Shoplifting Suspect’s Wife: He Didn’t Have to Die

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  • ATLANTA (AP) — The wife of a shoplifting suspect who died after he was wrestled to the ground outside a suburban Atlanta Walmart said Tuesday that store employees used too much force to subdue him.

    Vidal Calloway, 37, died Sunday after he was taken down in the parking lot of a Walmart store in Lithonia and put into a choke hold by a security guard as the employees waited on authorities, according to a police report. Store workers accused Calloway, an ex-convict, of trying to steal two Blu-ray players, which also play DVDs.

    “I don’t think that it should’ve happened,” Calloway’s wife Fatimah Calloway said. “He didn’t deserve to die over a DVD player.”

    About 1:30 a.m. Sunday, a store manager asked Calloway for a receipt near the door and he ran out of the store, according to the police report. The manager, Michael Burton, grabbed Calloway and slammed him down to the ground, but Calloway fought back, punching Burton in the face, neck and chest, according to the police report. The security guard, Jaiviere Pruitt, rushed Calloway and the three men fell to the ground. Pruitt put Calloway into a headlock because he was still fighting, police said.

    The guard “told the suspect to tap when he can’t breathe,” store employee Phille Roberts, who also helped hold Calloway down, told officers, according to the police report.

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