The Florida man arrested this week after violently attacking a female McDonald’s worker on New Year’s Eve remains in custody, according to jail records.
Daniel Taylor is charged with two counts of simple battery after viral video showed him yanking 20-year-old Yasmine James by the collar during a dispute over a drinking straw at a McDonald’s in St. Petersburg. After being separated from James, the police say Taylor kicked another McDonald’s employee, Tateona Bell, 23, as he was being booted from the restaurant.
Taylor, who is believed to be homeless, reportedly grew upset when there were no straws at the store’s beverage station. Witnesses said James explained that a new law mandated the store no longer place plastic straws out in the lobby, although they are still available upon request.
As reported by NBC News, this change was the result of an eco-friendly ordinance passed by St. Petersburg last month that states “plastic straws can be given only upon customer request.” This explanation did little to quell Taylor’s rage, however, which led to his assault that was met with several blows to his head from James.
McDonald’s issued a statement Wednesday saying it was aware of the “shocking” incident and that the company is fully cooperating with the police investigation.
“Our highest priority is always the safety and well-being of our employees and customers at our restaurants,” spokesperson Khim Aday said in an email.
A twist came Tuesday, when a woman purporting to be Taylor’s mother wrote on Facebook that her son “has been homeless for some time” and has struggled to find work. In the now-deleted post, Doraetta Hesse claimed Taylor called her around 6:30 Monday evening saying that he’d been beaten and robbed, and promised to call her back from the ER.
The incident at McDonald’s happened at 6:50 p.m. and Taylor wasn’t arrested until an hour later, a police report showed. Video of the incident also shows Taylor picking up a black object that may have been his wallet or cell phone, all after allegedly being robbed.
“I haven’t heard from him since,” Hesse wrote. “I’ve called 3 area hospitals with no luck. I called the state police [but] since I have no address for him, they can’t help me. They said if they find his body, they’ll let me know.”
A man presumed to be Taylor’s brother, James Taylor, commented under a Facebook post confirming his relation to the suspect and said his mother was “doing better now that she knows [Daniel Taylor] is still alive.”
“We don’t really know much about what happened,” James Taylor told Atlanta Black Star. “We can only assume that he was drunk. He’s always been a know-it-all.”
Daniel Taylor is currently being held on $1,000 bond, with jail records showing he also owes an $11 commissary charge.