Family of alleged shoplifter who died in altercation with supermarket employees demands justice

FLATBUSH, Brooklyn (WABC) -- The family of a man who died during an an alleged shoplifting incident in Brooklyn is calling for justice.

51-year-old Ralph Nimmons died over the weekend at a Stop & Shop in Flatbush when he was held down by employees. Witnesses say he pleaded for them to get off.

"I'm angry about it and I want justice," said the victim's uncle Bonezlee Nimmons. "That's what I want. I want these individuals to pay for what they did."

His relatives insist it was a crime. That Ralph Nimmons was killed by supermarket workers trying to detain him for shoplifting. It happened at 7:30 Saturday morning.

"They were sitting on his head, they were compressing his chest, he was crying out that he couldn't breathe and that he had a heart condition. And this was being ignored," said family attorney Scott Rynecki.

The man's relatives and their legal team met with the Brooklyn District Attorney for 45 minutes Wednesday afternoon and left reassured that a criminal investigation is underway.

On Saturday, witnesses told Eyewitness News that Nimmons appeared to be leaving the store with groceries when he was confronted, and restrained.

"They tried to get the stuff from him, they took the stuff from him," said eyewitness Antwaune Savage. "He told them y'all got what you want, leave me alone. They threw him down to the ground like three people and they got on top of him and pressed him down."

When police arrived, Nimmons was unconscious and unresponsive. His precise cause of death has not yet been determined.

His family says it was not clear whether Nimmons was shoplifting but his uncle insists it hardly matters.

"Just because he allegedly took something you don't have to sit on his head, compress his chest and his legs until, you know, he couldn't breathe anymore," said Bonezlee Nimmons. "I couldn't care if he had a penthouse in Manhattan or if he lived in a little shack in Sheepshead Bay. He didn't deserve this."

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