Video Transcript: Wrongful Termination of Walgreens “Hero”
From ABC News, Live in Time Square, Monday, September 12th, 2011, this is Good Morning America, with Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos. Good morning everyone. This is surveillance video from a Walgreens in Michigan. A drugstore is being robbed. You see it right there. But then, the pharmacist pulls out a gun, scares the thieves away. Get this, instead of being hailed as a hero, the pharmacist got fired. Now he’s suing Walgreens. And we have that story coming up.
This is a complicated one. It was. I think people will be weighing in about that. To that attempt heist caught on tape. A pharmacist foiling two robbers, pulling a gun, and shooting at the men, apparently saving the day. So why did he lose his job over this? Our weekend anchor Dan Harris has more on the incident, and why the man is now suing Walgreens. Suing, federal court.
Robin, good morning to you. This is an incredible story. This videotape, which was just released, is extraordinary. On it, you’re going to see a night shift nightmare play out in real time. And you can decide, as a jury likely will, whether one of the employees was reckless, or as his lawyer describes him, heroic. It all plays out on this harrowing surveillance video from a Walgreens pharmacy in Michigan.
It’s 4:30 in the morning on May 8th, Mother’s Day, and Jeremy Hoven, a 36-year-old pharmacist, is sorting medications behind the counter. And then it begins. Two armed men wearing masks enter. Immediately they start pointing their guns at one of the workers. Then they take a second worker, a manager, hostage, dragging him through the aisles at gunpoint. Hoven tries to call 9-1-1. Seconds later, I saw another manager with a gunman. The gunman saw me, and I saw him. The gunman leaps over the counter, turns, and aims his gun at Hoven. I feared for my life. The gunman repeatedly attempted to fire upon me. Three times, says Hoven, but for some reason the gun wouldn’t fire. In self-defense, I fired my weapon. Hoven fires three times at the robbers, and they then run out in a panic.
While nobody got hurt, and while some would see Hoven’s actions as heroic, Walgreens apparently does not. Five days later, despite the fact that Hoven had a permit to carry a gun, he was fired for violating Walgreens’ non-escalation policy, as well as a policy barring employees from carrying weapons while they work. At no time during my employment with Walgreens was I advised of, given a copy of, or discussed with management a non-escalation policy. In a statement to ABC News, Walgreens stands behind their decision, and says their policies are designed for the safety of their customers and employees, and are quote, endorsed by law enforcement.
But Hoven is fighting back with a wrongful termination suit that is now headed to federal court. My client is asserting that he was fired in violation of Michigan Public Policy. Specifically that citizens of Michigan have a right to defend themselves, and that Walgreens violated his right of self-defense by firing him. One interesting detail here, it’s worth noting that the reason Hoven started carrying a gun in the first place was that this same pharmacy was held up back in 2007. Since getting fired from his $150,000 a year job, Hoven has been unemployed. You can see why a company would have a non-escalation policy. But if you don’t know about it– That’s a key point. That’s going to be a key point at this trial. A lot of people waiting to see how this turns out.