CNN is showing a video of a Wal-Mart stampede on Black Friday, the shopping day after Thanksgiving.
“This was utter chaos,” says Lt. Michael Fleming of the Nassau Co. police department on Long Island, New York.
The videotape captures a 5 a.m. stampede that trampled a 34-year-old temporary security worker at the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, L.I. The dead man was trying to restrain shoppers when the doors opened.
The New York Post identifies the dead man as Jdimytai Damour of Queens, NY. He was rushed to the hospital but declared dead an hour later.
Four other people were hospitalized including a 28-year-old pregnant woman. Witnesses say the man was knocked down and dozens of people walked on and over him.
Authorities want to know if Wal-Mart had enough security for the advertised heavy shopping day.
CNN analyst and former prosecutor, Sunny Hostin says shoppers could be criminally negligent because they didn’t exhibit any care about the man. Instead, they cared about a $798 Samsung 50-inch Plasma HDTV, and a $69 megapixel digital camera. “His life didn’t matter to whoever did this,” she says.
Police are examining the videotape from Wal-Mart and tape from nearby stores to try and identify anyone who might have been involved.
But prosecuting 2,000 who pushed to get through store will be tough, Hostin says. “It’s going to be difficult to prove to a jury that this person in their heads failed to perceive the risk and now is legally responsible for it."
Wal-Mart calls the incident a “tragic situation.” “The safety and security of our customers and associates is our top priority,”said Wal-Mart representative Dan Fogleman to The New York Post.
Many retailers require shoppers to stand in line before entering the store. In this case, Wal-Mart allowed a throng to push against the doors when they opened.
This is believed to be the first time a retail worker has died during the holiday rush following Thanksgiving, according to the National Retail Federation.
Video shows police performing CPR on the downed man.
Shoppers say the scene was chaotic. “I felt bad, I felt ashamed, I mean seriously I felt honestly ashamed people were doing this for flat screen TVs and blue rays. Somebody lost their life and a couple people got hurt for a sale,” said eyewitness Albert Bell.
Wal-Mart defended itself saying it added more security after the incident and put up barricades. The store opened again the same afternoon.
CNN's Hostin believes a civil lawsuit against Wal-Mart is inevitable. #