Shopping While Black Turns Deadly At CVS Pharmacy

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Congressional Hearings Loom Due To Customer's Homicide

Entertainment mogul Jerome Almon is calling on civil rights groups, legal organizations, and consumer groups to join together in combating CVS Pharmacy’s official policy of racial profiling of Black customers. According to Mr. Almon he warned CVS Pharmacy executives that unless it corrected its policy regarding "shopping while Black," the policy would lead to a tragedy.

According the Chicago Sun Times, Anthony Kyser was strangled by a CVS manager in mid May in Chicago, after allegedly shoplifting $5 worth of toothpaste and crayons. Mr. Kyser . According to numerous Chicago and national media outlets, the Cook County medical examiner has ruled the death a homicide. The entire incident was caught on tape as it happened in front of a sheriff's deputy. CVS hads placed the employee on leave, and media reports from Chicago state the employee is now facing a criminal investigation due to the public outcry.

Due the rash of Black customers being killed by retailers for "shopping while Black," Representative Bobby Rush of Chicago is preparing to hold hearings on the matter before Congress. In a 18 May 2010 press release and press conference Congressman Rush noted that CVS Pharmacy was awarded an $800 million contract to manage prescription-drug benefits for the city of Chicago and other local government agencies.Congressman Rush notes the decision came despite a whistleblower lawsuit accused the corporation of bilking tens of millions of dollars from the state of Illinois from 2002 to 2005, when it managed the state’s pharmacy benefits.

In a May 2010 epidsode of the ABC network news magazine "What Would You Do" the issue of shopping while Black was examined and it was found that 60% of African Americans reported that they were victims of "shopping while Black." Host John Quinones set up several situations involving White and Blacks customers and found out that White customers were never confronted for illegal activity, and in fact were sometimes aided by the general public although it was crystal clear a crime was being committed, while Blacks doing the same act were immediately confronted by the same individuals and police were immediately called. According to the University of Georgia's Selig Center For Economic Growth, African Americans are the 14 largest economy on Earth just based on Black consumer spending out of the 238 countries recognized by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA 2008 figures). With 70% of the American economy based on consumer spending, African Americans are responsible for millions of jobs and are in the position to send corporations such as CVS Pharmacy into bankruptcy with a boycott. According to the Selig Center, African American consumer spending is forecast to surpass the Canada as the 10th largest economy on the planet in 2011.

Mr. Almon sued the retail giant in April for $250 million due to an incident he experienced, that mirrors the Kyser case (Wayne County Circuit Court case # 10-004225-CZ). Mr. Almon alleges in his lawsuit that he too was to targeted by CVS Pharmacy for illegitmate reasons. Almon's lawsuit alleges was confronted by an armed CVS employee as he entered a CVS Pharmacy store in Deroit, Michigan. Mr. Almon alleges that CVS corporate leaders repeatedly to gave false statements to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission (case# 373750) . Documents from the Freedom of Information allegedly indicate that CVS Pharmacy representatives gave conflicting accounts of the incident. Mr. Almon plans to release the entire file and communications through a website and press conference in June. The file allegedly show that CVS executives repeatedly referred to Mr. Almon's ownership of Murdercap Records as justification for their employees behavior. All tapes of the incident were destroyed by CVS Pharmacy, an act known as “spoliation.” Michigan has had a rash of Black customers killed in retail establishment in recent years where customers have been strangled, beaten, and shot to death by retail employees as in the CVS Pharmacy –Kyser case and has outlawed the practice and put severe restrictions on conduct of retail employees contact with customers.

For further information on Anthony Kyser:
http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/2254316,CST-NWS-shoplift10.article. http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local-beat/Toothpaste-Costs-Shoplifter-His-Life-93264974.html
http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=7448937

For furhter information onCVS Pharmacy and Shooping While Black Incidents:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/11/officer-was-on-the-scene_n_571803.html
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/12/nwl_shooting.html
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2001/feb2001/shot-f24.shtml
http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2009/12/rite_aid_blamed_in_michigan_ma.html
http://www.lptoday.com/deaths.htm
http://www.curecvsnow.org

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Jerome Almon
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