December 1st, 2008
08:11 PM ET

Dying for a bargain

Program note: Watch Randi’s full report tonight at 10pm ET.

Randi Kaye | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Imagine the force it took to bring down Wal-Mart employee Jdimytai Damour. He was the worker trampled to death by hundreds of crazed shoppers at a Wal-Mart store on Long Island last Friday. Black Friday. It doesn’t get any darker than this.

Today I learned that Damour stood six foot five and weighed two hundred and seventy pounds. Imagine what it must’ve taken to knock him down! Police officially said today he died from suffocation, from the pressure of feet pounding over his chest.

Can you imagine? All this worker did was attempt to open the doors so people could shop. Is a deal on a plasma TV really worth it? Or is that new video game really worth it? How can anyone at the store that morning actually give a gift this year and not wonder what role they may’ve played in that stampede and the tragedy that followed?

Many shoppers continued to bargain hunt even as EMS crews tried to save the victim’s life on the store’s floor. And when they were finally told a man had died, and that shoppers needed to leave, some of them refused. One witness said people complained they’d been waiting in line since the day before and wondered why they had to leave, even if someone was dead.

Police are examining the video from the store’s surveillance camera to try and identify shoppers who stepped on the man. If they think they can prove recklessness, some shoppers may be charged with inciting a riot, or even worse, negligent homicide. Even Wal-Mart could be charged.

Police, late today, said the retail giant’s security was “inadequate” and that the sale promotion along with the lax security was a “recipe for disaster.”

Who do you think should be held accountable?

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Randi Kaye
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Michael

    It's not an issue of hating Wal-Mart. In my opinion, Wal-Mart has some copability in the death of their own employee. This would be especially true if it is determined that insufficient security staff was on duty at the time of the incident. This man went to work expecting to return home at the end of his shift. It's not like he was a cop or fire-fighter with an accepted risk. We should all expect our employer to take neccessary and reasonable steps to ensure our safety while at work.

    It might prove more difficult to point a finger at an individual in the crowd to be held accountable...sadly.

    December 1, 2008 at 9:06 pm |
  2. Carol

    It is Walmart's fault. This craziness happens every year and they should've had a better system. I saw a video of a Best Buy store on Black Friday, also. Best Buy had security guards on either side of the line so no one could cut into the line ahead of anyone else. They also limited the number of people allowed in the store, instead of opening the doors and letting everyone crush in at once.

    I don't know if we can really blame the people in the line. If they had stopped, they would've been run over also. This isn't anything new – it happens every year. Walmart should have had security measures and plans for crowd control in place

    December 1, 2008 at 9:04 pm |
  3. pati mc., camp hill, pa

    Good evening Randi,

    "Who should be held accountable"? This is a very difficult question, frankly. Not so much difficult to answer as hard to face the reality of the answer.

    Many, is my answer: from the advertisers who create such a false hype regarding "super sales" that cause these sorts of riotous situations; to the greed and selfishness of the people who could not care less about a fellow human being, but instead chose to trample him to death, not even stopping when he fell to the ground. That is beyond shameful to me.

    So, we have ad agencies, Wal-Mart, the shoppers themselves. The only thing that we can possibly glean from such a tragedy is the fact that so many Americans have apparently lost all sense of right and wrong, all caring for fellow citizens and can only see the "me" in each situation. Wise up people. we are all in this together. It's time we heed the wake up calls!

    December 1, 2008 at 8:59 pm |
  4. Chris, Ohio

    I really don't see how Wal-Mart can be held accountable for this poor man's death – the customers are to blame! Mob mentality strikes again. It's bad enough people rushed the doors just to save a few dollars on "stuff", but then to refuse to stop shopping "just because a man died" is totally unacceptable. I read an interview from a local Wal-Mart shopper that she was only able to get her purchase 'cause she hid it under coats in her cart because people were taking merchandise out of other's carts. Unbelieveable!! There is no way I will ever participate in the "Black Friday" sales – it's not worth it to me.

    December 1, 2008 at 8:54 pm |
  5. EJ (USA)

    Today I learned that Damour stood six foot five and weighed two hundred and seventy pounds.

    Wow – I didn't know that. What happened there at Walmart is a shame. There's just no excuse for it.

    We always end up seeing the evil side to people no matter what season it is.

    December 1, 2008 at 8:53 pm |
  6. Monika

    I'm sure the people who trampled the man to death went home, after they tried everything to find a bargain that day, and said a prayer for him to ease their conscience. Oh wait, I don't think they have a conscience.

    Money = capitalism = consumerism = EVIL

    December 1, 2008 at 8:48 pm |
  7. Timothy Gibson

    Those who trampled the poor man who was simply trying to do his job should be held accountable. I noticed a video camera above the entrance, as well, Wal-Mart should have had extra security on hand for the mob and should shoulder part of the blame as well. I personally don't shop Wal-Mart because I do not feel they support the American enonomy, and this is just another feather in that cap.

    December 1, 2008 at 8:38 pm |
  8. Adriana RM Marietta,Ga

    The Wal Mart manager should have noted the crowd in front of the building called for more security if not the police for crowd controll. Secondly not open the doors until the crowd was manageable. This was an appalling lack of foresight oversight you name it... the manager of security, store manager and asst manager should be sacked. And the procedures in all Wal Mart stores for Black Friday should be reviewed, changed then enforced.

    December 1, 2008 at 8:30 pm |
  9. Cindy

    I just can't believe that people would stampede the doors of a Wal-Mart and trample a man to death just to try to get deals on things for Christmas. That to me is just ridiculous! Nothing is worth that much. And seeing that no one seemed to care yet they went on their merry way it seems it didn't bother many of them involved!

    As far as who should be held accountable...it's the customers fault. They are the nuts that trampled the man. Don't try to turn this into a hate Wal-Mart thing. This kind of junk happened in a lot of places but fortunately no one was killed.


    December 1, 2008 at 8:19 pm |
  10. Rikki, Fargo, ND

    Wal-Mart definitely needs to be held accountable, Randi! They know that Black Friday shoppers are crazy! And they need to do more to protect their employees.

    December 1, 2008 at 8:16 pm |