8/13/2005

Daily Kos: Wal-Mart kills man for allegedly shoplifting diapers

Mr. Driver, 30, was chased into the Wal-Mart parking lot, handcuffed and forced down to the hot pavement for allegedly shoplifting. He died in under 10 minutes once he was in the hands of the Wal-Mart employees.

First off, here is the original Houston Chronicle story.

Driver lived in Cleveland, where his parents own a small business, Lindeman said. Driver was a master carpenter with a 2-month-old son and was about halfway through taking flying courses to get his pilot's license, Lindeman said.

Employees told investigators Driver had walked out the store with a package of diapers, a pair of sunglasses, a BB gun and a package of BBs, Martin said.

Lindeman said otherwise. "It's our belief he was not shoplifting," he said.

More details under the fold.

* auh20's diary :: ::
*

Mr. Driver pleaded for his life to deaf ears.


"About 30 people were saying, 'Let him up, it's too hot,' " Portz said. He said another employee brought a rug for Driver to lie on, but one of those holding Driver said he was fine where he was. "After about five minutes, (Driver) said, 'I'm dying, I can't breathe, call an ambulance,' " Portz said.

Employees struggled with Driver before he was handcuffed, Martin said.

"There was a struggle, and when they finally succeeded after getting him detained in handcuffs, he continued to struggle," Martin said.

After Driver was handcuffed, Portz said one employee had his knee on the man's neck and others were putting pressure on his back.

"Finally the guy stopped moving" and the employees got off him, Portz said. "They wouldn't call an ambulance."

"I looked at him and said, 'Hey, he's not breathing,' but one guy told me (Driver) was just on drugs. I told them his fingernails were all gray, and finally they called an ambulance."

Wal-Mart is unusual in its tactics of chasing alleged shoplifters.


"Most retailers have a policy of not going into a chase or getting into a combative fight with someone," said Joseph LaRocca, vice president of loss prevention for the National Retail Federation.

...

"Most retailers' policies would say that if a person becomes combative, let them go," LaRocca added. "You can tell police, and let the police handle the investigation and follow up."

Walmart is also refusing to discuss their procedures.


Wal-Mart's corporate office has refused to discuss its procedures for detaining and using force against shoplifting suspects in wake of the death of Stacy Clay Driver, 30, on Sunday.

...

Christi Gallagher, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman, declined repeated requests to discuss the retail chain's techniques for apprehending and detaining suspected shoplifters or whether it permits use of force against suspects. "We don't speak publicly about our security measures," she said.

Refused. No apologies, no pledge to change their agressive loss-prevention policies or even a statement their employees went too far. Nobody has been fired.

Wal-Mart apparently has a history of aggressively going after shoplifters.


The company, however, is widely known for its aggressive prosecution of shoplifters, said Sgt. Jeff Stauber of the Sheriff's Department burglary and theft division.

Its aggressiveness also has led to a number of civil lawsuits for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution

Wal-Mart loses millions (perhaps billions) to shoplifting. It's clear where their priorities are. But even then, they are wrong. Costco, who pays their employees well, has reportedly a lower theft rate than Wal-Mart.

Don't let this story go away--recommend this diary. Wal-mart is hoping this story will just disappear. Don't let it happen.

Daily Kos: Wal-Mart kills man for allegedly shoplifting diapers

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