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article imageVideo: CVS manager allegedly strangles toothpaste shoplifter

By JohnThomas Didymus     Jan 20, 2013 in Crime
Surveillance footage has surfaced, showing an incident in which the manager of a CVS store in Chicago Pedro Villanova, chases a homeless shoplifter Anthony Kyser, 35, who stole a tube of toothpaste, to an alley and appears to throttle him to death.
DNAinfo.com Chicago reports that a US Congressman Rep. Bobby Rush, is calling for investigation into the death of kyser on May 8, 2010.
The evidence about the circumstances of Kyser's death comes from the grainy surveillance video obtained by DNAinfo.com.
The video appears to show Kyser on the fateful day, May 8, 2010, running down an alley with the store manager in hot pursuit. The manager catches up with the alleged shoplifter and a struggle follows during which Kyser falls to the ground and the manger straddles him. Some bystanders assist the manager to hold Kyeser down as he struggles until eventually his flailing movements cease.
Police officers and an ambulance arrive at the scene soon after. Emergency responders attempt unsuccessfully to revive Kyser.
The video ends with Kyser still lying on the pavement.
DNAinfo.com reports that the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Kyser's death a homicide. But according to Salon, the police department decided not to press criminal charges after investigators concluded it was an accident. The CVS manager told the police that he acted in self-defense after Kyser attacked him.
According to DNAinfo.com, Chicago Police Department spokeswoman Lt. Maureen Biggane, said: "The video was reviewed by detectives as part of their investigation at the time. It was determined that criminal charges were not warranted."
But Kyser's mother, Ann Marie Kyser, filed a lawsuit claiming the store manager committed battery and that CVS is liable.
The case is still pending in Cook County Circuit Court. The video is part of the evidence in the case.
Jack Kennedy, an attorney for the law firm representing Kyser's mother, said: "The video shows that Anthony Kyser was being choked by the CVS store manager and that no one did anything to help. I think it’s appalling that CVS maintains that an employee can choke someone to death if they steal from a CVS store."
According to DNAinfo.com, CVS lawyers argue in court filings that Villanova acted in self-defense after Kyser punched him in the face.
Villanova reportedly acknowledged in a disposition that he "held onto Anthony Kyser on the ground while defending himself after being struck." He said: "As soon as I got hit by Mr. Kyser, that's when it went from I'm here trying to recover the product and he can leave to all of a sudden he just punched me, so now I need to defend myself."
Villanova reportedly admitted that his "arm came into contact with decedent Anthony Kyser's throat" and that Kyser cried: "I can't breathe."
US Rep. Bobby Rush, who took interest in the case and demanded that Cook County officials take action for the "brutality visited upon a homeless man," has renewed his call for justice after seeing the video. He said: "This videotape... presents an undeniable moment where [his] life was snatched from him. Thank God for the videotape."
There have been several cases of store security officers killing shoplifters fleeing the scene of crime. Salon reports that last December, a deputy police officer for Wal-Mart security, shot and killed Shelley Frey, a shoplifter at a North Houston store as she tried to drive away with the goods she had stolen.
Also in November, three Wal-Mart employees killed a shoplifter after an "altercation" at the parking lot.
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