Just Another Guy with Opinions

Black Friday Death at Wal-Mart

Posted by shadmia on November 30, 2008

Wal-Mart crowdWal-Mart StoreJdimytai Damour

When Jdimytai Damour, 34, went to work at Wal-Mart on Black Friday nobody knew it would be his last day alive. He was killed while trying to open the doors for an impatient crowd – estimated at 2,000 – rushing to enter the store. In what can only be described as a stampede, shoppers “pushed the glass sliding doors to the ground, bending their aluminum frames like an accordion”. Damour was shoved to the ground and trampled to death by the horde of frenzied shoppers. Even co-workers trying to help the fallen Damour were stepped upon. Minutes later, police trying to give Damour first aid were jostled by customers still running into the store, located at Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, Long Island, NY.

Wal-Mart was roundly criticized for not having provided enough security at the store. A workers union is calling for an investigation “by all levels of government” to ensure justice for Damour’s family and make sure that such an incident never happens at Wal-Mart again.

This incident was avoidable,” said Bruce Both, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500, the state of New York’s largest grocery worker’s union. “Where were the safety barriers? Where was security? How did store management not see dangerous numbers of customers barreling down on the store in such an unsafe manner?

“This is not just tragic; it rises to a level of blatant irresponsibility by Wal-Mart,” he said.

The UFCW has long been a harsh critic of Wal-Mart’s, arguing that the world’s largest retailer offers low wages and poor health care for its workers and pushes competitors and suppliers to do the same or go out of business. The group has had only marginal success in organizing Wal-Mart workers in the United States and Canada, citing aggressive anti-union efforts by Wal-Mart.

In a statement Wal-Mart said the store had added internal security, brought in outside security, erected barricades and worked with Nassau County police in anticipation of heavy crowds.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the deceased,” Wal-Mart Senior Vice President Hank Mullany said in the statement. “We are continuing to work closely with local law enforcement, and we are reaching out to those involved.”

Even if the store did not provide proper security, the crowd of seemingly uncaring shoppers who participated in the rampage also needs to be held responsible. Police are reviewing the security video to see if they can identify any of those who were involved.

In the meantime Damour’s family prepares to bury him. His mother who lives in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, was en route to help with the funeral arrangements and his father, Ogera Charles, who is featured in the report below, is said to be in total shock:

Friends and family describe Jdimytai Damour as a helpful man who loved poetry and was a fan of the late novelist Donald Goines. A Freeport High School graduate, Damour attended Nassau Community College for a year. He was a big man but had no apparent health problems. He did construction work for a time and installed fences. His family roots are in Haiti, and he had a brother and four sisters.

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8 Responses to “Black Friday Death at Wal-Mart”

  1. Nick C said

    I never thought I would see the day when a sale at Wal-Mart is worth more than a human life. What has Christmas turned into? What have we turned into as a society? I would charge the upper management of the store with negligent homicide and find some charge to levy against the people who stampeded this poor man to death. Somebody has to pay for this mans death. I can only hope the expression “what goes around comes around” applies to all the people involved in this senseless death. My deepest condolences goes out to his family.

  2. bart said

    I agree with nick. after all what is CHRISTMAS really about? surely not about death and impatience, but of birth and Christ

  3. sripton said

    Anyone who thinks there is value in spending money and time to flesh out who trampled the guy is nuts. What the people who initially knocked him over will claim was that they were forced by the crowd behind them. What were they supposed to do, with no room to move and nowhere to go but forward. Should they have laid down and got trampled too?? It obviously was an accident created by Wal Marts inability to handle a riot they created. Saying that there are only a few blu ray players for 149.00 and there are no rain check so go get them is much like shouting fire in a dark movie house. but of course the cops will try to charge as many people with as much as they can and get a lot of press and show how hard they are working. If they worked a little harder at 500 Am on friday it could have been prevented. of course this means the end of black friday as we know it because wal mart will change it’s practices so they don’t have to pay more victims, but be assured, this is costing them and it is their fault and they will pay and it will be different next year. Espescially tacky are WM first press releases saying he died of a heart attack!! How about a crushed heart!! Always lead with a lie, Wal Mart. Happy to say I have NEVER set foot in a WM or Sams, and NEVER will

  4. Billy said

    As someone who used to work for a major retailer and went through two Black Fridays, I can attest to the uncaring attitude of the men and women who line up at a time when they should be sleeping just so they’ll be first in and first out, but I can also say it’s the corporations behind these sales that are a part of this madness. First, the corporations advertise ridiculous deals on items, mostly electronics, but then only order a limited amount for each store. Rather than placing a limit on these items, as anyone with a brain would, they just let anyone buy as many as they can fit in a buggy. I should know, at the retailer I worked at, every year there’d be a cheap stereo system on sale and the first people through the door would go straight for them and you’d see one or two people come up with a buggy holding about five or six of the things.

    These people turned out to be dealers (as in people who resale merchandise for a profit) and were only trying to get the items so they could resale them with a huge markup (and people would gladly buy them).

    The first Black Friday I went through, myself and a supervisor were almost knocked over due to the number of people who just had to run flat out to get what they wanted. My supervisor was visibly pregnant, but these people didn’t care. The next year, we placed shopping carts as a barrier so it wouldn’t happen again, but people still tried to go over them.

    So it’s not just rampant consumerism, it’s corporate greed playing on that consumerism. These corporations operate in the red most of the year and go back into the black during the holidays (hence, ‘Black’ Friday). Why they have to do this in one single day when the shopping season lasts nearly a month is beyond me.

    Working in retail I realize that corporations have a right to make a profit and, at the same time, people have a right to shop for the items they want to give as presents. But it doesn’t have to be all in ONE day. I’ve never gone to these sales, even before I was in retail. There’s no point when only about 10 people will get what’s on sale. I do my shopping right up until a few days before Christmas that way I keep my sanity.

    Here’s hoping, however, that something really is done to prevent this from ever happening again.

  5. scary said

    This is terrible. What have people become? Animals! Greedy, careless bastards! I wouldn’t go as far as the union says and say it is wal-marts fault, as why can’t humans act like humans? Do humans really need to have so much extra security to make us act like humane humans?

  6. Scribbles said

    Why is anyone surprised by this? These Black Friday sales just encourage this type of behavior. It gets worse each each year. More high priced items at rock-bottom prices with only 10 available. The stores love the mass mayhem….except when it goes terribley wrong like this. Since the market and retailers are not going to change, we have to change our appetite. Stop buying into their hype and spend Black Friday at home. Eat some leftovers, watch some movies with family and buy a few books online. We have to take responsibility for this and change our hunger and greed for “stuff”. A man just paid for our insatiable appetite with his life!

  7. Tony said

    This is not only the consumers fault. Wallmart creates insane sales with stupid time limits and this crap happens every year. I saw this comming by the way, only i thought it would be much worse.
    Wallmart should be sued by the family that lost their loved one. They should have new regulations on the disgusting sales plans they invoke. WAKE UP PEOPLE!

  8. Tiger Toe said

    Dont blame Wal Mart for this blame the idiots that shop there. These people act like animals pigs how can anyone walk over someone like that is insane! These people should be charged with murder I am sure its all on camera what kind of person would do that to another person why cant this people just stop and pick the person up off the floor these people need to be held accountable for thier actions Wal Mart didnt knock this person on the floor greedy customers did these people should be in jail !!!!

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