Boycott CVS Pharmacy: They Choke Shoplifters to Death
And all he took was toothpaste and a box of crayons.
What is worse, a woman off-duty officer witnessed the choking and did nothing. The black man, Anthony Kyser, an unemployed barber, kept saying that he couldn’t breathe. The murderer is going free, but he’s been suspended by CVS pending an investigation.
No charges have been leveled against those who were responsible.
That’s America, 2010.
The cops are condoning this literal execution. So is CVS. Where is ethics in this case? Where is morality? It’s not like he had stuck up the drugstore with a gun for cash. Justifying the killing of a shoplifter who probably stole less than $5-10 worth of items? I don’t care what his petty crime record was, killing him should have straight up put the employee in the slammer, along with the ones who held him down. The employee took the law into his own hands. And it was NOT accidental. That man was running on rage.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office found that Kyser was strangled to death and ruled it a homicide. But Chicago police determined the death was accidental, saying a store manager put a chokehold on Kyser as he tried to restrain him. The department, though, declined to elaborate further on its decision not to pursue criminal charges.
A spokesman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office said Monday evening that the office had not been formally asked by Chicago police to review the case for charges.
According to a law enforcement source, police didn’t pursue charges against the store manager because there was no obvious indication that he intended to harm the shoplifting suspect.
CVS officials said the company is investigating the employee’s conduct and that he won’t return to work until the probe is completed.
I call bullsh*t entirely on the accidental death claim. I call bullsh*t that he didn’t intend to harm Anthony Kyser. Kyser had slugged him; that was something he should not have dared.
Meanwhile, after lying to the contrary that there wasn’t an officer on the scene who saw what was going on, the Chicago Police Department admitted that someone was there that could have stopped it, but didn’t. From the Chicago Sun Times:
An off-duty Cook County sheriff‘s officer was filmed standing just yards away as a CVS employee strangled a shoplifter Saturday, Chicago Police acknowledged Monday.
A day after Chicago Police said they were unaware of the off-duty correctional officer‘s presence during Anthony Kyser’s final moments, Chicago Police spokeswoman Lt. Maureen Biggane said the officer dialed 911 from the scene and identified herself.
But she did not intervene. She did not stop it.
Shortly before 11 a.m. Saturday, an employee chased Kyser from the store and put him in a choke hold for what seemed like several minutes as three other men held Kyser down in an alley in the 2600 block of South Pulaski, witnesses told the Sun-Times. As the correctional officer pointed a weapon at Kyser and told him to stop struggling, Kyser repeatedly pleaded that he couldn’t breathe, the witnesses said.
Biggane said a surveillance video shows the correctional officer in the alley, speaking on a cell phone, but does not show her pointing a weapon. The officer waited for an ambulance to arrive, but left before uniformed Chicago Police arrived, Biggane said.
Police wouldn’t release the correctional officer’s identity. Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Patterson said there is nothing for the sheriff to investigate, based on Chicago Police’s account of her actions.
But sources who’ve seen the tape say it shows the officer holding a gun behind her back while talking to Kyser as he struggles. The melee began when Kyser punched the employee chasing him, they said.
Two witnesses who live by the alley told the Sun-Times the officer never told the CVS employee to release his hold on Kyser.
His ex-wife can’t even find the place where Kyser died.
Kyser had convictions for drugs and burglary, according to court records.
But [Ann Marie] Balboa, who divorced Kyser in September, said her husband of 5½ years had a good heart and was a dedicated stepfather who taught her three sons to be respectful.
After an hour of searching in the alley, she laid a small bouquet of red flowers and two balloons against a door near where she believed he died.
She was furious over the decision not to pursue charges against the store manager.
“How’s it accidental?” Balboa said. “You’re choking the (expletive) out of somebody. He should be fired. He should be facing criminal charges. You don’t take someone’s life over toothpaste.”
The Chicago Police Department is treating the death as “accidental.”
But calling what happened to Kyser accidental sets a dangerous precedent. While I don’t have any sympathy for thieves, we can’t have store employees running after and choking shoplifters to death.
If the Chicago Police Department appears to sanction such a drastic response, there will likely be more tragic “accidents.”
According to statistics from the National Learning & Resource Center, more than $13 billion worth of goods are stolen from retailers. Twenty-five percent of shoplifters are kids.
And shoplifting has long been used by addicts to raise money needed for drugs.
That certainly appears to be the case with Kyser, an unemployed barber.
Kyser’s family described him as being “up and down” and having had a drug problem, including drug convictions.
Obviously, the Chicago Police Department doesn’t want to penalize the store’s employee for trying to stop a thief.
But even trained police officers have rules governing when they can use deadly force.
Given the city’s spike in violence, police officers are obviously needed to respond to gun crimes.
Still, Kyser did not hide a bomb on a store shelf. He did not try to rob cashiers or store customers at gunpoint.
If he had done any one of those things, I could understand how a courageous CVS employee felt compelled to chase Kyser all the way into an alley.
But Kyser allegedly stole toothpaste — a penny-ante crime that shows how low an addict can sink.
Except for the tragic consequences, the store employee’s response could have been a scene out of the movies Paul Blart: Mall Cop or Observe and Report.
CVS employees should not be chasing shoplifters into the street. The first time someone is injured, and it turns out that person is innocent of any wrongdoing, lawyers are going to have a field day.
I don’t like thieves any more than the next person.
But it should not be open season on petty crooks.
This tragic incident sends the message that when it comes to suspected shoplifters, store employees have the right to take matters into their own hands.
That’s an attitude the police can ill afford.
We are not a city of vigilantes.
We are a city of laws.
No, not in this case, or in cases like it.
I’ve heard of black men getting ten-year stretches for stealing a loaf of bread (not in the 1930s, but within the past couple of decades), but this is more than uncalled for. The man was gasping for breath and struggling because he could not breathe. He was struggling because they were tightening their grips on him. Those men and the murderer were not in danger, although Kyser had punched the manager. Kyser was unarmed. This is murder condoned by the cops on behalf of a corporate entity.
Don’t go in there.
Don’t consider working there.
If you are working there, take your time doing stuff for a while.
Do a slo-mo strike on your own terms.
Go to a competitor.
Go to the next town, if possible.
Why? Because CVS kills shoplifters. They kill black men.
Make it hurt.
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