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Off-Duty Cop Witnesses Shoplifter's Death

Chicago Sun Times via YellowBrix

May 12, 2010

CHICAGO – An off-duty Cook County sheriff’s officer had her gun in her hand as a CVS employee strangled a shoplifter just yards away, the sheriff’s spokesman said Tuesday.

The latest revelations about the correctional officer’s involvement could cast further doubt on the Chicago Police account of how toothpaste thief Anthony Kyser, 35, died in a Little Village alley Saturday morning.

The new information came as U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) criticized the Chicago Police Department’s decision not to seek murder charges against the employee who chased Kyser and held him in a fatal choke hold.

Chicago Police said Sunday they didn’t know the off-duty officer was at the scene. When it emerged Monday that she was videotaped there, they acknowledged her presence but sidestepped witness accounts that she was armed, saying she didn’t point a gun at anyone.

Now the officer has told sheriff’s investigators that she did draw her weapon, holding it to her side and behind her back while telling Kyser to “stop resisting,” sheriff’s spokesman Steve Patterson said.

When Kyser continued to struggle, the officer — who does not have police powers or carry handcuffs — dialed 911, Patterson said.

Her account of the incident matches witness accounts given to the Sun-Times. There’s “nothing to suggest” she violated the sheriff’s rules, Patterson said.

Rush said Kyser’s family “deserves justice and answers.”

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