Community activists protested Wednesday outside a Lake View Jewel-Osco where a suspected shoplifter died last week after being detained by the grocery store’s security guards.
The 55-year-old man, whose identity has not been released, was pronounced dead after police found him unresponsive in the security office at the store, located in the 3500 block of North Broadway, according to Chicago police.
A guard told investigators he detained the man after witnessing him put toiletries into a bag and walk past the last point of purchase of the store, police said.
“A person who was shoplifting from Jewel does not deserve any kind of punishment, much less to be murdered,” said Lake View community activist Erica Kadel, who was joined by about two dozen other protesters.
As shoppers entered the store, the protesters passed out fliers about the incident. They demanded that the grocery store release the man’s name, the names of its security guards and other details about the incident.
The group also passed out free food and groceries to anyone who needed it, while about a dozen Chicago police officers stood behind them, monitoring the event.
“It’s difficult if not impossible to honor and memorialize someone who the state, in cooperation with this business, refuse to identify,” community activist Laura Grace said. “We’re demanding that Jewel-Osco please take this seriously.”
The man’s autopsy results were still pending further investigation Wednesday.
Police said the man became combative when the security guard confronted and tried to detain him. A cashier and another person helped handcuff the man and take him to the store’s security office, where they called 911.
When officers arrived, the man was unresponsive, slouched over a crate while handcuffed, police said. They began CPR and called for paramedics.
The man was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center and pronounced dead at 7:15 p.m., police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office said.
Police said the Jewel-Osco security guard was an unarmed 44-year-old man who was employed by the company. A spokesperson for Jewel-Osco did not reply to a request for comment.
No one is currently in custody, police said. Area North detectives are conducting a death investigation.