Walmart Security Kills Shoplifter

Thou shalt not steal.  Thou shalt not kill.  Which is the greater sin?  Recently, in Dekalb County, Georgia, a suspected shoplifter accused of stealing DVDs died at the hands of Walmart security personnel.  It is likely the family of the victim will initiate a wrongful death lawsuit against the retail giant.  Based upon some of the recent interviews with Walmart representatives, my guess is that the family will be in for a vigorous fight.  While Walmart has gone on record as stating, “No amount of merchandise is worth someone’s life,”  the store has already started to distance itself from the security guard, an  independent contractor, who allegedly applied the chokehold to the victim which resulted in the victim’s death.  The legal question will be whether the security guard was acting as an agent of Walmart and within the scope of his duties.  Walmart will contend that the security guard was acting outside of the authority granted by Walmart and that Walmart has no liability for the actions of the independent contractor.  As a trial lawyer representing victims of such tragedies, I am hopeful that the family of the victim will be adequately represented by a competent attorney and that Walmart will ultimately be held accountable for this family’s loss.