Mother, Congressman Demand Charges in CVS Death

Anthony Kyser died May 8 after struggle with store security

By Charlie Wojciechowski
|  Tuesday, May 18, 2010  |  Updated 6:15 PM CDT
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Mother, Congressman Demand Charges in CVS Death

Anthony Kyser

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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.

Police initially called the death an accident, but the Cook County Medical Examiner has since ruled it a homicide.

"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.

Also calling for charges is prominent Chicago attorney James Montgomery.

"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.

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