BROOKLYN (CN) – A mother and daughter thought to have drowned while crossing a swollen creek in North Carolina were actually beaten to death by a mall cop who thought they had shoplifted $39 worth of goods from a Burlington Coat Factory store, a relative claims in a $400 million federal lawsuit.
Gracie Nell Johnson, 43, and her teenage daughter Rianna were wrongly accused by an unknown security guard of the stealing merchandise because they’re black, Gracie Johnson’s mother, Annette Johnson, claims in her lawsuit against the Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse.
On Aug. 5, 2011, the guard chased the women “for a quarter of a mile through a forest, savagely beat and killed them,” Annette says in the complaint. “The unnamed security guard committed a felony.”
Instead of taking the women to the hospital, the guard “left the bodies sunk in a creek,” the lawsuit states.
Charlotte, N.C., firefighters said the two died while trying to cross a flooded creek, but Annette Johnson denies it.
“When the bodies were found there were bruises all over the bodies,” she says in the complaint.
She demands $400 million from New York-based Burlington Coat Factory for civil rights violations, denial of medical care, negligence and wrongful death.
She is represented by Raphael Weitzman.
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