Three Walmart employees have been charged with manslaughter following an incident earlier this year in which an elderly man who attempted to steal merchandise from their store passed away.
Crucelis Nunez, Nathan Higgins, and Eugene Tomko were a customer service manager, a manager, and a loss prevention officer, respectively, at a Walmart in Lakeland, Florida.
Upon noticing his attempt at shoplifting, they tackled Kenneth Edgar Wisham, a 64-year-old, at 3 a.m. on February 7. Wisham had attempted to steal $380 of DVDs, and cried out, “I can’t breathe,” as the three employees held him to the ground.
The man stopped moving, and would later die at the hospital to which he was taken.
Similar incidents in which shoplifters have had force used against them to prevent the act of theft have come into light in recent years.
In this case, Nunez was said to have punched Wisham several times, while Tomko pinned Wisham to the ground facedown. Higgins held Wisham’s ankles, according to the police.
Prior to the police arriving, Wisham had been held down for 10 minutes, according to the employees.
On Tuesday, a Walmart spokesman said that the three workers in question had been suspended from their current positions, while declining to discuss the policies the big box retailer currently has in place.