. As an organization, our focus remains on Jayren’s family.”

The lawsuit names Shoe Palace as well. The footwear retailer, it claims, did not provide “any form of security” or “training on how to deal with this type of violence,” The Blast reported.

Neither Shoe Palace nor Nike responded to requests for comment.

Nike has been linked to a wave of crimes in the past year alone. One warehouse employee was arrested for stealing Nike products while another was caught with $60,000 worth of the sneaker maker’s goods. A suspect attempting to steal Nikes from a Memphis boutique was charged with attempted murder for shooting a bystander during the robbery.