Posted by retailworker at 08/13/2005 - 15:53
Man held down on burning pavement until he died
Wal-Mart loss prevention workers tackled a man suspected of stealing diapers - a new father with a two month old child - holding him down with a choke hold and knee to the back while he was shirtless on the scalding pavement of a Wal-Mart parking lot in Texas.
The incident was witnessed by dozens of shoppers, including a prominent Texas attorney, Charles Portz:
Charles Portz said he was getting out of his car when he saw a heavy blonde haired man being chased by five people who appeared to be security or store employees. He said he saw them wrestling the man to the ground. “The blacktop was extremely hot,” said Portz “He had no shirt on and they wouldn’t let him up off the blacktop.” He said one of the men had Driver in a chokehold and had his knee in the back of his neck as the men tried to subdue him. “He kept trying to get up and they kept pushing him back down,” Portz said.
According to Portz, Driver began to plead with them men. “He’s begging, 'Please call an ambulance, let me up, do something, I’m gonna die,” said Portz. He said the loss prevention employees called the police more than once, but another bystander called for an ambulance after realizing Driver was in trouble. Portz said he eventually began to plead with the Walmart employees. “I told them, this guy doesn’t look like he’s breathing,” Portz said, “They said, 'He’s all right.” He says he continued to plead with the men, pointing out that the man’s fingernails were turning gray. “They said he’s just high on something,” adding, “They just kept him pinned down for twenty minutes or more until the ambulance came.” He said he believed Driver was dead when the ambulance left with him, but he was not certain.
The store employees could not have known that the witness who was pleading with them to let Driver get up from the hot pavement was a high profile Houston attorney, from the Portz and Portz law firm. He said after the man was handcuffed he continued trying in vain to persuade the Walmart employees to allow him to get up, even pointing out that a second pair of cuffs could be used to attach the ones already on Driver to a nearby truck trailer. “The problem is they kept him down on the blistering concrete with no shirt on,” Portz reiterated. He said law enforcement arrived at about the same time as the ambulance.