Plastic straws are a big issue in St. Pete. Last month, the city council voted to ban single-use straws completely in 2020. Starting in 2019, however, restaurants and other businesses can only give straws by request.
Around 6:50pm on New Year’s Eve this led to a confrontation between a Clearwater man, identified as Daniel Taylor, and a McDonalds employee.
According to another customer who filmed the incident, the fight began because Taylor demanded a straw.
"He didn't see any drinking straws so he yelled out to the employees he needs a straw -- 'Looks like somebody's not doing their job up in here!' The young lady behind the counter told him that it's the law now: 'We are not allowed to have straws in the lobby but you can request one.'"
In the now viral video, Taylor is seen grabbing employee Yasmine James by the shirt with both hands and pulling her toward him. She then starts punching him as he holds on. The two go at it for about 20 seconds before the other employees intervene.
McDonald’s released the following statement:
“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.”
Taylor is charged with two counts of simple battery for grabbing James and for kicking another worker in the stomach as he was being escorted out.