Jackson MS April 11 2009
A woman who lost sight in one eye in a June 2007 attack in a Kroger parking lot in Jackson won a $2.5 million judgment Friday against the store.
A Hinds County Circuit Court jury deliberated about 90 minutes before finding in Linda Knox’s favor that Kroger was negligent.
Knox, 63, would not comment later.
Her attorney, Ashley Ogden, had asked the jury for $4 million during closing arguments. The initial lawsuit was for $8.3 million.
“Obviously, Kroger and I are disappointed,” said Kroger attorney Bill Luckett of Clarksdale.
Luckett said the store will ask Circuit Judge Winston Kidd for the jury award to be set aside. “If that doesn’t work, I expect there will be an appeal,” Luckett said.
Isaiah Robertson of Jackson and Lionel Kyles of Clinton were charged with aggravated assault and strong-arm robbery in the attack.
Robertson has been sentenced to 25 years in prison. Kyles wasn’t prosecuted because of his cooperation.
The two were suspected of attacking and robbing at least four older women in shopping center parking lots.
Knox alleged in her lawsuit that no one at the 4910 I-55 Kroger store or Securitas Security Services USA, the store’s security company, came to her aid as she was being beaten by a man trying to take her purse.
On the day of the attack, Knox said a white car pulled up to her as she was loading groceries into her vehicle.
Two men inside the white car threatened her, the suit said, and one got out and began punching her in the face and body while grabbing at her purse.
“Ms. Knox was screaming during the attack, but the (defendants) did not come to her aid,” the lawsuit said.
Eventually, the thief overpowered Knox and was able to make off with her purse.
Knox spent two weeks in the hospital and accumulated more than $100,000 in medical expenses, an attorney said.
Knox alleged in her lawsuit that Kroger and its security company failed to adequately train, screen and supervise security guards.
Ogden said during closing arguments Kroger chose to have an armed security person inside the store instead of in the store’s parking lot.
Kroger said it had a security person patrolling the parking lot.
Ogden said an unarmed security person was eating at a nearby Wendy’s fast-food restaurant at the time of the attack. He also said there had been other purse snatchings in the store parking lot over the years and that the store was aware of that.
Knox’s other attorney, Robert Wilkins, said if Kroger had switched the armed security officer from inside to outside, the attack wouldn’t have happened.
“If they told customers ‘you were at your own risk (on the parking lot),’ maybe we wouldn’t be here,” Wilkins said.
But Luckett said there was no way Kroger could have prevented “crazy, drugged out thugs” from carrying out the attack.
Luckett said one of those charged in the crime said they had driven around the parking lot looking for a female to snatch her purse.
“Look at it as an unfortunate event that happened on Kroger’s lot,” Luckett said.
JOIN THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PRIVATE OFFICERS
Get news alerts, officer down, weather emergency news in your mailbox! Sign up;email@example.com
Join us at http://www.myspace.com/privateofficernews
Come be part of our social network! http://www.privateofficer.com
Security officers arrested in shooting investigation http://www.privateofficer.com
The Jackson Police Department has dismissed three reserve police officers following a weekend shooting that injured seven people at a nightclub.
Reserved officers Rasean Thomas, Carlos Charleston and Elliot Holmes were hired to provide security at Mr. B’s on Medgar Evers Boulevard when five teenagers, an adult and Thomas, were shot about 1 a.m. Saturday.
Jackson police spokesman Lt. Jeffery Scott said the officers were let go because they did not enforce the midnight curfew for minors. He said the three also violated a JPD policy that prevents reserve officers from working part time as security guards.
Thomas is 30. The others shot were 17, 19 and 22, and three were 15.
Also charged on Tuesday with contributing to the delinquency of a minor was Daryl McGee, a security guard at Mr. B’s.
Thomas, Charleston, Holmes and McGee also are full-time Jackson firefighters.
“When these kids were shot, it was well past their curfew. If you’re an officer, you have a duty to the safety of a child. There’s no way around it,” Scott said. “They should have started closing the club at 11:30 p.m. to ensure everyone was in compliance.”
Police still do not have any suspects in the shooting.
Mr. B’s owner Clifton Burn was arrested Monday and charged with delinquency of a minor for allowing the teens to remain on his property after hours, Scott said.
After being released, Burns was irate over the way JPD has handled the investigation. He said police officials purposely arrested him at his business Monday in front of television news cameras.
“They came and arrested me like I’m a dope addict. I spent my life’s savings on this building and in this neighborhood trying to make it better,” he said. “They’re not looking for the person who did it. They’re blaming me.”
Burns said that he leases the building on Fridays to local DJs who throw parties for teens after high school football games.
He said there is no drug, alcohol or gang activity at the club, just kids dancing.
Burns said he plans to make sure future parties at his club close before midnight.
JFD Chief Vernon Hughes said the firefighters will remain on duty while he reviews the incident.
There are new developments in the weekend shooting at a Jackson nightclub. The Jackson reserve police officers working security Saturday night at Mr. B’s are now facing charges.
Police arrested Rasean Thomas, Carlos Charleston, and Elliot Holmes. All three are firefighters who also work as reserve police officers. They have been removed from service as officers.
Jackson fireman Daryl McGee was also arrested.
All are being charged with three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
On Monday, police arrested the owner of Mr. B’s, Clifton Burns. He’s facing the same charge as the firemen.
The charges stem from the officers allegedly allowing a group of teens to loiter in the parking lot past curfew.
On Tuesday another shooting victim came forward, bringing the total up to seven people shot.