Wal-Mart settles Black Friday stampede death case

Security guard was trampled on Black Friday. Retailer did not admit guilt or wrongdoing in settlement.

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CHICAGO (Reuters) -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. agreed to improve its post-Thanksgiving Day crowd control as a condition of avoiding criminal prosecution in the fatal stampede of frenzied holiday shoppers at a Long Island store.

In a settlement made public on Wednesday with the district attorney of New York's Nassau County and the world's largest retailer also agreed to set up a $400,000 victims' compensation fund, donate $1.5 million to the community and provide 50 jobs annually to high school students in the area.

The deal came as a result of the DA's investigation into the death of a 34-year-old security guard, Jdimytai Damour, who was knocked to the ground and trampled to death in the early morning hours on the Friday after Thanksgiving as shoppers stormed a Wal-Mart.

Black Friday, as the day following the November holiday is called, is traditionally one of the busiest retail shopping days of the year. The reference is used by merchants and the media to refer to the beginning of the holiday shopping period when historically retailers began to turn a profit.

Damour's family has filed a separate civil lawsuit against Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500).

The retailer did not admit guilt or wrongdoing in its settlement with DA Kathleen Rice. It did agree to have independent safety experts review its crowd management plans for post-Thanksgiving events at all 92 of its New York stores.

Wal-Mart will need to comply with the agreement for the next three years or face possible criminal charges in case, the district attorney's office said. To top of page

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