A Brooklyn man died on Saturday following an incident in which witnesses say he was held down after being accused of shoplifting, CBS New York reports.
51-year-old Ralph Nimmons was at a Brooklyn Stop & Shop when an employee reportedly sat on him to restrain him while waiting for the police.
“He was just saying, ‘Let me go, let me go, let me go,’” said one female witness. “But then when he was on the ground, he said that he couldn’t breathe, and he had a heart problem.”
“I saw this guy laying on the floor, and there was a man over him – sitting over him,” another witness said.
Jacene McDonald said she witnessed someone offering to pay for the item or items Nimmons was accused of stealing.
“She asked, ‘What’s going on? What happened? He stole something?’ He’s like, ‘I didn’t do nothing.’ And she pulled out her money to pay for whatever they said he stole, but they wouldn’t take her money," McDonald said. "So they wrestled him and he didn’t want – he wasn’t trying to be held, he was trying to get out.”
When police finally arrived, they found Nimmons lying on the floor, unconscious and unresponsive. Medical first responders were brought in to administer CPR, but attempts to revive Nimmons were unsuccessful.
The medical examiner is currently working to conclude Nimmons' cause of death. Police are also investigating the incident to determine whether a crime was committed.
“This is insane,” said Flatbush resident Christina Hutchinson. “There’s nothing there that valuable.”
Stop & Shop issued a statement regarding the incident on Sunday: “We are saddened by the death that occurred at our Flatbush Avenue store on Saturday morning. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family. We continue to cooperate with law enforcement officials to ensure that the facts pertaining to this incident are fully and accurately determined.”