Friday, May 14, 2010

The Chicago way

This seems a wee bit bit excessive no? 

The act by the store employee.  That's who.

CVS Shoplifter Death Now An 'Active' Investigation

Pressure Escalating On Police, Prosecutors To Probe Circumstances Of Homicide

Chicago (CBS) No one is denying what he might have done was wrong: allegedly stuffing crayons and toothpaste into his pockets and shoplifting.

But the fact that Anthony Kyser was killed after he was caught, and allegedly choked by a store employee -- with an off-duty sheriff's officer watching it happen -- continues to hit a nerve.

CBS 2's Kristyn Hartman reports.

Chicago congressman Bobby Rush calls it a case of political hot potato. First he sent a letter about Kyser to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. He says that office put it off on police. So he sent a letter to the police, accusing the department of ignoring a homicide. Kyser's ex-wife believes that to be true.

Ann Marie Balboa said she wants justice served.

"I want the man that killed my ex-husband to pay for what he did," she said.

It was Saturday morning at a Chicago CVS Pharmacy. Police say Kyser shoplifted. A store employee went after him and made a citizen's arrest – putting him in a choke hold. Published reports say Kyser resisted. He later died. The medical examiner ruled it a homicide.

The police initially said it was accident. But the department late Thursday issued a statement saying it has an "active" investigation open.

Balboa heard from witnesses.

"They didn't have to choke him the way he did and when he's pleading for his life," she said. "I want the man to be charged with murder."

Balboa says things may have turned out differently if her ex-husband had been white.

She's not alone. Rush sent a letter to Superintendent Jody Weis and says his department is ignoring murder.

"A man's civil and human rights were violated. He lost his life," Rush said. "Though Mr. Kyser was only suspected of shoplifting, we have something in this country called due process."

If there is no action on the case, Rush says he might ask the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division to investigate.

CBS 2 legal analyst Irv Miller has said when a suspect runs, an employee has a right to chase him and subdue him in a reasonable way. He could face charges only if it's an intentional, reckless act.

Chicago police on Thursday said they are in communication with Cook County prosecutors.

"We are committed to ensuring the proper resolution of this investigation in accordance with our responsibilities under the law," the police department said in a written statement.