A video has gone viral on Facebook showing police ejecting a homeless man from a McDonald's restaurant in the US after a customer bought him food.
The incident reportedly took place at a Myrtle Beach branch of the restaurant chain, in South Carolina, after a man identified as Yossi Gallo purchased the homeless man food and brought him into the building.
According to Gallo, the homeless man was spotted just meters away from the McDonald's, which prompted him to flag him down and ask if he was hungry.
In an interview with WMBF News, Gallo stated:
I waved him down and I said, 'Hey, are you hungry?' And he said, 'Yes,'
So I went in there with him, and as soon as we went inside, the lady at the register says, 'You're not getting food.' She tells him he's not getting food.
A police officer soon arrived on the scene, which prompted Gallo to begin filming and protesting the interjection of the staff and the law.
Gallo can be heard raising his voice and criticising the staff before he and the homeless man leave the venue.
The event can be seen in the video below which has been viewed more than 56 million times on Facebook and received 1.2 million shares.
Despite the disgust and outrage, the video has caused online the Myrtle Beach police state that the homeless man was well known to the restaurant.
In a statement shared by WTVR, the police declare:
The police department is aware of a video involving a Myrtle Beach police officer that is circulating on Facebook.
The video was recorded this morning at a McDonald’s restaurant that is located in the city of Myrtle Beach.
Officers were dispatched to the location after receiving a call, from an employee of the business, that a male was in the parking lot asking people for money.
Upon arriving at the restaurant, an employee approached the officer and indicated the male was inside the establishment. The employee requested the officer issue a trespassing warning and asked that the person leave the premises.
The officer advised the male of the request made by the business and issued the warning. A bystander, who was videotaping the incident was also trespassed from the location, at the request of the manager, for what management deemed as disorderly behaviour.
Both individuals complied with the request of the business and left the premises.
In addition to this, the manager of the restaurant, Joel Pellicci Jr has also provided a statement.
At my restaurant, the goal is to provide our customers with a positive and welcoming experience each time they visit.
Unfortunately, the individual in this video has a history of disruptive behaviour and has been asked to leave by management and police on several occasions.
Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune has also released a statement via a Facebook video, where she praises the police officer for her professional conduct and encourages members of the community to help those in need.
In response to the video, that particular McDonald's restaurant has been flooded with negative online reviews by angry users online.
A darker element has also emerged which has seen individuals post misogynist remarks about the police officer in the video and even share links to her personal Facebook page.
Gallo has responded to these actions and said that he never wished for anything like this to happen and asked people to leave her alone.
He told WMBF News:
I think that's completely wrong. Completely wrong. I do believe that she was doing her job.
She did nothing wrong. I don't have any anger towards her in any way.
I would say please definitely leave her alone. She was very polite.
She was doing her job. I wouldn't want anyone to speak badly of her. She was very nice actually.