Anthony Kyser (pictured above left) of Chicago walked out of a CVS store on Saturday, holding toothpaste that didn't belong to him. He never expected that this toothpaste would cost him his life.
A CVS store employee saw Kyser and chased him out of the store and in to the alley. He caught up with Kyser and put him in to a choke hold. "I can't breathe, I can't breathe!" were the words coming out of Kyser's mouth, as he was being restrained by the employee. Three other men were attempting to control Kyser as well, according to witnesses. That is when he died.
The medical examiner ruled Kyser's death a homicide, citing that the autopsy showed he was strangled. The police, however, are saying that the employee who killed him won't be charged. The death is being treated as "accidental," according to Chicago Police Spokesman Daniel O'Brien.
Kyser's family is outraged by the decision.
"Why would you kill someone over toothpaste?" said Kyser's ex-wife, Ann Balboa (pictured above right). "Why would you even chase them, and how is this not murder -- it doesn't make sense."
According to family members, Kyser has served prison time on drug convictions and has had a drug problem for some time. They do not, however, believe that what he did should have cost him his life. The family wants a full investigation in to claims made by two witnesses that an off-duty Chicago police officer was at the scene and had her weapon drawn on Kyser before he died. The police are saying that no officer was present at the time.
According to witnesses, the officer pointed her weapon, announced herself and told Kyser to stop resisting the CVS employee and the other men who were holding him down. When he would not stop, she went in to her car and made a phone call. Chicago Police Spokesman John Mirabelli said that Kyser was unconscious when officers arrived at the scene. Police Lt. Maureen Biggane said, "We have no indication of CPD involvement."
Kyser was declared dead 45 minutes later at Mount Sinai Hospital.
When it comes to the death of Anthony Kyser, the bottom line is this: There needs to be a deeper and more serious investigation in to whether Chicago police were involved in this incident. The words of community witnesses should be taken as seriously as those of the police. Also, the public should get a clear understanding, regarding why the CVS employee is not being charged for a death that was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner.
While many of us do not condone resisting arrest or shoplifting, we can all agree that there should not be a death sentence for stealing toothpaste. The family deserves both compensation and an explanation about what happened in this case.
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