When your job is security, every person looks like a security threat. No. I'm not talking about the Transportation Security Administration (thank gawd I don't fly), I'm talking about retail security guards, working two jobs and likely bored out of their skulls and afraid that if they do nothing, their employer will figure out that they're not needed and downsize them out of a job. Back in 2006 Walmart announced a policy of not prosecuting shoplifters who attempt to steal merchandise worth less than $25. Fast forward to 2014 and an off-duty police officer, working as Walmart security, beats a man to the ground and breaks his leg for a tomato? Xeni Jardin, writing in Lawsuit: Off-Duty Cop Working Wal-Mart Security Accuses Man of Stealing Tomato, Beats Him, Breaks His Leg for Boing Boing reports:
An innocent man was minding his own business one day in 2014, walking out of an Atlanta Wal-Mart with a tomato he'd just bought. An off-duty Atlanta police officer who moonlit doing security at Wal-Mart on the side accused the man of stealing the tomato on his way out of the store, and beats the man so severely that he breaks his leg and severs his artery. More than $75,000 in medical expenses later, the victim now walks with a titanium rod in his leg, with a limp. That's the story Tyrone Carnegay and his lawyers outline in a lawsuit filed today against Wal-Mart, against the store manager on duty that day, and against the police officer, Trevor King. The lawsuit says King never asked Carnegay to show his receipt. When Carnegay was on the ground, beaten and handcuffed, the officer reached into his pocket and found his receipt, which Carnegay says proved he paid for the tomato. “He found the receipt and money, and stood there like he hadn't done nothing,” Carnegay said.
Yes, loss through theft is a problem. Yes, stores have a right (and an obligation to stockholders) to protect their merchandise. Beating a man to the ground over a suspected tomato, however, is simply Draconian. Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.

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