Posted Dec. 5, 2008 – Authorities say a no-cutting-in-line fight between two large groups of shoppers helped spark the after-Thanksgiving stampede in which a Wal-Mart security guard on Long Island, N.Y., was trampled to death, according to Newsday.
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Shoppers who remained inside their vehicles in the parking lot until the Valley Stream store's special 5 a.m., opening apparently clashed with people who had stood outside in line for hours, police said on Wednesday. When the store's doors opened, the conflict between the two groups – with "a considerable amount of people" who had stayed in their vehicles rushing to enter the store without waiting in line – fostered "mob mentality," Nassau Police Lt. Kevin Smith said.
"A whole lot of people started getting out of their cars and made a beeline for that door," Smith said, referring to the one set of doors open to shoppers. "It's definitely a contributing factor – the mentality of 'They're not going to cut in front of me.'"
In the crush of an estimated 2,000 people, the set of doors was broken, and Jdimytai Damour, 34, of Jamaica, a temporary security worker, was trampled, dying of asphyxiation, police said.
In a written statement, Hank Mullany, president of Wal-Mart's Eastern Division, said the company is working to improve security measures.
Meanwhile, Damour's family (pictured above), has filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart, saying the company did not do enough to protect people from harm on Black Friday. The lawsuit filed by Damour's family is not the first in connection with stampede.
On Monday, Fritz Mesadieu, 51, and his son Jonathan, 19, both of Hempstead, filed a notice of claim against Nassau County and a separate negligence suit against Wal-Mart. They're seeking $2 million in damages, claiming the county was negligent because it failed to have proper police in the Wal-Mart parking lot.
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