Myrtle Beach, SC -- Myrtle Beach police are responding to a viral video on Facebook which shows an officer asking a man, who appears to be homeless, to leave a McDonald's restaurant after someone paid for his meal.
In the five-minute video posted to Facebook Wednesday morning shows a Myrtle Beach police officer speaking with a man who is sitting at a booth eating his meal. The officer tells the man that after he finishes his meal he must leave the restaurant and never return.
You can hear a man who filmed the video and posted it telling the officer he personally paid for the man's food and was not asking for money.
The officer said several people called police complaining about the presumably homeless man asking for cash in an area outside the restaurant.
The man filming can be heard telling the McDonald’s staff that they “suck” for kicking a homeless man out of the restaurant, which ultimately leads to a restaurant manager telling the man filming he also has to leave for being “disorderly.”
After requesting a refund, the man who posted the video is handed a paper bag by the manager to bag his food. The man requests a refund once again, to which the police officer explains she can’t mandate the restaurant give him a refund and he needs to “get [his] stuff and leave.”
The video concludes with the video taker and the homeless man getting into a vehicle to go somewhere else to have lunch.
Myrtle Beach Police Captain Joey Crosby confirms the incident occurred at a Myrtle Beach McDonald’s restaurant and officers were dispatched to the location after receiving a call from a McDonald’s employee claiming a man was in the parking lot asking people for money.When the officer arrived at McDonald’s, an employee told the officer the man was now inside the restaurant and the employee wanted the man to receive a trespass warning and removed from the establishment.
Capt. Crosby confirms that both the man eating and the man filming the incident were asked to leave McDonald’s and told they cannot come back.
The owner of the McDonald’s Restaurant Joel Pellicci provided the following 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 behavior and has been asked to leave by management and police on several occasions. His unpredictable behaviors have created significant concerns for the safety and comfort of our employees and customers. Whereas we are compasionate [sic] of the individuals [sic] situation and admirable of the customers [sic] generosity, the restaurant acted to remove an individual that has a long history of disruptive and unacceptable behaviors which have negatively affected customer experiences.
Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune defended the officer's actions, saying she handled herself in the "most professional manner."
Mayor Bethune says in her video response, which was posted to the city’s Facebook page Thursday afternoon, that she watched the officer’s body camera video and based on that footage, the community does not know the entire story.
“Yesterday there was a video that went viral on Facebook about an incident that happened with a homeless gentleman, a local business and one of our police officers,” says Mayor Bethune. “What you will not see on that video is the whole story.”
Mayor Bethune goes on to say that the police officer “handled herself in the most professional manner and treated this gentleman with dignity and respect.” The mayor notes that the police officers work closely with the homeless community and encourages the community to come together and do the same.
“I believe in our police department. I know how closely they work with our homeless community,” states Mayor Bethune. “Let’s reach out and do everything we can possibly do to help our homeless community and be in support of our police department.”
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