Daniel Willis Taylor, the 40-year-old man caught on video assaulting a female McDonald’s employee, has finally been sentenced to jail.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, a judge sentenced Taylor to 60 days behind bars after the Florida man pleaded no contest to two counts of battery stemming from the viral New Year’s Eve incident. Taylor was credited for the 58 days he has already served but will still have to pay $1,000 in fines.
He’ll also be subject to a mental evaluation and treatment.
The attack, part of which was caught on video, unfolded at the McDonald’s restaurant on 4595 34th St. in St. Petersburg, Florida. Employee Yasmine James, 23, was working the front counter when she said Taylor became irate about the lack of straws at the eatery’s drink station. A state law passed late last year prohibits restaurants from placing plastic straws out in the lobby, although they’re still available upon request.
Still upset over the policy, Taylor lunged across the counter and yanked James by her shirt, prompting the young woman to deliver blow after blow to her attacker’s face and head. The 58-second-clip showed fellow employees rush to separate the two as they continued duking it out.
“YES this really did happen last night for all those asking me … it all started because he wanted a straw!!!” witness Kinie Biandudi wrote on Facebook. “The young girl said she used to box🥊. After this fight, he came back and went behind the counter & tried to fight the manager. The guy left before the cops arrived.”
Taylor managed to escape authorities, but not before assaulting a second female worker, Tateona Bell, on his way out. Bell, who was recovering from a cesarian section at the time, accused the assailant of kicking her in the stomach. Witnesses didn’t capture that part of the attack on video.
The 23-year-old told authorities she was hurt after the incident and went to the hospital just to be on the safe side. In an interview with Atlanta Black Star, Bell said she was afraid Taylor’s blow may have caused the incision from her C-section to rupture.
“I think he was drunk,” she added. “And I think he did it intentionally because I know he had beef with Yasmine … but I’ve never seen him act like that. I think he was intoxicated or something.”
In an arrest report, authorities said they believed alcohol may have been a factor in the incident. However, court documents did not mention alcohol, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Willis, whom court documents listed as “transient,” was a frequent customer at the McDonald’s and had never caused any issues before, according to James and Bell. Prior being arrested for the restaurant melee, Willis had called police to report that he’d been beaten and robbed by a group of Black people, leading officers to him and their recognizing him as the suspect from restaurant fracas.