ONTD Political

TW VIOLENCE: Video Captures Death of CVS Toothpaste Shoplifter

10:51 pm - 01/19/2013
Chilling video has surfaced of the 2010 choking death of a homeless shoplifter at the hands of a CVS store manager who chased him into an alley.

And a U.S. congressman is now calling for a special investigation into the death of 35-year-old Anthony Kyser, who stole toothpaste from the drug store before his death nearly three years ago.

The grainy surveillance video from the alley near the Little Village CVS was obtained from a source by DNAinfo.com Chicago.

It shows Kyser's final minutes on May 8, 2010, and the beginning of the police investigation into the case. No charges were filed in Kyser's death, which police ruled an accident. CVS has said the manager acted in self-defense after being attacked by Kyser.



The video appears to capture Kyser fleeing to the alley with the store manager close behind him. There's a brief struggle before Kyser hits the pavement, with the store manager on top of him.

Another man appears to punch and kick Kyser, at one point stepping down on his hand while the store manager remains atop Kyser. More bystanders join in, helping to hold Kyser down. Eventually, Kyser stops flailing his legs, the video shows.The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office ruled his death a homicide. But police decided it was an accident and no charges were filed.

"The video was reviewed by detectives as part of their investigation at the time," Chicago Police Department spokeswoman Lt. Maureen Biggane said. "It was determined that criminal charges were not warranted."


Kyser's mother, Ann Marie Kyser, filed a lawsuit claiming the store manager committed battery and that CVS is liable. That case is still pending in Cook County Circuit Court. The video has been discussed in sworn statements taken as part of the case.

"The video shows that Anthony Kyser was being choked by the CVS store manager and that no one did anything to help," said Jack Kennedy, an attorney with Cochran, Cherry, Givens, Smith & Montgomery, the law firm representing Kyser's mother.

"I think it’s appalling that CVS maintains that an employee can choke someone to death if they steal from a CVS store."

A CVS spokesman would only tell DNAinfo.com that the company does not comment on pending litigation. An attorney representing CVS and the store manager did not return calls for comment.

But in court filings in the civil case, CVS lawyers argue Kyser punched the store manager — identified in court papers at Pedro Villanova — in the face and the manager was acting in self-defense.

Through his attorney, Villanova acknowledges he "held onto Anthony Kyser on the ground while defending himself after being struck," according to court records.

In a deposition, Villanova 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."

In court filings, Villanova acknowledges his "arm came into contact with decedent Anthony Kyser's throat" and he heard Kyser say "I can't breathe."


Soon after Kyser's death, an outraged U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, a Chicago Democrat, sent a letter to Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez demanding action for the "brutality visited upon a homeless man."
Rush now says his "calls for justice" were not heeded. Now, after being shown the video by DNAinfo.com, he said he hopes its release will reopen the investigation.

"This videotape ... presents an undeniable moment where [his] life was snatched from him," he said after viewing the footage. "Thank God for the videotape."

Rush compared the way Chicago authorities handled the Kyser case to the case of David Koschman, who died in 2004 of a head injury he suffered when Richard J. "R.J." Vanecko knocked him to the ground with one punch during a Division Street encounter, authorities say.

"You see in Koschman to Kyser a pattern of flagrant disregard for justice," he said.

Vanecko, a nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, was indicted by a grand jury on charges of involuntary manslaughter only after the case was assigned to a special prosecutor following a series of stories by the Sun-Times.

Rush is calling on Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans to "open a special investigation" and appoint a special prosecutor.

"The store manager who killed [Kyser] is walking around today free as a bird," he said. "Anthony Kyser is crying from his grave for justice."



source, with a link to the footage. WARNING FOR VIOLENCE AND DISTURBING CONTENT.
kaelstra 20th-Jan-2013 04:04 am (UTC)
Oh my god. How is it self defense to run a man down and beat and choke him?
wikilobbying 20th-Jan-2013 05:19 am (UTC)
But police decided it was an accident and no charges were filed.

and this is exactly why we say, fuck the police.
moonshaz 20th-Jan-2013 10:04 am (UTC)
Which makes me think that the "fuck the police" tag might be appropriate for this post.
yeats 20th-Jan-2013 10:08 am (UTC)
added. thanks for the suggestion.
thrace_ 20th-Jan-2013 05:21 am (UTC)
The way we devalue the lives of the poor and the homeless is just sickening. These are the people who are least able to protect themselves and deserve the most protection from the system.

Also how do you murder a man with your bare hands and not have it affect you? I hope this scumbag suffers from nightmares for the rest of his life.
scolaro 20th-Jan-2013 07:17 am (UTC)
...choking death of a homeless shoplifter at the hands of a CVS store manager who chased him into an alley... [...]
...CVS has said the manager acted in self-defense after being attacked by Kyser. [...]


Does. not. compute.
seraangel 20th-Jan-2013 09:12 am (UTC)
Being punched in the face does not cause you to murder someone. I've been punched in the face, and yes it made me fucking see red at the time but the most I did was scratch the other person's face up.

Believe me, there's a big difference to 'I want to make this person hurt' and 'I need to choke this person to death'

You don't get to claim self defense for murder because of a punch, that's just fucked up.
nesmith 20th-Jan-2013 09:14 am (UTC)
Self defense is putting your hands up if someone punches you.

It's not leaving the store, chasing the guy into an alley over a goddamn tube of toothpaste, confronting him, and THEN pinning him to the ground with a couple other people and choking him to death.

I feel like there are some things that just shouldn't have to be fucking spelled out, and this is one of them.


Edited at 2013-01-20 09:34 am (UTC)
moonshaz 20th-Jan-2013 10:08 am (UTC)
Oh, Chicago, I'm SO ashamed of you. D:

Good for Bobby Rush and his efforts to bring this miscarriage of justice to light. Now that this video is out there, maybe it will help him convince Evans to open a special investigation.
ragnor144 20th-Jan-2013 01:22 pm (UTC)
All of this over a tube of toothpaste. I think that this speak volumes about our values as a country.
julesfod1957 20th-Jan-2013 03:45 pm (UTC)
Since the higher ups at CVS obviously think this man's life was worth less than a tube of toothpaste, I suggest ONTD, friends, lovers, and family make it worth a LOT more to them by moving your business and especially prescriptions and other expensive stuff to Walgreen's or your other local pharmacy chain.
tabaqui 20th-Jan-2013 03:55 pm (UTC)
FUCK'S SAKE. I am revolted and disgusted. Fuck the police, and fuck this guy, and fuck every person who stood around and watched. FUCK.
lolcatielol 20th-Jan-2013 05:00 pm (UTC)
This poor man was held down and murdered over a tube of toothpaste. Everyone involved thought that Anthony Kyser's life was worth $3.48. I can't even fathom this.
abiding 20th-Jan-2013 11:02 pm (UTC)
Yeah, fuck that bullshit.
jadehunter 20th-Jan-2013 11:36 pm (UTC)
It's not self-defense if the man was running away and you follow him, JFC.

ETA: Also, I can see accidental murder due to self-defense if he had a gun or a knife that accidentally slipped, but choking someone to death is not accidental, it's not something you do in fear of your life. Choking someone to death takes a while and choking someone at all is pretty much done expressively with offensive intentions.

Edited at 2013-01-20 11:38 pm (UTC)
lickbrains 21st-Jan-2013 01:17 am (UTC)
Says a lot about a society when a person's life has less value than something as insignificant as a tube of fuckin' toothpaste.

Edited at 2013-01-21 01:19 am (UTC)
hashishinahooka 22nd-Jan-2013 02:46 am (UTC)
Capitalism is prizing toothpaste over someone's life.
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