These type of incidents happen every so often, e.g., Shoplifter seeking food dies after scuffle with Brooklyn grocery store workers.
In this case, the shoplifter was known to the store employees. And such potential for confrontation may grow if surveillance providers achieve their aim of using facial recognition and other AI technologies to ID shoplifters or shoplifting.
Retail expert King Rogers, from MTG, explained to us:
Every state has statutes which define and govern retail theft (shoplifting) in their respective state and the definitions and thresholds differ from state to state. Every retail employee should be trained in what they should do to handle suspected thieves in their store and part of the training usually covers the applicable state statutes. The general rule of thumb is that force should only be applied equal to the force administered by the suspect but, in actuality, force should always be avoided.
In this particular case, it appears that the deceased was a regular thief in that store (according to the quote attributed to his ‘friend’). It might be that the store personnel were fed up with this man’s stealing habits and probably, out of frustration, tried to teach him a lesson. Not a good idea. Let law enforcement handle it. Obtain good video surveillance evidence for use by law enforcement and the criminal justice system and take the steps to provide a chain of custody for that evidence.
Does anyone have thoughts on such situations?