Guard Charged in Shoplifting Death

ByABC News
July 6, 2000, 4:10 PM

D E T R O I T, July 6 -- A private security guard was charged todaywith involuntary manslaughter in the suffocation death of a blackman last month outside a department store.

The charge against Dennis Richardson, a guard for the Lord andTaylor store at Fairlane Town Center in Dearborn, came a day afterthousands of protesters rallied outside the store. They suggestedthe June 22 death of Frederick Finley had racial overtones, thoughthe suspect also is black.

Finley was in the Lord & Taylor store with friends and familywhen surveillance cameras allegedly recorded some members of thegroup shoplifting. Finleys 11-year-old stepdaughter removed abracelet from a counter and left the store without paying for it,prosecutors said in a statement.

Outside, security workers tried to question the girl and Finleyintervened, prosecutors said. During an ensuing confrontation withFinley, Richardson used a neck hold to subdue the Detroit man,ultimately causing his death, the statement said.

Under all the circumstances, the duration and amount of forceused by Richardson was excessive, and probable cause clearlyexists for the involuntary manslaughter count, Prosecutor John D.OHair said in the statement.

Prosecutors and Dearborn police did not return telephonemessages today seeking further detail.

The manslaughter count carries a possible 15 years in prison and$7,500 fine.

We Kill For $4Attorney Geoffrey Fieger, who represents Finleys family, saidhe believed a second-degree murder charge would have been moreappropriate.

Mr. Richardson didnt just put him in a choke hold. Mr.Richardson put a chain around Mr. Finleys neck and pulled it untilhe crushed his trachea, Fieger told Detroit radio station WWJ.

An estimated 5,000 to 10,000 protesters led by the Rev. AlSharpton rallied Wednesday outside the store, some carrying signswith messages such as Racism is alive and well. We kill for $4 inMichigan and God is watching you.