The Waffle House chain has come under fire after a black couple were arrested for alleged theft and trespassing. The pair had disputed an overcharge on their bill, prompting the restaurant to call the police.
The dispute arose when the couple, who had ordered a meal to-go, asked why they had been charged $2.50 for an orange juice that was listed as $1 on the menu. The incident took place in May, but the police footage was only released this week, after the couple’s footage circulated on Facebook.
Fort Walton Police bodycam footage shows the couple inside the restaurant in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. The officer can be heard taking a tough stance with the male complainant, who says the officer will put his hands on him if he goes outside. “Oh I’m going to put my hands on you!” the officer said.
The woman explains they were overcharged and that the waitress called the police instead of showing them the receipt. The couple go outside with the police officers and attempt to explain.
A second officer takes out his handcuffs and tells the man to put his hands behind his head. “What am I going to jail for?” the man says. “For theft,” the police officer responds.
The officer wearing the bodycam tells the woman to go pay the bill. She says she won’t leave her boyfriend. The first officer points his taser weapon as the other officer handcuffs the man.
Moments later, the woman is handcuffed after she comes out of the restaurant and tells the police the Waffle House refused to deal with her until the police came in.
A Waffle House employee said the orange juice is only $1 when another drink is purchased, and that the couple had ordered water, which doesn’t count. The couple had not received their food order at the time of the arrest. When the officer returns to the cars he confirms that they couple hadn’t been served any food. “If you want to take him, take him. I don’t care,” the officer says. The pair are eventually let go.
Fort Walton Police said they shared the video to “set the record straight.”
This isn’t the first time the Waffle House has been at the center of an arrest of black customers. In April, a woman was arrested at an Alabama Waffle House when she refused to pay 50 cents for utensils. In May, a man was choked and slammed to the ground by a police officer at a Waffle House in North Carolina when he sat at a table that hadn’t been cleaned. The chain is being investigated for discrimination by a civil rights attorney.
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