Leaked Video: CVS Manager Chokes Shoplifter to Death

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More than two years after 35-year-old Anthony Kyser was choked to death by a CVS store manager, surveillance footage capturing the incident has been leaked to the public. Dnainfo.com/chicago released the video showing Kyser being choked on the ground by the store manager, while several others held him down. Kyser allegedly stole a tube of toothpaste from the store, and was homeless at the time. Police, who had access to the footage, ruled the death an accident in 2010.

“The video was reviewed by detectives as part of their investigation at the time,” Chicago police department spokeswoman Lt. Maureen Biggane said, according to DNAinfo. “It was determined that criminal charges were not warranted.” The Cook County medical examiner’s office ruled the death a homicide, contradicting the police report.

Kyser’s family members filed a civil lawsuit against CVS and the manager. CVS has declined to comment on the ongoing case. U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush of Chicago called for criminal charges to be filed shortly after Kyser’s death, and hopes that the release of the video can lead to a new special investigation.

“This videotape … presents an undeniable moment where [his] life was snatched from him,” Rush said. “Thank God for the videotape.”

DNAinfo identified the manager as Pedro Villanova based on court records. Villanova maintained that he acted in self-defense after Kyser punched him, and originally only intended to retrieve the stolen merchandise.

According to court documents, Villanova admitted to holding his arm against Kyser’s throat, and to hearing the man say, “I can’t breathe.”

The civil case against Villanova and CVS is pending in Cook County Circuit Court, where Kyser’s mother is represented by the Cochran, Cherry, Givens, Smith & Montgomery law firm.

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