Walmart Employees Charged With Manslaughter In February Death Of Shoplifting Suspect

Image courtesy of Soon Koon

How seriously should retailers take loss prevention? Back in February, a Florida man in his 60s filled a cart with DVDs in the wee hours of the morning, What was different from most incidents was that store employees chased him and pinned him to the ground until police arrived. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital, and police are done investigating the incident, charging the three employees who chased and restrained him with manslaughter.

The three employees charged include a manager, a customer service manager, and a loss prevention officer. All three were arrested last week, and all are suspended from their jobs and their positions are “under review.”

When contacted by the New York Times, a Walmart spokesman didn’t respond to questions about how the employees’ actions fit in the chain’s normal policy on shoplifters, and whether this is the first time that store employees have faced criminal charges for doing something that’s part of their jobs.

According to an affidavit in the case, the trio held the man down for about 10 minutes, pinning him to the ground while he was facedown. He begged them to let him go, later saying that he couldn’t breathe.

They will be arraigned on Aug. 30.

These cases are not as unusual as you might think, but we haven’t heard of one in a long time. A woman in South Carolina died after a run-in with Walmart loss prevention in 2010. Back in 2012, an off-duty deputy working security at a Walmart store shot a shoplifting suspect, who later died. Later the same year, a California man was in “medical distress” and later died after Walmart employees restrained him, and in Georgia during Black Friday, three employees tackled and restrained a man suspected of shoplifting two DVD players, and he later died too.

3 Walmart Employees in Florida Face Charges in Death of Shoplifter [New York Times]

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