An impatient crowd, frenzied by the thought of saving some money this holiday season, pushes through the doors of Wal-Mart as a temporary employee unlocks them early Friday morning. The doors are ripped from their hinges and smashed as the crowd pushes forward, trampling the holiday worker and others caught underfoot.
34-year-old Jdimytai Damour, a 6’5” 270-pound man hired to help with the holiday crowds, was crushed to death on the floor of the Nassau County, Long Island, Wal-Mart as hundreds of people stepped on him. Others were also injured, including a 28-year-old woman who is eight months pregnant.
While this scene says nothing about “Christmas spirit,” it’s an excellent example of negligence.
According to a report by CNN, police officials in Nassau County said that they met with managers of the Wal-Mart where the trampling took place to brief them on safety precautions and other measures that could be taken to prevent the dangers typically posed by anxious mobs.
“Crowd control is something that can be done. Enough security guards, fences, sawhorses – organize people in a single-file line,” legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said on the CNN report.
“New York police do it all the time with much bigger crowds,” Toobin said, adding that “there is simply no way” the crowd would have broken down the doors at Wal-Mart had simple, effective measures been taken.
Wal-Mart called its employee’s death “unfortunate” and stated that nothing is more important than a “safe and secure shopping environment.”
It’s difficult to register any sincerity in Wal-Mart’s statement given that the procedures it took on Black Friday’s 5 a.m. opening were minimal at that particular location.
“This incident was avoidable,” Bruce Both, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 told Reuters. “Where were the safety barriers? Where was security? … This is not just tragic; it rises to a level of blatant irresponsibility by Wal-Mart.”