A man assaulted a female McDonald’s employee after she told him he couldn’t have a straw because of a law passed in the US.
The middle-aged white man had made an order and went to collect a plastic straw from the condiment section of a Florida branch of McDonald's. When he realised there were none, he became irate and walked back to a black female cashier.
Brenda Biandudi, who witnessed the incident, told the Washington Post:
She told him that it’s the law now that they’re not supposed to have the straws in the lobby.
He insisted there was no such law, which is incorrect. The St Petersburg City Council voted last month to ban plastic straws by 2020, with 2019 being a grace period in which customers can explicitly ask for them.
An argument, filled with swearing, appears to have been initiated by the man, and Biandudi began recording the incident just as the man assaulted the young woman, who has been identified as Yasmine James, by grabbing her.
The McDonald’s employee can be seen looking confused for a moment, before she began punching him back.
A 40-year-old homeless man called Daniel Taylor was arrested on two charges of simple battery, according to an arrest affidavit from the St Petersburg Police Department.
Biandudi, 62, said:
I looked at my camera and I thought I may need to record this since there were so few people in the store.
As soon as he approached her, I hit record. He reached across and tried to grab her and hit her.
In the clip, people can be heard shouting "stop" and "let her go". Employees eventually separated them.
Taylor continued to swear at employees and shouted, "I want her a*** fired right now."
James had responded:
No, you’re going to go to jail. You put your hands on me first.
According to CNN, who accessed the affidavit, James had not been injured, but another employee, Tateona Bell, complained of pain after being kicked.
"Our highest priority is always the safety and well-being of our employees and customers at our restaurants. We have been in contact with the police department and are fully cooperating with their investigation," Khim Aday, from McDonald's corporate communications, said in a statement to CNN.
Biandudi’s video, which she uploaded on Facebook, has been viewed over three million times.