MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — City leaders and the police department respond to a Facebook video which shows a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina police officer asking a homeless man to leave a McDonald’s after another patron bought him a meal Wednesday morning, according to WMBF.
Police also escorted the customer filming the incident, Yossi Gallo, from the restaurant. Gallo can be heard telling the officer that he met the man outside the restaurant and invited him in.
According to Myrtle Beach police, the officer was responding to a call made by a McDonald’s employee requesting a trespass warning for a panhandler in the restaurant parking lot.
In the video, Gallo can be heard saying loudly, “You guys suck,” as the officer tells the man he has to leave, his food only partially eaten.
“Calm your voice,” the manager says to Gallo. “That’s what I’m asking you to do.”
Gallo replies, “This is how I talk, I talk loud. If the officer has a problem with that, the officer’s going to arrest me.”
The manager then tells Gallo, “Sir, you’re being disorderly.”
Both Gallo and the other man eventually complied with the officer’s order and left the McDonald’s.
By Thursday, the video had been viewed millions of times and thousands had commented, many furious about that the officer’s handling of the situation.
Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune praised the officer, however, saying in a video posted to the city’s Facebook page that, “what you will not see on that video is the whole story.”
“(The officer) handled herself in the most professional manner and treated this gentleman with dignity and respect,” Bethune told WMBF, adding that the man was known to the restaurant’s employees and had caused problems in the past.
“I believe in our police department,” Bethune said. “I know how close they work with our homeless community as well as the four shelters located within our city limits.”
Myrtle Beach police released the following statement about the incident:
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 behavior.
Both individuals complied with the request of the business and left the premises.
According to the CBS affiliate in Myrtle Beach, the City Council passed two laws just last year that bans “begging, panhandling, and sitting or lying on public sidewalks” and “loitering and crowding in public areas.”