Congressman Bobby Rush joined a grieving mother on Tuesday and demanded that criminal charges be lobbed against the "vigilantes" responsible for the death of a man suspected of stealing a tube of toothpaste and a box of crayons from a pharmacy.
“My son didn’t deserve to die like that,” said Ann Marie Kyser, surrounded by ministers and friends at Beloved Community Christian Church on Chicago's South Side. “They are saying a shoplifter paid with his life. My son paid with his life.”
Kyser's second son, Anthony, died on Mother's Day during a struggle with employees in the alley behind a CVS pharmacy in the 2600 block of South Pulaski. Employees say Anthony Kyser left the store with items he didn't pay for. He died after being wrapped in a choke hold for several minutes, witnesses said.
"What kind of society are we living in where an unarmed man, his life, can be taken by a group of vigilantes?" Rush asked those gathered.
"It is not a capitol offense to steal a three or four dollar toothpaste and crayons," he said. "It is not a capitol offense to steal a million dollars."
For Ann Marie Kyser, the death of her 31-year-old son is the second time she has lost a son to violence. Her oldest son, Sherman Vance Kyser, was shot to death in 2002.
"I want to see justice," she said in a weary voice. "I am not interested in a check put in front of me. Give me justice so I can go to sleep."
Anthony Kyser's father filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the convenience store days after the incident.
Rush said that if there is no decision on charges by "high noon" on Friday, he plans to lead a march that afternoon from police headquarters to the offices of States Attorney Maria Alvarez.
"Our march will show them which direction they must go," the Chicago Democrat said.