A man who grabbed an employee at a Florida McDonald’s during an argument over straws has been arrested, police said, and video of the incident has gone viral, gaining millions of views on Facebook.
St. Petersburg Police Department said Daniel Taylor faces two counts of simple battery after reaching over the counter at the fast food restaurant and grabbing a female employee, then later kicking another female employee in the stomach before leaving.
Video of the incident, which occurred Monday, shows the employee who Taylor grabbed unloading punches shortly after he flung her forward. The employee “defended herself by punching Taylor in the face as he held on to her shirt’s collar,” police said.
Other employees intervened to separate the two as the shouting continued, the video shows.
“It all started because he wanted a straw,” Kinie Biandudi said in a Facebook post sharing the video “The young girl said she used to box 🥊”
Biandudi’s mother Brenda Biandudi told BuzzFeed News she recorded the video and that the incident began when Taylor couldn’t find a straw near the condiments.
Biandudi said the employee told the man it was policy not to have plastic straws out. St. Petersburg’s city council recently passed a law that ordered restaurants only to hand out straws by request by 2019, before banning them all together by 2020, according to ABC affiliate WFTS.
“He was very upset, he started berating her, swearing, saying ‘There’s no law like that,'” Biandudi told BuzzFeed News. “She said, ‘Yes it is, we’re not allowed to put straws out.'”
In an interview with the Washington Post, Biandudi said she took out her phone to record as the argument escalated “in case somebody needs to know what happened.”
After the two were separated, the employee returned near the counter to look for her phone. Taylor can then be heard saying he wants the employee fired, to which she replied, “No, you’re going to go to jail. You put your hands on me first.”
The two continued to hurl profanities at each other as they were separated again before the video ends.
Police said Taylor continued to shout at employees before being asked to leave, and he then allegedly kicked the other employee who was standing near the exit. Authorities said they responded to the McDonald’s and saw the video of the incident.
Officers arrested Taylor shorty after when they received a call about an unarmed robbery nearby and recognized him from the video, police said.
In a statement, McDonald’s said they had been in contact with police. “Our highest priority is always the safety and well-being of our employees and customers at our restaurants,” spokesperson Khim Aday said.
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