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Store Owner Charged With Murder Requests Stop of Search Warrants

After police say he chased and shot a Black 14-year-old and falsely accused him of stealing water, a South Carolina store owner is facing a murder charge. The store owner’s lawyer is asking a judge to stop a search warrant for his business records, the Associated Press reports. The boy, Cyrus Carmack-Belton, was fatally shot in the back on May 28 in Richard County, South Carolina. Close to half of the location’s population is Black. Rich Chow, the store owner, and his son pursued Carmack-Belton on a roughly 500-foot chase past their family’s Xpress Mart Shell station. A prosecutor said investigators need to search technology from Chow and his family to find the store’s employee manual and other documents that could reveal a pattern of behavior in how Chow normally dealt with shoplifters and how Carmack-Belton was treated differently. But, Chow’s lawyer said his family already turned over what authorities wanted without a warrant and argued that investigators are looking for items they can’t legally have.


Judge Robert Hood temporarily stopped state agents from executing the search warrant on Chow and promised a ruling early next month. Chow, who is Asian, thought the teen stole four bottles of water, but police said surveillance video showed Carmack-Belton picked up the bottles and put them down. Chow and his son chased the teen after he left the store and Chow told investigators he fired a shot after his son told him Carmack-Belton had a gun after the teen fell as he ran. Carmack-Belton was shot once in the back. “You don’t shoot somebody in the back that is not a threat to you,” Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said at the time of the killing.


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