Black Couple Arrested For ‘Theft’ After Waffle House Overcharged Them

Activist and journalist Shaun King tweeted body camera footage from an officer who wrongfully arrested a black couple in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

Waffle House is in the spotlight, yet again, for mistreating black customers.

Activist and journalist Shaun King tweeted body camera footage from an officer who wrongfully arrested a black couple in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. The video has since gone viral.

King reported that the couple was picking up an order they had placed to-go but noticed they were overcharged $1.50 for an orange juice. When they questioned the restaurant employees about the charge and tried to dispute it, the workers called the police.

When the police arrived on the scene, a confrontation between one officer and the couple — an unnamed man and woman — immediately ensued. The couple attempted to plead their case to the officer who remained outside of the restaurant as they waited for their food. The problem was, however, they were never given their food and the extra charge wasn’t taken off their bill.

At one point, the exasperated couple went outside to resume their conversation with the officer who had previously requested that the male partner go out and “talk to me like a man.”

The officer kept insisting that they pay the bill with the overcharge still included. The couple continued trying to tell the officer they were not going to pay the unnecessary extra $1.50, but the cop persisted and began threatening to take the male partner to jail. The threats only escalated the situation as the male partner began to raise his voice in protest.

The officer then asked the restaurant employees, “If they don’t pay their bill do you want to press charges?”

The male partner continued requesting an explanation for the extra charge, noting that he was willing to pay for their food if someone would just tell them why they were being overcharged.

The video shared by King is nearly seven minutes long and ends with an aggressive arrest of the couple, including a moment in which one of the officers pointed his gun at the male partner.

Adding insult to injury, when the man asked what he was being arrested for, one of the officers responded “theft.” The charge, however, made no sense considering the couple never received their food so they hadn't stolen anything.

Needless to say, the officers involved mishandled an already tense situation. Instead of de-escalating things and facilitating a civilized discussion between the couple and the Waffle House manager in order to get to the bottom of the issue and resolve it, the cops only made matters worse.

While the charges were ultimately dropped, the officers could have listened to both sides of the story and then offered a suggestion on how to settle the dispute, in the first place. Instead, they treated the black couple like criminals upon arrival.

This incident serves as a clear example of why many minorities, especially African-Americans, do not feel served or protected by law enforcement in this country. 

Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Flickr, Shawn Ishihara

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