January 18, 2013

Homeless Shoplifter Choked to Death by Store Manager for Stealing Toothpaste

Chilling video has surfaced of the 2010 choking death of a homeless shoplifter at the hands of a CVS store manager who chased him into an alley.

And a U.S. congressman is now calling for a special investigation into the death of 35-year-old Anthony Kyser, who stole toothpaste from the drug store before his death nearly three years ago.
The grainy surveillance video from the alley near the Little Village CVS was obtained from a source by Chicago.

It shows Kyser's final minutes on May 8, 2010, and the beginning of the police investigation into the case. No charges were filed in Kyser's death, which police ruled an accident. CVS has said the manager acted in self-defense after being attacked by Kyser.

The video appears to capture Kyser fleeing to the alley with the store manager close behind him. There's a brief struggle before Kyser hits the pavement, with the store manager on top of him.
Another man appears to punch and kick Kyser, at one point stepping down on his hand while the store manager remains atop Kyser. More bystanders join in, helping to hold Kyser down. Eventually, Kyser stops flailing his legs, the video shows.

A police officer arrives minutes later, followed by more cops and then an ambulance. But emergency responders are unable to revive Kyser.

Sprawled on the pavement, Kyser's dead body remains in the frame when the recording stops.
The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office ruled his death a homicide. But police decided it was an accident and no charges were filed. 

"The video was reviewed by detectives as part of their investigation at the time," Chicago Police Department spokeswoman Lt. Maureen Biggane said. "It was determined that criminal charges were not warranted."
Kyser's mother, Ann Marie Kyser, filed a lawsuit claiming the store manager committed battery and that CVS is liable. That case is still pending in Cook County Circuit Court. The video has been discussed in sworn statements taken as part of the case.

"The video shows that Anthony Kyser was being choked by the CVS store manager and that no one did anything to help," said Jack Kennedy, an attorney with Cochran, Cherry, Givens, Smith & Montgomery, the law firm representing Kyser's mother.

"I think it’s appalling that CVS maintains that an employee can choke someone to death if they steal from a CVS store."
A CVS spokesman would only tell that the company does not comment on pending litigation. An attorney representing CVS and the store manager did not return calls for comment.

But in court filings in the civil case, CVS lawyers argue Kyser punched the store manager — identified in court papers at Pedro Villanova — in the face and the manager was acting in self-defense.
Through his attorney, Villanova acknowledges he "held onto Anthony Kyser on the ground while defending himself after being struck," according to court records.

In a deposition, Villanova said: "As soon as I got hit by Mr. Kyser, that's when it went from I'm here trying to recover the product and he can leave to all of a sudden he just punched me, so now I need to defend myself."
In court filings, Villanova acknowledges his "arm came into contact with decedent Anthony Kyser's throat" and he heard Kyser say "I can't breathe."

Soon after Kyser's death, an outraged U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, a Chicago Democrat, sent a letter to Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez demanding action for the "brutality visited upon a homeless man."
Rush now says his "calls for justice" were not heeded. Now, after being shown the video by, he said he hopes its release will reopen the investigation.

"This videotape ... presents an undeniable moment where [his] life was snatched from him," he said after viewing the footage. "Thank God for the videotape."

Rush compared the way Chicago authorities handled the Kyser case to the case of David Koschman, who died in 2004 of a head injury he suffered when Richard J. "R.J." Vanecko knocked him to the ground with one punch during a Division Street encounter, authorities say.

"You see in Koschman to Kyser a pattern of flagrant disregard for justice," he said.
Vanecko, a nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, was indicted by a grand jury on charges of involuntary manslaughter only after the case was assigned to a special prosecutor following a series of stories by the Sun-Times.

Rush is calling on Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans to "open a special investigation" and appoint a special prosecutor.
"The store manager who killed [Kyser] is walking around today free as a bird," he said. "Anthony Kyser is crying from his grave for justice."


  1. I was awarded a jujitsu purple belt and have choked out dozens of people over many years of training. The CVC employee obviously murdered the homeless guy either because of his ignorance of serious nature of applying a rear naked choke or perhaps a mental illness issue. No sane person holds a choke on another person after the choked person is unconscious. The thrashing around is what is commonly called doing the "funky chicken."
    Cops and DA dropped the ball on this one and need to prosecute all parties. Just cause a guy is homeless, do gooders can't kill, especially over a tube of toothpaste??

  2. No one should have his/her life taken away over a tube of toothpaste. This manager behaved irresponsibly and must answer for that behavior.

  3. so many people standing there letting it happen, no one trys to revive him. now i know america has no soul, i guess that makes it easy for killing millions of people all over the world. why are humans so stupid?i would like to meet this store manager in a dark alley. he was only the manager ffs, it wasnt even his toothpaste the guy stole. i hope nature serves up the real justice this guys deserves. appalling and disgusting. cold blooded murder is what that is. i hope you get a nasty disease store manager.

  4. Regardless of the crime that took place inside the store..outside was a different matter. The justice is described as "vigilantism" and is why citizens are allowed to make citizens arrest but any death resulting simply murder. It is why you can protet yourself inside your property, home, business etc but outside the domain (the domain of civil servants tasked with aresting our criminals) we citizens are subject to laws that forbid this kind of behavior.
    This was clearly murder, manslaughter, but I would not expect the company he manages to come to his aid. Its just outside their domain.

  5. Wait, the man was stealing toothpaste (a necessity)? Oh, the horror...