Walmart employee trampled to death by Black Friday shoppers.

News stories like this one are what prompted SEB’s tag line. Jdimytai Damour was hired as seasonal help at a Long Island Walmart only to perish under the feet of deal-crazed shoppers this past Friday:

“He was bum-rushed by 200 people,” said Wal-Mart worker Jimmy Overby, 43.

“They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me.

“They took me down, too … I didn’t know if I was going to live through it. I literally had to fight people off my back,” Overby said.

Damour, a temporary maintenance worker from Jamaica, Queens, was gasping for air as shoppers continued to surge into the store after its 5 a.m. opening, witnesses said.

Even officers who arrived to perform CPR on the trampled worker were stepped on by wild-eyed shoppers streaming inside, a cop at the scene said.

“They pushed him down and walked all over him,” Damour’s sobbing sister, Danielle, 41, said. “How could these people do that?

“He was such a young man with a good heart, full of life. He didn’t deserve that.”

What the fuck is wrong with you people in Long Island? I love a good deal as much as the next guy, but how you could trample someone to death trying to get a good deal is beyond me. That pic on the left (click to embiggen) is what the scene looked like as the doors opened. They have a whole gallery of pics from this tragedy that shows just how stupid people can be.

Roughly 2,000 people gathered outside the Wal-Mart’s doors in the predawn darkness.

Chanting “push the doors in,” the crowd pressed against the glass as the clock ticked down to the 5 a.m. opening.

Sensing catastrophe, nervous employees formed a human chain inside the entrance to slow down the mass of shoppers.

It didn’t work.

The mob barreled in and overwhelmed workers.

“They were jumping over the barricades and breaking down the door,” said Pat Alexander, 53, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. “Everyone was screaming. You just had to keep walking on your toes to keep from falling over.”

After the throng toppled Damour, his fellow employees had to fight through the crowd to help him, police said.

Witness Kimberly Cribbs said shoppers acted like “savages.”

“When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling, ‘I’ve been on line since Friday morning!’” Cribbs said. “They kept shopping.”

Seriously, what the fuck? Even after you’ve crushed a man to death you insist on shopping? Have you no empathy at all? Are you so bereft of concern for your fellow man that killing him in the mad rush for a deal isn’t enough to give you pause? Couldn’t some of you have stopped and helped this poor man to his feet before he had the life stomped out of him? Help me to understand the insanity of this event, please.

Hat tip to ***Dave who has some choice words of his own.

30 thoughts on “Walmart employee trampled to death by Black Friday shoppers.

  1. 2,000 people with 200 wedged up against the front doors – controlling that sort of crowd is way beyond the abilities of a small “human chain” of people. That’s tantamount to forming a human chain to stop a moving truck. No one should have been put in the path of that kind of crowd rush. Stay the hell out of the way and let the bovines trash the place if that’s what it comes to. You can replace merchandise.

    A tragic display of our holiday stupidity.

  2. I noticed that the article didn’t contain a single interview with any of the shoppers.  I would seriously like to know how they feel about being partly responsible for the death of another person in exchange for a few bucks off their Wal-Mart purchase.

    Sometimes I find myself thinking: “You know… people aren’t so bad.  In fact, the majority of people are really decent.”  Then something like this happens, and I don’t know what to think.

  3. From my perspective the only thing Walmart did wrong is not call the police when they noticed that the crowd was TAKING THE DOORS OFF THE HINGES.

    Of course they might have…article doesn’t say.

  4. From my perspective the only thing Walmart did wrong is not call the police when they noticed that the crowd was TAKING THE DOORS OFF THE HINGES.

    Of course they might have…article doesn’t say.

    What Wal-Mart did wrong was not close their doors and eject everyone when they noticed that someone had died.  If they couldn’t be bothered to do it then the police should have.

    I’m sorry, but I have no tolerance for this.  SOMEONE DIED IN THE STORE!  Died!!  As in stopped living!! As in no more future!!!  How??  Frantic shoppers killed him because they wanted to save money.  Does that just not register with people?  End of shopping day.  Period!

  5. Watch WalMart deploy the high powered lawyers to try to get out of the H&S suit.

    Of course, statistically 80% of those shoppers will believe in God…

  6. I as going to mention the religion angle but LH beat me too it. Subscribing now to see if the trolls will try to rationalize the killing with the holiday.

  7. As I say here, this was a riot.  Who incited it?  Isn’t incitement to riot a crime?

    More broadly, the whole Black Friday thing is one big incitement to riot by the retail industry.

  8. I wrote about this on my blog too.  There really isn’t any words for those kinds of people.  This is why I refuse to buy into Black Friday madness.  I would hate to think that I was a part to something horrendous as this.

  9. There’s no rationalizing this sad incident, and it has nothing to do with Christmas. That tragedy could’ve just as easily occurred at any number of events. It happened at a Who concert in Cincinnati 30 years ago.

    Nevertheless, this still mars the holiday season, like it or not, and it will be inextricably connected with it in the eyes of many.

    But every year I hear True Believers lament about how their religious holiday has been over-commercialized. And although I do not believe in the Krismas story, I have to agree with them that their holiday has been overtaken by crass commercialization.

    So where is the outrage over this incident from the True Believers? I’m not seeing it yet. I’m waiting for the obligatory “this isn’t in the spirit of Christmas” condemnation from the fundie crowd.

  10. What Wal-Mart did wrong was not close their doors and eject everyone when they noticed that someone had died.  If they couldn’t be bothered to do it then the police should have.

    From what I understand they DID try to get everyone out of the store, but no one was willing to leave so it was an uphill battle.

    Also from what I understand, WM isn’t taking any responsibility in this…they are saying that security and so forth was adequate.

  11. I don’t believe that Wal-Mart did anything wrong, other than not recognize a riot distinguished from a Black Friday shopping mob. The people outside who were chanting though? Incitement. The people who entered the store? Manslaughter and rioting. Wal-Mart’s got a lot of cameras and a lot of money, charge every single one of these shoppers with felonies and let their lawyers and the DAs sort things out. Then, Wal-Mart employees should take up a bucket for the sister, so she can afford to take these sorry ass criminals to civil court and make them so poor they only wish they could afford to shop at Wal-Mart.

  12. From what I understand they DID try to get everyone out of the store, but no one was willing to leave so it was an uphill battle.

    Also from what I understand, WM isn’t taking any responsibility in this…they are saying that security and so forth was adequate.

    Someone died from shopping, and they have the nerve to say that security was “adequate”?  Fuck them.  It obviously wasn’t.  I wonder what sort of restitution they coughed up for the dead guys relatives.  Did they even get store credit?

    The police should have shut the store down.

  13. Someone died from shopping, and they have the nerve to say that security was “adequate”?

    Considering that I don’t recall any other Wal-Mart employees being trampled opening their stores and Wal-Mart generally has the same store procedures from store to store and state to state, I’d say that it fucking well IS clear they had adequate security and it just happened that they opened the store for a bunch of people with unforeseen criminal intent. Murderous soccer moms and such.

    Inadequate security measures would be hundreds of reports from across the country about injuries and such from opening stores, or a pattern over time. Most of the time in most places I imagine opening Wal-Marts is less dangerous than driving in large cities and working in convenience stores.

    One of the things I HAVE wondered about though is “Who the hell gets their panties in a bunch about Wal-Mart sales?” Wal-Mart’s usually about as cheap as it gets, and generally their sales suck as a consequence. Did I miss it where they were giving stuff away for free this year?

  14. Did Walmart sell any items right after this? They better not have. I would have immediately shut down the store so no one can buy anything. Tell the people to leave or they will be arrested for trespassing. I assume the police was on their way when this happened. Any person seen in the video of walking on the security guard should be arrested for assault. Arrest them all and sort it out later is a good approach too.

  15. As much as I’m not a Walmart fan I don’t see how this is their fault. As has been pointed out there are thousands of Walmarts and this is the only one I’ve heard of where such a death took place.

    No, the only people worthy of blame in this event are the people who stomped all over this poor fellow and didn’t stop to help. There’s no excuse for the kind of behavior that crowd was engaging in. There isn’t a thing in that damned store that was worth the life of that man I don’t care how many fucking hours you were stupid enough to wait in line to get in.

  16. People on Long Island are very self-centered. I lived there for over 7 years and was not the least bit sad to move away.
    Part of what caused this to happen is the low prices offered for short time periods and the knowledge that the store will stock usually under 50 items or less of the sale item. Big ticket items like the TV that was offered, you would be lucky if they had more than 10 or 15 on hand.
    Here is one of the original articles from the local Long Island Newspaper:NewsDay
    (This is also the only newspaper that I know of that will publish pictures of car crashes on it’s website.)
    Notice that the article mentions that there was a 2000+ crowd.  How many times around your area have you ever seen that many people waiting to get into a store?  ‘Big box’ stores such as Wal-Mart and Target are not found on Long Island in the numbers that they are in other areas. They are restricted from being built as the neighbors complain about the traffic congestion that they will bring.
    I learned while living there that one had to go real early on sale days to get the advertised items as they rapidly sold out.  Knowing all those factors I could’ve predicted the crowd (though not quite that size)and definitely advised more security.  As to the employee who made the bad joke about the store opening early he/she needs to be identified and charged as part of the riot that resulted.

  17. …which is why MM and Les will never be personal injury lawyers.

    Less cynically, while the uniqueness may be a mitigating factor, do not US employers have a duty of care towards employees?  I am thinking of a family that has lost its father (or whatever).  I know that employers are always trying to portray H&S as something that is just a bunch of busy-bodies who don’t understand profit insist.  ‘Of course they can self regulate, because the market will sort the whole thing out- no one would work for a poor employer…’

    I wonder if it really was a one off, or just the first time a serious incident has happened.

  18. do not US employers have a duty of care towards employees?

    Yes they do.

    Duty of care + breach of duty + causation + foreseeability = negligence.

    A bit of an oversimplification, mind you, but those are the 4 elements needed for a negligence claim (central to a personal injury suit). Based on the facts, all 4 of those elements may be met in this recent case.

    I wonder if it really was a one off, or just the first time a serious incident has happened.

    I don’t know if any other fatalities have resulted from similar situations, but there are countless stories of shoppers overwhelming stores on Black Friday in years past, especially when some “must-have” toy is at stake. I recall incidents involving Cabbage Patch dolls, Tickle Me Elmo, Play Stations, etc., with aggressive soccer moms fighting over them in stores. Quite primitive.

  19. but there are countless stories of shoppers overwhelming stores on Black Friday in years past

    This is what I mean.  I hope someone looks after his family (the insurance, if he could afford any, will look for weasle words- probably force majeur, or some sort of ‘outside normal expectations for a insurance policy, so not factored into the premium)

  20. As far as I’m aware US law says that people who take part in a crime are guilty, even if they are not directly responsible for any injury caused, such as get-away drivers on bank raids.

    Would therefore think that anyone in the “Mob” could be charged with second degree manslaughter once identified from the CCTV footage. 

    If not second degree manslaughter then either Involuntary manslaughter or Misdemeanor manslaughter could be used.

  21. There’s nothing unusual about mobs of rabid shoppers on those occasions where merchandise is deeply discounted. It happens all over the world, but usually nothing worse than fist fights ensues.

    Well, I know exactly why I go out of my way to avoid crowds.

  22. Last year, I went with some friends to a Black Friday Walmart event. It wasn’t like this at all, but probably because that location was 24 hour, so the doors were never shut. Incidentally, my friend told me shoppers had shown up hours early this year to stock their carts and walk around until they could check out during sale hours.

    Having said that, it’s still a bad scene. People are tired and they are aggressive. I remember waiting for an employee to open a case to get a camera I intended to get for my daughter. As has been said, Walmart doesn’t stock many sale items. Some random lady attempted to push her way passed me to get that camera, even though the employee was opening the case specifically for me. Just instinctively, I started to push her back (embarrassing to admit, but it was self preservation and high emotion since I was trying to replace the camera my kid had lost in a serious car accident), but my more experienced friends stepped around me to form a makeshift barrier. I knew the situation was crazy then, but now I look back to my experiences that morning and other stories I have heard. I have little doubt this death was predictable, especially at stores which do close the doors at night.

    I didn’t participate this year. Probably, once was enough.

  23. Hey Les, check me out: I’m Canadian, eh?

    … Except that I’m actually sitting in a place where no one has ever heard of and the locals never say “eh,” though they overuse “ya’ll” *cringe*

    Not that I really mind it, but what gives?

  24. The least they could have done, after this guy was trampled to death, is to have rescinded the sales prices.

  25. The least they could have done, after this guy was trampled to death, is to have rescinded the sales prices.

    Except that would have gotten them in trouble for false advertising. When or if this guy’s family starts suing the pants off the mob they’d just be giving the mob a potential in to pay it all off with Wal-Mart money. They might even proclaim it a circumstance that “forced” them to trample the employee: “I was just so mad at Wal-Mart I was lashing out.” These are people who already killed someone too, if it escalated from there because someone changed the prices then there really would be a case against Wal-Mart for not protecting their employees.

  26. Hey Les, check me out: I’m Canadian, eh?

    … Except that I’m actually sitting in a place where no one has ever heard of and the locals never say “eh,“ though they overuse “ya’ll” *cringe*

    Not that I really mind it, but what gives?

    I’m not sure, Justice. It bases it off of IP addresses and the one on your last comment traces back to Research In Motion Inc. out of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Hence the flag. Now why your IP address would trace back to a Canadian company I can only speculate at.

  27. Unless it was a printing error, it would probably be illegal to rescinded the sales prices; about all they could do is close the store.  It may also be illegal to withhold them from sale unless they actually run out. 

    Stores used to routinely advertise products at ridiculously low prices and then rescind the sales prices or withhold the product from sale, there are now laws to prevent that.

  28. There really isn’t any words for those kinds of people.  This is why I refuse to buy into Black Friday madness.  I would hate to think that I was a part to something horrendous as this.

    In reverse order: Yep, I stayed home that day too (except for a visit to the auto parts story well away from there).

    And then: “those kinds of people” are us.  This is strictly standard human nature.  People riot over sports, religious frenzy, court cases, and once in my town of Normal, IL, beer. 

    Nobody goes to the store thinking “I’ll kill anyone who gets between me and the flatscreen” but there they were crushed into a crowd so powerful it tore doors off hinges. Just imagine how hard it would be to tear one of those doors off if you had to do it on purpose. They had thirty or forty tons of humanity behind them, all individuals with no idea what’s happening just up ahead.  There wasn’t time for reflection. Once inside the store some of them were probably in shock.

  29. Nobody goes to the store thinking “I’ll kill anyone who gets between me and the flatscreen…”

    I’m suspicious of this statement. Given the general amount of stupidity people express for just about everything else I expect flatscreens are due for a suicide bomber or war eventually.

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