A Black, gay young man, who happened to be homeless, was shot and killed by a security guard inside of a Walgreens in Hollywood, Calif., on Dec. 2.
Jonathan Hart, who had been shopping earlier in the evening at the same Walgreens, was accused of shoplifting from the national retail drugstore by security guard, Donald Vincent Ciota II. There had been an earlier confrontation with the same security guard. The last incident lead to a physical altercation. Ciota pulled out his gun as Hart ran away and shot him. The bullet struck him in the neck, killing the young man.
Murder Suspect David Ciota II at his arraignment.
Ciota was later arrested and charged with one count of murder, according to prosecutors. He faces up to 50 years in prison and is being held on a $3 million bail.
Hart family attorney, Carl Douglas, issued a statement, on behalf of the distraught family:
“We are heartened, and indeed we are encouraged that district attorney Jackie Lacey has shown the leadership to file murder charges against Donald Vincent Ciota II, arising out of the tragic death of Jonathan Hart. A homeless, gay, Black man whose life was tragically taken far too soon.”
The Hart family plans to file a $525 million lawsuit against Walgreens. Douglas is also calling for a boycott against the chain until all armed security guards are removed from its stores.
A spokesperson for Walgreens issued a statement regarding Ciota’s employment status and the status of the security firm, which employed him:
“We have cooperated with authorities and will continue to support their prosecution of this case,” the statement read. “We are fully committed to providing a safe environment for our employees, patients and customers in the communities we serve.”
If safety was a concern for the drugstore, why are armed guards necessary Why wasn’t the police called on Hart It is not the job of a security guard to use deadly force to stop someone who isn’t a threat.
Walgreens’ executive leadership isn’t particularly diverse. It is made up of an all-white, predominantly male team.