Family Sues Drug Store After Shooting Death
A grieving family has filed a lawsuit against Walgreens after a shooting death occurred within one of their stores. According to the lawsuit, the victim was attempting to steal products from the store when he was stopped by security. Security engaged with the plaintiff and wrestled him to the ground. The plaintiff was able to break free, grab the bag of stolen merchandise and attempt to exit the store. It’s not clear what happened next, but the plaintiff was shot and killed while onlookers watched. The plaintiff was attempting to steal $16 worth of candy. The family is demanding $25 million in damages for the shooting.
The security guard was not charged with any crime and is claiming self-defense. It is not clear, because there is no audio, that the security guard’s claim that the victim threatened to stab him is true. The family of the victim does not believe the guard’s claim. Video surveillance appears to show the victim attempting to leave the store, but then coming back in. This will give the security guard reasonable doubt in a criminal lawsuit, but it still leaves open the possibility that a civil lawsuit could be successful.
Drug store policy of forceful detention
Among the allegations in the lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege that the store instituted a new policy of forcefully detaining any individual who stole from the store. If so, then the plaintiffs may use evidence of this policy to establish the Walgreens’s liability for the death. If they are successful, it may cause the drug store to revisit its policy on forceful detention of those committing petty theft.
In most cases of suspected shoplifting, security should call the police, remember the shoplifter, and prevent them from coming back into the store. A policy of forceful detention can easily backfire when a security guard accuses a person of stealing, and wrestles them to the ground, only to find out that they were wrong. In these cases, a person can be injured or killed based on specious evidence.
Both the drug store and the security company that they employed are named in the lawsuit. The plaintiffs allege that Walgreens’s aggressive policy toward shoplifters resulted in the death. The security company will counter that their worker feared for his own life because he believed the victim had a knife. Walgreens will defend their policy and allege that they have a right to forcibly detain anyone accused of stealing.
Community outrage has spurred protests in support of the victim especially after it was announced that the DA would not pursue criminal charges against the security guard. The family maintains that their loved one was murdered because the security guard was upset over recent retail thefts.
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