The Shark Jumps The Shark?
August 13, 2005 2:59 PM   Subscribe

Walmart Murders Customer In Broad Daylight? They thought he shoplifted something, so they tackled him and held him down, shirtless, against the hot pavement...for ten minutes, he begged for his life and the 30-strong crowd did too...and when his heart finally stopped, the Walmart employees didn't even try to give him CPR. Somehow, this changes the discussion.
posted by effugas (99 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't expect that walmart employees are -trained- in CPR. That being said, looks pretty bloody doubtful that they tried that.

The paramedics appear to have been first on the scene, so obviously the employees knew there was a problem. Otherwise the police would likely have been there first, I'd guess.
posted by Kickstart70 at 3:12 PM on August 13, 2005


Wow, Texass idjits and Wal-Mart idjits rolled up into one story. The only good that could come of this is if the family sues Wal-Mart's ass for so much the chain goes bankrupt.

My sympathies to his family.
posted by NorthernLite at 3:14 PM on August 13, 2005


I'm all for corporate responsibilty and a corporate death penalty, but not because these particular employees are thugs that should be in prison.
posted by MillMan at 3:19 PM on August 13, 2005


IMO, the only appropriate tribute to the late Mr. Driver would be a Mass Wal-Mart Shop-Out, at which AT MINIMUM a hundred demonstrators at each store simultaneously pick out a dollar-or-less item from the checkstand displays, walk out the front door and drop everything at the outer edge of the parking lot...

But then, I've always had a flair for showmanship.

(one second thought, make that 200 minimum...)
posted by wendell at 3:26 PM on August 13, 2005


What's not surprising, and disappointing, is that no one else called the police.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:28 PM on August 13, 2005


I like it, wendell. BTW, I agree with MillMan, the villain(s) in this story is the security gestapo, not the evil corporation. This same level of overzealous fraud prevention could have taken place at a much less traditionally evil place (like Target or K Mart) with no surprise.
posted by jonson at 3:29 PM on August 13, 2005


Jonson--

But it couldn't, because no other company risks physically detaining shoplifters. Meanwhile Walmart has a history of being sued for false imprisonment.

Kirk--

Thus the link to Kitty Genovece. About the same sized crowd, too.

Wendell--

I'm not really willing to walk into a place that reserves the right to kill me.
posted by effugas at 3:32 PM on August 13, 2005


It's one thing to catch a suspected thief, it's another to kill somebody over BBs and diapers.

If I were there watching I'd have lost my patience; I wonder why people in the crowd didn't rescue him. I can easily picture myself caving some security guard's head in for not getting off him fast enough. (It's shit like this that makes me forget what a sweet gentle person I am.)

If I were Stalin I'd have those Wal-Mart employees disciplined in the same way they killed him. On TV. Come to think of it, that sounds like a line from a Western movie: "I sentence you to be held face-down on blistering asphalt until you are dead."
posted by davy at 3:36 PM on August 13, 2005 [1 favorite]


What are BBs?
posted by nthdegx at 3:38 PM on August 13, 2005


But if they don't kill shoplifters, then they'll have to raise prices!!!!
posted by Citizen Premier at 3:38 PM on August 13, 2005


I've seen mall security do despicable things, but since it usually happened to the neighbourhood drunk or punk teenagers nobody usually said a thing while they were having their necks stood on by overgrown powertripping cowboys.
posted by dreamsign at 3:44 PM on August 13, 2005


What are BBs?

Ammunition for BB guns.
posted by Carol O at 3:51 PM on August 13, 2005


What's up with the Kitty Genovese link?
posted by caddis at 3:53 PM on August 13, 2005


She was also killed while people sat on their asses.
posted by shoos at 3:56 PM on August 13, 2005


38 people stood around while Kitty was murdered.

30 people stood around Stacy. Nobody called the cops, or directly intervened. The question is: What happened, and what should have happened?

One Texan making use of his concealed carry permit and Stacy would be alive.

I don't think this is as heinous as the Kitty Genovese case. But it still forces us to ask uncomfortable questions, that I do sort of need answers to.
posted by effugas at 3:58 PM on August 13, 2005


Handcuffs?

They allow shopstaff to apply handcuffs? Are they gonna get away with this?
posted by dash_slot- at 3:59 PM on August 13, 2005


NorthernLite : "Wow, Texass idjits and Wal-Mart idjits rolled up into one story."

Well, statistically, if 5 guards held the guy on the ground, and 30 people yelled at them to stop, Texans are far more non-idjits than idjits.

effugas : "But it couldn't, because no other company risks physically detaining shoplifters."

Wha? When did that happen?
posted by Bugbread at 4:03 PM on August 13, 2005


That's not murder, it's manslaughter at worst. It's bad enough without embellishment.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:07 PM on August 13, 2005


the villain(s) in this story is the security gestapo, not the evil corporation
This isn't exactly the first time security for a big chain store has killed somebody. I think the retail business has a good idea what they want done when a store has a shoplifting problem, and it isn't hiring nice guys with no criminal record to quietly hand shoplifters over to the police.
posted by queen zixi at 4:09 PM on August 13, 2005


I really hate the atmosphere created by the big box stores with their security staff. I believe they are getting their adrenalin thrills by using hunting techniques on the innocent but profiled customers/prey. I shop online more and search for the stores that don't make me feel so icky.
posted by JohnR at 4:10 PM on August 13, 2005


This sort of thing happened in New Orleans a few months ago.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 4:14 PM on August 13, 2005


Yes, shopstaff can carry handcuffs. If they're the store's security, that is. A friend of mine used to work security at Target, and only needed minimal training to get the job. And their policy did allow him to chase down, tackle, and handcuff shoplifters. They also had a "holding" room where he could interrogate shoplifters or simply scare the crap out of them while they waited for the police. Preventing shrinkage is a lot like hunting, and I imagine there is a certain thrill to it that would lead to many an over-zealous security guard.

It's a shame nobody tried to stop security even when Driver was begging to be let up and saying he couldn't breathe. They deserve the worst the law can allow.
posted by kindle at 4:20 PM on August 13, 2005


Nice Jonson. Every since you've become wealthy you seem to be much more apt to defend the evil corporations. Next you'll be saying if he hadn't been shoplifting he would still be alive!!
Now you kids get out of my garden!
posted by grumpyoldman at 4:29 PM on August 13, 2005


I have two words for Wal-Mart: respondeat superior.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 4:30 PM on August 13, 2005


Yeah, the "security" people need to be charged with manslaughter. It's possible that at least one of them should be charged with murder. The story indicates that an employee brought out a rug for Driver to lie on top of and one of the goons said that he was fine on the pavement. That, to me, smacks of murder in the second degree.

I don't understand why the crowd of 30 people didn't intervene. I like to think that in that situation I would have. Who knows.
posted by Justinian at 4:30 PM on August 13, 2005


Did this happen because it occurred at a large corporation? Or is it because more people now work for large corporations? Or is it because we have a generation raised on the show "Cops"? Or is it all of the above, none of the above, or what? My point is that it seems pretty simplistic and mobbish to emphasize it happened at Wal-Mart. What are the training policies for security at Wal-Mart? What about the security guards themselves? maybe they were more "zealous" than necessary and maybe that had nothing to do with the fact that they worked at Wal-Mart.
Also, on the "psycopathic corporation" meme, meh .. any sufficiently large organization has the same characteristics. Blaming corporations for a human phenomenon seems bizarre to me. Especially since corporations compared to other comparably large organizations (government, religious, etc) seems quite tame.
posted by forforf at 4:36 PM on August 13, 2005


Customer service has really plummeted in this country, I'll tell you what.
posted by maxsparber at 4:38 PM on August 13, 2005


I don't understand why the crowd of 30 people didn't intervene.

Google for "Bystander Effect".
posted by Jairus at 4:42 PM on August 13, 2005


I'm wondering how long it'll be before someone chimes in with:

"While what Wal-Mart did was wrong, you're not taking into acount (some petty thing designed to make us feel better about the big W)."
posted by JHarris at 4:45 PM on August 13, 2005


Forforf: Why the "scare" quotes around the word zealous? They mob-tackled a guy, handcuffed him, and forced him face down - shirtless - on blisteringly hot concrete while one kneeled on his neck. They repeatedly ignored his pleas, even to the point of refusing to call an ambulance or give aid until someone pointed out that he was, essentially, dead.

Jairus: I'm familiar with it. One single person taking action usually leads to others following his lead. I've intervened a few times in not all that similar situations, but enough to realize that all it takes is one person actually doing something.
posted by Justinian at 4:47 PM on August 13, 2005


Shop at Wal-Mart and die!

How depressing that he died for suspicion of shoplifting, he's gonna get no respect in the afterlife. But the Wal-Mart employees should be held fully accountable for their gross overreaction.
posted by fenriq at 4:51 PM on August 13, 2005


The Shark Jumps the Shark??
posted by Edible Energy at 4:51 PM on August 13, 2005


Google for "Bystander Effect".

Nah. Just wait. Someone else will do it and post here if they think it is serious enough.
posted by srboisvert at 4:53 PM on August 13, 2005


I say charge the guards with murder and let them plea-bargain down to manslaughter. Then send them to join the general population in prison, letting their new peers know what they're in for.

And by the way, I just found something that, instead of starting a new thread, I'll tack here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_communism

And re: Jairus' suggestion, "The bystander effect (also known as bystander apathy) is a psychological phenomenon where persons are less likely to intervene in an emergency situation when others are present than when they are alone." Quoted from, of course, Wikipedia. (Hi srboisvert!)
posted by davy at 4:55 PM on August 13, 2005


To take a hint from monju bosatsu, from dictionary.law.com: respondeat superior (rehs-pond-dee-at superior) n. Latin for "let the master answer," a key doctrine in the law of agency, which provides that a principal (employer) is responsible for the actions of his/her/its agent (employee) in the "course of employment." Thus, an agent who signs an agreement to purchase goods for his employer in the name of the employer can create a binding contract between the seller and the employer. Another example: if a delivery truck driver negligently hits a child in the street, the company for which the driver works will be liable for the injuries.

More on this via Google.
posted by davy at 5:08 PM on August 13, 2005


I don't know that I'd call this manslaughter. There's a fundamental aspect of the amount of time involved -- even second degree murder involves limited timeframes for consideration. Here we have:
  • External notification of unacceptable risk (the crowd)
  • Internal notification of unacceptable risk (the coworker)
  • Direct notification of unacceptable risk (someone pleading for their life)
  • No apparent attempt to prevent the victim's death -- forget CPR, the guy didn't even lift him off the pavement and put him on his back.
The reason this situation bothers me is that -- well, I've been working for corporations my entire career, and I've never really given all that much credence to the psychopath theory. But this is clearly sociopathic, psychopathic behavior, and it was done on the company dime for the company benefit. That's fundamentally scary.

forforf -- that's the thing. Both governments and religions both speak of the public good. Corporate types very much cling to -- the duty of a company is to increase revenue for its shareholders. That philosophy may get buried with Stacy.

srboisvert -- golf clap.

bug -- I didn't realize Target had similar policies. I was going on the story that said the association of retailers actively recommended not using physical force.
posted by effugas at 5:11 PM on August 13, 2005


Oh, and we have an eight minute timeframe -- plenty of time to back off and, er, not kill the guy. Think how long eight minutes is.
posted by effugas at 5:13 PM on August 13, 2005


effugas, in this case, eight minutes was a lifetime.
posted by fenriq at 5:27 PM on August 13, 2005


Did they take out an insurance policy on him first?
posted by Jairus at 5:30 PM on August 13, 2005


reading this has made me physically ill.
posted by nola at 5:33 PM on August 13, 2005


God, and he didn't even have the decency to be wearing a thick coat and looking like an Arab so we could all say he deserved it. Selfish prick.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:42 PM on August 13, 2005


for what its worth, when i worked retail (electronics boutique) we were instructed explicitly to not pursue shop lifters. if they exit the store. we could tell them to stop and insist that they drop whatever merchandise they were carrying, but if they decided not to listen, we were told to call police instead.
posted by braksandwich at 5:43 PM on August 13, 2005


brak--

Walmart's customer base is massive but generally poor, while the company's per-item profit margins are so thin, that I can very much imagine them having a stricter policy. After all, are the cops really going to track down a shoplifter?
posted by effugas at 5:47 PM on August 13, 2005


Maybe the guy was acting out a scene from "Raising Arizona?"
posted by ColdChef at 5:49 PM on August 13, 2005


Whew!
Finally wised up. Didn't read the FPP. Just the comments.
posted by notreally at 5:49 PM on August 13, 2005


effugas - Isn't intent usually one of the key points in a first degree murder charge? That's why I mentioned second degree. The goons clearly had a reckless disregard for the victim's life, but they didn't actually intend to kill him. Davy probably has it about right: charge 'em with second degree murder and let them plea down to manslaughter to avoid a trial

All based on the facts in the article, of course. There could be factors we aren't aware of. I'm not sure what sort of mitigating factors there could possibly be unless the article is an outright fabrication, but you never know.

If I were the man's family, I would be looking at a multibillion dollar lawsuit against Walmart. Not because I wanted the money but to make them pay. The company is absolutely responsible for the actions of their employees if those actions are not obviously in breach of company policy. If the goons are carrying handcuffs, it is clearly company policy to chase and apprehend shoplifters.

This is not anti-Walmart. I'd say the same about any other company. Walmart just has more $$$ so it would take billions of dollars before they even felt a sting.
posted by Justinian at 6:00 PM on August 13, 2005


1. What the security guards did was terrible and worthy of severe punishment, including criminal charges.

2. Wal-Mart will be, and should be, liable for what the guards did. And if Wal-Mart somehow encouraged this kind of conduct via policies or training, they are at risk of a big punitive damages award.

3. All of this has nothing whatsoever to do with whether corporations are good or evil.

4. That said, Wal-Mart sucks.
posted by brain_drain at 6:07 PM on August 13, 2005


5. And corporations are evil.
posted by maxsparber at 6:12 PM on August 13, 2005


Holy crap.

At least this isn't systemic to WalMart the way torture in Iraq and Afghanistan detention centers is.

Right guys? I mean, WalMart hasn't set some sort of secret policy of shoplifter torture to prevent more shoplifting have they?
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:22 PM on August 13, 2005


I'm all for Wal Mart taking it firmly on the financial chin for this one, in addition to the security guards being tried for 2nd degree murder or manslaughter.
I'm by no means a legal expert, but if you've got a situation where you've got several security people on one person, surrounded by thirty other persons that it seems obvious the shoplifting suspect is going nowhere.
They really should have used their heads and got the guy off the pavement as soon as they could.
I mean they had enough security people there they could have picked the guy up and carried him back into the store.
Shameful, deeply shameful. I have no sympathy for Wal Mart or the security employees whatsoever.
I have even less sympathy for the corporate legal team who will try to gloss over this and sweep it under the rug.
posted by mk1gti at 6:23 PM on August 13, 2005


Something I don't know, and I'd like to know more about: What exactly are the rules about how much force a privately operated security guard can apply? With the police, or other government agencies, it's clearly the power of the State and invokes certain rights on the part of the citizen. To what degree can some corporation assume that kind of state power, just by hiring someone and calling them a "security guard"? And what sorts of legal protections does a private citizen have against such power? How much of the same protections apply as a citizen interacting with the police, and how many of those are trumped by the fact that the citizen is presumably on the private property of the corporation that hired the security guard?
posted by Chanther at 6:24 PM on August 13, 2005


That article is a bit sketchy, leaving much to the imagination, as many here have shown. tsk tsk
posted by mischief at 6:45 PM on August 13, 2005


mischief writes "That article is a bit sketchy, leaving much to the imagination"

Well it does mention this:

Wal-Mart employees referred calls to the Harris County Sheriff's Department, where homicide detectives are investigating the death.

"We're just not able to provide any comment at this time ... ," said Christi Gallagher, spokeswoman at Wal-Mart's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.


If Wal-Mart wants to get its own message out, it should at least attempt to do so. Otherwise people will tend to fill in the blanks by themselves.
posted by clevershark at 7:02 PM on August 13, 2005


This has happened in Toronto as well. Patrick Shand was killed by incompetent security at a Loblaws store - a large Canadian grocery store chain.

Police and security in our society are becoming less respectful and more brutal, and it kills people. Sad...
posted by Chuckles at 7:24 PM on August 13, 2005


I would be surprised if Wal-Mart says much of anything.

If they admit wrongdoing, that's not good for the pending civil suit.

If they deny wrongdoing, then it's shown that they had flawed procedures, training or management, then that's not good either.
posted by mosch at 7:25 PM on August 13, 2005


forforf -- that's the thing. Both governments and religions both speak of the public good. Corporate types very much cling to -- the duty of a company is to increase revenue for its shareholders. That philosophy may get buried with Stacy

I disagree that corporations are inherently different. Governments espouse to work in the interest of people they rule/represent (i.e. taxpayers). Religions espouse to work in the interests of those that attend the church (and donate). Corporations work in the interest of people that buy into the company.

Also brain_drain's 4 points nailed it.
posted by forforf at 7:39 PM on August 13, 2005


I'm trying to see this from the security guards' point of view. I don't believe they thought "let's see if we can kill this guy and get away with it". I don't think the guards had even an inkling that hot asphalt could be anything more than extremely uncomfortable. So when the bystanders and the suspect all asked the guards to let him up, the guards simply thought they were being wussies and chose to continue to inflict as much pain and punishment as they thought they could legally get away with. From this intent, they're guilty of being cruel, somewhat sociopathic bastards, but not murderers.

Then when I consider the corporation's culpability, it seems they contributed by not screening out the sociopathy of these guards (though it's not clear how a company should do that), and they set policy that encouraged physical restraint of suspected shoplifters. I don't think anyone could have imagined that this policy would result in death.

It strikes me that nobody intended harm beyond the pain of contact with hot asphalt, and it is not clear that there was a "failure to exercise the degree of care considered reasonable under the circumstances, resulting in an unintended injury to another party" which would be required to establish negligence and therefore make this homicide a case of manslaughter. Because a reasonable person does not expect that contact with hot asphalt would be life-threatening, I suspect the Court will not even pursue a manslaughter conviction.

This'll probably end up in civil court, with the deceased's family members going after the security guards and the deep pockets of Wal-Mart too. Because of the cruelty and deep pockets involved, I bet the family gets a fat pre-trial settlement from Wal-Mart (deserved or not) because the risk of an emotionally charged trial in front of a jury is too great.
posted by gregor-e at 8:01 PM on August 13, 2005


There is a great CBC Radio: Ideas series called In Search of Security, at least one episode is directly related to Chanther's questions.

Here is a brief description of the series, and here is a tiny little clip from the episode on surveillance. I might be able to dig up a little more info if people are interested - email in profile.
posted by Chuckles at 8:16 PM on August 13, 2005


True story: once I was at a Longs drugs in Cal and witnessed a shoplifter make a run for it. He was caught by a couple store workers, but he struggled to get away. Every store employee at the front of the store went out front to tackle the guy. Really, about 8-10 people hanging on this guy to try to get him to stay put. What did I do? I took the 6-pack of beer I was gonna purchase and walked out of the store without paying. Seemed right, somehow.
posted by telstar at 8:17 PM on August 13, 2005


Police and security in our society are becoming less respectful and more brutal

Compared to when, exactly? The labor riots of the late 1800s/early 1900s? The civil rights struggle of the 1960s? I mean, do you have any evidence to back that up, or are we just supposed to accept it as given that police are becoming more brutal these days?

This is a horrible story, and the issue of cops and private security companies abusing their power is a big one, but let's keep the discussion at least partially grounded in facts, eh?
posted by mediareport at 8:21 PM on August 13, 2005


There's no way that the security guys will be convicted of anything more serious involuntary manslaughter. They didn't intend to kill him, and I doubt that a prosecutor could prove that they were reckless in their behavior - at least not beyond a reasonable doubt. Involuntary manslaughter, at most - and probably probation for that.

His poor family...
posted by elquien at 8:29 PM on August 13, 2005


Something similar happened in 2000 in metro Detroit, a man was killed outside Lord & Taylor. He wasn't even the suspected shoplifter in that case, it was his kids. The guard used a sleeper hold on the guy and he died.

I'm afraid I don't have anything to add to this aside from a little context...
posted by revgeorge at 9:02 PM on August 13, 2005


Those of you who really want to see Walmart screwed should push for a manslaughter conviction for the corporate entity instead of the security guards. A felony conviction would damage its credit rating, bond status, and stock price and would make Walmart ineligible for many government contracts.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 9:15 PM on August 13, 2005


There's probably a security tape of the parking lot that will reveal the truth for the jury to render a verdict. Hopefully it won't be the death penalty, but then again, we may have to send a strong response to our trading partners in China that we got the message..
posted by hal9k at 9:16 PM on August 13, 2005


So, Mr. Driver took a few low cost items to a walmart and got them stickered at the door indicating that he brought them in for return. He was then observed leaving the store with different items bearing stickers. Employees attempted to detain him. He ran and fought. The final outcome was bad.

I can see several points at which Mr. Driver's choices affected his fate. He planned to steal, and then he stole. The sticker switch scam isn't a spur of the moment surrender to temptation. It's a thought out, planned theft. When he knew he was caught at it, he ran and fought.

If he had gone to the store intending to pay for what he wanted, which was apparently a toy, and had done so, no one would have tried to detain him as he was leaving.

If he had waited for the police when asked to do so, he would have sat in a chair in an office until the police arrived and he was taken into custody.

If he was innocent of shoplifting, either the police or the judge could have figured it out and let him go. If he was guilty, it would have been a puny misdemeanor charge.

Everyone is acting like this guy is some poor schmo who was randomly attacked and killed. He was a shoplifter. He certainly didn't deserve to be killed for shoplifting, but he certainly put the whole chain of events in motion.

What if Mr. Driver had killed one of the Walmart employees he fought with? Would that be a big story? Lots of outrage against the shoplifting community?
posted by Obvious Fakename at 9:23 PM on August 13, 2005


mediareport, how could I have evidence to back it up? However, I think you are arguing semantics rather than considering what I intended to say.

At least three cases (on preview, four) of private security killing people have been cited in this thread alone, all of them within the last ten years. I don't think you will find many historical examples of that.

As for police... If your point is that police have never used their powers appropriately I don't suppose I would care to argue - they never have. I do think that the post war status quo has changed in the last ten or fifteen years. For example, I don't think anti nuclear activists faced The Miami Model. Forgive me, but I don't think the best way to diffuse a tense situation is to add more intimidation, which is the reason Toronto's police uniforms turned from light blue to black in recent years (sorry, can't find a link...).

Perhaps it isn't simply more police brutality, perhaps it is that questionable police tactics have been institutionalized and endorsed in a different way.
posted by Chuckles at 9:24 PM on August 13, 2005


So, if threatened by store security, there is reasonable cause to fear for one's life, and take appropriate action. Given the pleas of the victim and the crowd, clearly the guards intended to cause pain. We call this torture. Walmart sponsored torture. Of course, in America these days, torture seems in fashion, in certain circles. Or folks just following the example of the political leadership.
posted by Goofyy at 9:28 PM on August 13, 2005


I once watched two security goons at an Army & Navy (sort of a thrift/surplus store in Canada) take a female shoplifter's head and bounce it off a light pole. I was watching from a window, so there wasn't much I could do. After speaking with police they said that my viewpoint (other side from where her head hit) was not likely to be taken seriously for charges against the goons. The woman apparently was not severely hurt.
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:39 PM on August 13, 2005


What if Mr. Driver had killed one of the Walmart employees he fought with? Would that be a big story? Lots of outrage against the shoplifting community?

There's a 'shoplifting community'?
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:40 PM on August 13, 2005


Obvious Fakename: If he had gone to the store intending to pay for what he wanted, which was apparently a toy, and had done so, no one would have tried to detain him as he was leaving.

I don't know about that. I spent half an hour convincing security that my pockets really were empty after window shopping.

Everyone is acting like this guy is some poor schmo who was randomly attacked and killed. He was a shoplifter. He certainly didn't deserve to be killed for shoplifting, but he certainly put the whole chain of events in motion.

Regardless of whether he put the events in motion, it does not change the fact that he died while handcuffed and in custody. The crime he may or may not have committed is entirely irrelevant.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:51 PM on August 13, 2005


At least three cases (on preview, four) of private security killing people have been cited in this thread alone, all of them within the last ten years. I don't think you will find many historical examples of that.

Try Pnkerton's and Baldwin-Felts - they were well known for it during labor unrest in the early 20th century. Somewhat different context, but dead shoplifters don't usually make it into later history books, unless they spark riots.
posted by dilettante at 10:05 PM on August 13, 2005


Thanks Obvious Fakename, I was waiting for that.

(sighing)
posted by JHarris at 10:33 PM on August 13, 2005


KirkJobSluder- I was thinking of posting something similar to Obvious Fakename's post. Sure the security guards appear to have gotten carried away, but Obvious Fakename makes a valid point in that there are several points in this change of unfortunate events where Driver made very poor decisions that led to his death. Someone else killed him, sure enough, but he put himself in that situation. As someone raising two sons, I point this sort of stuff out to them in the hopes that they will not make similar decisions.
posted by Doohickie at 10:47 PM on August 13, 2005


change of events? chain. CHAIN. (damn.)
posted by Doohickie at 10:48 PM on August 13, 2005


I can see several points at which Mr. Driver's choices affected his fate. He planned to steal, and then he stole. The sticker switch scam isn't a spur of the moment surrender to temptation. It's a thought out, planned theft. When he knew he was caught at it, he ran and fought.


So I guess you have no problem with WalMart employees determining your guilt and chasing you down. You have absolute faith in the ability of an employee being paid 7 bucks an hour to observe you, ascertain, beyond a reasonable doubt that you are stealing and then act accordingly. You're completely OK with that.

What if the WalMart employee was mistaken? What if Mr. Driver stole nothing? What if he just panicked when he realized people were chasing him? IT'S NOT LIKE THAT HASN'T HAPPENED RECENTLY.

Gah. You disgust me. I'm not surprised that you spent five bucks to post such trollish drivel. You're a moron.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 10:55 PM on August 13, 2005


Sure the security guards appear to have gotten carried away, but Obvious Fakename makes a valid point in that there are several points in this change of unfortunate events where Driver made very poor decisions that led to his death.

Driver made poor decisions which should have led to, at the very most, security guards wrassling him to the ground, cuffing him, and detaining him inside the store. If that was the extent to which he was treated after alleged shoplifting and running away, then yeah, he would have gotten what was coming to him. The poor decisions he made should have led to something far less serious than death.

The chain of events that ended up with someone being killed was started by the security guards.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:00 PM on August 13, 2005


This is different from the London Police non-terrorist shooting because of what was at stake. In the first case, police were attempting to prevent murder. In the second, shoplifting...

If the first case was an over-reaction then what's this, an insane over-reaction?
posted by scheptech at 12:09 AM on August 14, 2005


None of Mr. Drivers choices led to his death. The decisions of the "security" personnel lead to his death. These people were deliberately negligent. If they really had no idea at all that what they were doing was dangerous then I would suspect them to be far too undereducated to be in their jobs. They should at least be punished for being stupid, but more ideally for murder/manslaughter because that is the crime they committed.
posted by MrBobaFett at 12:13 AM on August 14, 2005


gregor-e writes "I don't believe they thought 'let's see if we can kill this guy and get away with it'."

I'm sure a drunk driver doesn't explicitly set out to cause an accident that kills an innocent bystander, but if that happens anyway he will have to go to jail.
posted by clevershark at 12:22 AM on August 14, 2005


I just don't think there's enough respect for how much time elapsed here.

Eight minutes. Eight minutes is several eternities. The entire Amadou Diallo event involved maybe thirty seconds -- all of four of which involved the guy getting killed. Eight minutes is long enough to calm down and think about what you're doing. Eight minutes is long enough to pay attention to the crowd, to the coworkers, to the man who actually has time to say -- you are killing me, someone get an ambulance. Eight minutes is long enough for a coworker to go get a manager instead of a rug, and is long enough for you to put the guy on the rug instead of murdering him on the pavement.

Eight minutes is long enough to realize the pavement is indeed hot enough to kill. Eight minutes is long enough to decide you don't care.

I'm sorry, you don't get to put this in the category of manslaughter. This wasn't a drunk driver. This wasn't someone without a shred of malicious intent. This guard did precisely what he wanted to do, and was told precisely what would happen, and he did it anyway, minute after minute.

Stop. Sit there for ten seconds. Just do nothing.

Imagine doing that eighteen times. That's how long Stacy Driver lived after informing his murderer he would die. Eighteen times. There are thousands of drunk drivers, convicted of involuntary manslaughter, who would do almost anything to have had eighteen times the split second they couldn't react in -- and this guy had eighteen times ten seconds.

Walmart never set out to kill anyone. This I believe is true. But if this guy has a single violent takedown in his employment past at Walmart -- they knew what he was up to, they knew what he was capable of, and frankly, they appreciated the fear he struck in the heart of shoplifters. And even if he didn't, unless there's direct enforcement against this kind of behavior -- he was learning by example.

Now, the flip side is if this is completely and utterly antithetical to what WalMart accepts, and if they have a history of firing people who overstep the bounds of safety -- well, then it's just this guy, and I'd say it's not WalMart's fault. If I can assign blame, I must create conditions of innocence. Lets see if such conditions arise (I doubt they will).
posted by effugas at 2:03 AM on August 14, 2005


> There's a 'shoplifting community'?

Why yes there is. Right here on Metafilter.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:16 AM on August 14, 2005


Doohickie: I was thinking of posting something similar to Obvious Fakename's post. Sure the security guards appear to have gotten carried away, but Obvious Fakename makes a valid point in that there are several points in this change of unfortunate events where Driver made very poor decisions that led to his death.

In what way is it reasonable to say that driver was in control of the chain of events during the 8 minutes he was handcuffed and face down on the asphalt?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:28 AM on August 14, 2005


Obvious Fakename: And did you see the way he was dressed? He was begging for it!

...perhaps it's time to outsource Iraq interrogations to Wal-Mart?
posted by klangklangston at 6:51 AM on August 14, 2005


If he had gone to the store intending to pay for what he wanted, which was apparently a toy, and had done so, no one would have tried to detain him as he was leaving.

Sure--blame the victim.

He didn't lock his garage so he deserved to have his house burned down.

She was wearing shorts so she was just asking to get raped.

He shoplifted at WalMart so he was at fault in his death.

Sheesh--I believe in taking responsibility for one's actions but this seems a little harsh for shoplifting.
posted by leftcoastbob at 7:30 AM on August 14, 2005


Before you agree that the alleged shoplifter caused his own problems, I suggest that you drive to an asphalt parking lot on a cloudless day when the temperature is 95+ degrees, take off your shirt, and lay face down on the pavement for eight minutes to perhaps gain a little perspective.

Whatever happened to "Innocent until PROVEN guilty" in this country?
posted by Enron Hubbard at 7:58 AM on August 14, 2005


No pictures? What, do only we have cameras?
posted by NortonDC at 8:07 AM on August 14, 2005


"Next you'll be saying if he hadn't been shoplifting he would still be alive!!"

If he could run a little faster, he'd still be alive.
posted by sfenders at 8:58 AM on August 14, 2005


I don't think you will find many historical examples of that.

dilletante beat me to it, but I'll add a "you've got to be kidding" into the mix. Private security goons killing people in outrageous situations is as American as apple pie. It goes *way* way back.

how could I have evidence to back it up?

If you don't have evidence to back up broad, hyperbolic generalizations about history, perhaps not making them would be a start?
posted by mediareport at 10:28 AM on August 14, 2005


Ha, a quip from Norton and a link to a Cardoso thread. I'm getting a weird sense of nostalgia.
posted by elwoodwiles at 10:59 AM on August 14, 2005


"He made me kill him" fits nicely with the psychopathic profile.
posted by 31d1 at 11:50 AM on August 14, 2005


We need a notion of equivelency between acts of individuals and acts of corperations. Most likeky, this was an act by an individual security guard, who should get a 2nd degree murder or manslaughter conviction for this.

However, *if* this is the direct result of WalMart policies, WalMart *ought* get a manslaughter conviction for this, and WalMart should get the jail time. What would that mean? Perhaps the cort should auction off 30ish year leases on all their stores & assets. Needless to say this would handle most envirmental and safety issues nicely too.

Back in the real world where individuals are punnished far more harshly then corperations, I hope they have to fork over a few tens of millions to the family.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:43 PM on August 14, 2005


yaknow, if corporation really are treated (legally) as "people" then yes, I'd like to see something like the wal-mart corp face a 2nd degree murder or manslaughter charge. It would be interesting.
posted by dabitch at 4:25 AM on August 15, 2005


Yikes. I hope we hear a follow-up to this dreadful story.
posted by agregoli at 12:11 PM on August 15, 2005


I don't think the guards had even an inkling that hot asphalt could be anything more than extremely uncomfortable.

Then they're prettty fucking stupid. I've tried walking around North Florida a bit, on blacktop, and it's enough to burn your feet after just a minute or two. Definitely not something you would want to force anyone to do, unless you took pleasure out of someone else's pain.
posted by Tuwa at 2:51 PM on August 15, 2005


Erm, that's *barefoot* walking I mean, that burns your feet your feet after just a few seconds (enough to have you hop off into the grass saying something eloquent like "ah ah ah ah. whew. ow.")
posted by Tuwa at 3:01 PM on August 15, 2005


Security guards make little more than minimum wage and receive no special training. They are trained by Wal-Mart and therefore Wal-Mart should be held responsible. It would not surprise me in the least to find out Wal-Mart's policy was to do whatever they had to do to keep the shoplifter from getting away.
posted by sultan at 9:24 PM on August 15, 2005


There is a reason to lay blame at the feet (or footings as it is) of big box stores for this -- not just the overzealous gang of employees. If this involved a local Mom and Pop store, four(?) employees would not be available to kill a suspected shoplifter, the dead suspect would not be "one-stop" shoplifting and the dead suspect would likely have been known by the owner or other employees. MegaCorp might not be directly responsible for this death but that MegaCorp exists in this form, in this society, is certainly indirectly responsible.

Walmart is such a large company that they could (and likley do) withstand hundreds of shoplifting incidents a day with no ill effect and, I would suggest, even withstand numerous wrongful death suits.
posted by Dick Paris at 2:09 AM on August 16, 2005


Nobody who is actually from U.S. South or SouthWest would be stupid enough to fall for "We didn't know the asphalt could hurt him" You actually can cook an egg on the tarmac in the summer( I've done it.)

Imagine if you would having your bare chest and nipples pressed onto a (low termperature) hot skillet for long enough for the entirety of "Stairway to Heaven" to play.
Imagine begging for you life as you felt yourself dying. knowing that you will never see your babies again, or have a beer with the guys....all over a sticker on some diapers

If you intentionally torture someone and they accidentally die, that is aggravated 2nd degree murder isn't it?
I don't see how anyone who knows the environment of the southern U.S. could say this is anything but straight up, cold blooded, murder.
posted by Megafly at 8:23 AM on August 16, 2005


Any update on this??
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:50 PM on August 26, 2005


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