On December 2, Jonathan Hart, 21, was shot and killed by a security guard at a Walgreens in Hollywood because he was suspected of being a shoplifter. The security guard has finally been fired and charged with murder.
NBCNews.com reports, “Donald Vincent Ciota II, 28, was charged with one count of murder, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a press release Monday.” He is facing a maximum sentence of 50 years to life.
Walgreens said Ciota has been terminated, adding in a statement, “We have cooperated with authorities and will continue to support their prosecution of this case. We are fully committed to providing a safe environment for our employees, patients and customers in the communities we serve.”
Aaliyah Haughto, Hart’s friend, told KTLA 5 at the time, “A lot of awful words were exchanged, and we were then followed to the end of the store to complete our transaction. An altercation broke out again, scuffle happened, shoves were met.” Hart, who also went by the name Sky Young, was reportedly shot in the back.
Carl E. Douglas, the attorney representing the family, said at a news conference last month, “I dare say, Jonathan Hart was profiled because he was homeless. He was harassed because he was gay, and he was shot because he was Black. I gave this family a pledge: that Jonathan will not have died in vain, and that, on behalf of the people of America, through the spirit of Jonathan Hart, we are gonna make Walgreens pay.”
KTLA reports the family filed a $525 million dollar lawsuit against the company, saying because he was Black and openly gay that security responded violently.
Hart’s mother, Psychesia Hart, who is a security guard, told KTLA, “This mistake of a human being, because he had a badge and a gun, felt like he had every right to pull a weapon on my child. First off, you’re security. Our job as security officers: observe and report. But don’t pull no gun on nobody and shoot them in the back. What kind of coward are you?”
How disgusting that Walgreens’ security guards are armed with guns.
Rest in peace, Jonathan Hart, also known as Sky Young. We hope justice is received.