Find Post Investigations On:
Facebook Scribd Twitter
Friendfeed RSS Google Reader
» About This Blog | Meet the Investigative Team | Subscribe
Ongoing Investigation

Top Secret America

The Post explores the top secret world the government created in response to the attacks of Sept. 11.

Ongoing Investigation

The Hidden Life of Guns

How guns move through American society, from store counter to crime scene.

Have a Tip?

Talk to Us

If you have solid tips, news or documents on potential ethical violations or abuses of power, we want to know. Send us your suggestions.
• E-mail Us


Post Investigations
In-depth investigative news
and multimedia from The Washington Post.
• Special Reports
• The Blog

Reporters' Notebook
An insider's guide to investigative news: reporters offer insights on their stories.

The Daily Read
A daily look at investigative news of note across the Web.

Top Picks
A weekly review of the best
in-depth and investigative reports from across the nation.

Hot Documents
Court filings, letters, audits and other documents of interest.

D.C. Region
Post coverage of investigative news in Maryland, Virginia and the District.

Washington Watchdogs
A periodic look into official government investigations.

Help! What Is RSS?
Find out how to follow Post Investigations in your favorite RSS reader.

Hot Comments

Unfortunately I believe that we are limited in what we can focus on. I think that if we proceed with the partisan sideshow of prosecuting Bush admin. officials, healthcare will get lost in the brouhaha.
— Posted by denamom, Obama's Quandary...

Recent Posts
Bob Woodward

The Washington Post's permanent investigative unit was set up in 1982 under Bob Woodward.

See what you missed, find what you're looking for.
Blog Archive »
Investigations Archive »

Have a Tip?
Send us information on ethics violations or abuses of power.
E-Mail Us »

Notable investigative projects from other news outlets.
On the Web »
Top Picks »

Holiday Looks Different After 'Black Friday Stampede'

POSTED: 11:21 AM ET, 12/ 4/2008 by Derek Kravitz

Nassau County Police on site at the Valley Stream, N.Y., Wal-Mart where a worker died amid a throng of eager Black Friday bargain shoppers. (Ed Betz / AP)

The fallout from the Black Friday death of a Long Island Wal-Mart employee, who was literally trampled as shoppers rushed into the store, has placed a new spin on the annual holiday shopping season.

The "Black Friday stampede" at the Wal-Mart store, in which an estimated 2,000 people made a beeline for the doors at 5 a.m. to grab holiday deals, resulted in the death of Jdimytai Damour, 34, of Jamaica.

The temporary security worker died of asphyxiation, police said. No one has been charged in connection with Damour's death, though police are investigating possible criminal charges (Newsday reports that it's unlikely anyone will be charged in the crime).

One of Damour's sisters has already filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Wal-Mart in state Supreme Court in the Bronx, claiming the company's ads offering deep discounts "created an atmosphere of competition and anxiety" that led to "crowd craze," The Associated Press reports.

The lawsuit also alleges Wal-Mart failed to provide adequate security at the store. Authorities suspect the 6-foot-5, 270-pound Damour was placed at the front because of his linebacker-type size.

Lawmakers are already throwing around ideas for "doorbuster" crowd-control laws in New York. A no-cutting-in-line conflict between two large groups of shoppers also helped to spark the 5 a.m. rush to the doors, police told Newsday.

Reaction, and condemnation, have been in no short supply since Damour's death.

"There's no question the people in that New York crowd lost their humanity in the quest for a bargain," The Post's Michelle Singletary opined in her personal finance column.

"What happened after that man died says even more about our culture and corporate greed," referring to television news reports quoting some Wal-Mart employees saying they heard customers complaining they were being forced out of the store.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune said the incident had turned holiday shopping into "a blood sport -- a shameful, sickening milestone for American culture that must not happen again."

The Chicago Tribune's Kayce T. Ataiyero, writing for her "Consumerland" column, said retailers need to provide better security and crowd control at such events. "But consumers also need to be held accountable for fostering a culture in which common decency is discarded for the sake of a discount," she wrote.

The Boston Globe said bluntly: "On this Black Friday in Long Island, consumerism looked more like modern idolatry."

By Derek Kravitz |  December 4, 2008; 11:21 AM ET In the News
Previous: Emanuel Used Contacts to Make Millions, Nevada Lt. Gov Indicted, Obama to Wait for Legal Opinions | Next: Auto's Big Three Fuel Up For Bailout


Please email us to report offensive comments.

All of you who shop Wal-Mart please rent the documentary; "WAL-MART, The High Price of Low Cost", then ask yourself if you want to shop there anymore.

Posted by: Willard11 | December 4, 2008 12:44 PM

Why in the world was a 8-month pregnant woman doing up and out shopping in that kind of environment?!?! I hope when her baby pops out he'll sue her for being a terrible parent. They may as well just c-section it right now and put it into foster care since it's obvious the baby's mom and dad aren't fit to raise a damn dog.

Posted by: muskratinator | December 4, 2008 12:49 PM

how very racist of you. The fact that one of the most terrible sides of human beings came out during a holiday shopping spree shows how corrupt the american populace has become.

Posted by: droh | December 4, 2008 12:49 PM

I really don't understand why anyone would put themselves thru this anymore when you can find better deals online from the safety and comfort of home...especially with tools like

Posted by: FinancialBubblewrapcom | December 4, 2008 12:57 PM

"Lawmakers are already throwing around ideas for "doorbuster" crowd-control laws in New York."
Why regulation?

Doesn't captalism work so much better completely unregulated? Ask Bush.

Heck - one death.
Just part of the cost of business.

Posted by: T-Prop | December 6, 2008 4:43 AM

Why don't we take a step back and look at what so called "humanity" has come to? It is not the fault of Wal-Mart, of the security office or the pregnant woman. It is the fault of the animals that stormed the store looking for a bargain. Most intelligent people know that the store will only carry few items that are being advertised as a bargain. You would be lucky to get one of the two DVD players being advertised for 9.99. It's common sense, my friends.

I enjoy shopping on black friday just for the "spirit" of it all. Do I stand in lines at 4 am? No, I don't. I wait in my car until the line goes down, but to each his own.

We absolutely cannot blame a pregnant woman to be shopping at 2 am. Clearly the post earlier referring to this woman was made by a man. Pregnancy is far from the end of the world. If she had enough energy at that point in pregnancy to be shopping, all the power to her! That is not anyone's concern nor does it reflect on her future as a parent.

Lets stop blaming WalMart AND the victims. The blame is placed on those customers in line. What I don't understand is why they cannot be held somewhat accountable. There is video tape of the event...

Posted by: hulawahine | December 10, 2008 6:32 PM

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining


© 2010 The Washington Post Company