Walmart shoplifter dies after struggle with staff

Nothing says “the holidays” like death and mayhem at America’s mega-stories over Black Friday weekend.

While there have been the usual reports of madness by shoppers at Walmart, this story is sad for many reasons.  (It also does help Walmart to have even more negative news after Friday’s Black Friday protests.)

I had been under the impression that employees were not supposed to chase alleged shoplifters for exactly this reason. If something goes wrong, the employees are faced with high legal costs (and possibly more), as are the stores.

Besides lousy pay and benefits, the Walmart employees are now going to have to find the money to defend themselves, regardless of how the alleged shoplifter died. Even if they did nothing wrong, this is going to be expensive, and Walmart is not known for its generosity to its employees.

The situation may change if it turns out that the local store pressured workers to take aggressive action but as it stands today, Walmart is in full CYA mode, repeating their policy to not pursue alleged shoplifters in such circumstances.

This is sad all around.

According to a police report obtained by Channel 2 Action News, the incident happened at the Walmart on Fairington Road in Lithonia. The police report said that about 1:30 a.m. Sunday, a middle aged man was caught shoplifting two DVD players.

He exited the front door of the store and three employees caught him in the parking lot, where a physical altercation took place while they detained him.

When police arrived, they found the employees on top of the man. The officer put the man in handcuffs and said he noticed there was no resistance from him.

Police say one of the employees put the shoplifter in a choke hold.  According to the video, below, Walmart is saying the security guard, who accompanied two employees to confront the shoplifter, will no longer be providing services to Walmart. That may be a CYA move by Walmart, but it also sounds somewhat like an admission of guilt.

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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