A protest erupted in Maryland after a violent struggle between a male security guard and a female food delivery driver.
Parts of the confrontation were caught on camera Saturday at a Popeyes restaurant in Capitol Heights.
Video taken by a witness shows the delivery driver, Stephanie Samuels, struggling with security guard Darrell Poston.
Samuels says she was trying to leave the restaurant when Poston told her to use a different door in compliance with the restaurant’s coronavirus protocols. She says Poston attacked her when she refused.
“He grabbed me by my neck and pushed me back,” she said. “I threw a soda. He grabbed me by my hair and wrapped it around his hand, continuously punched me in the face, then got me in the corner, took his handcuffs and put them on one of my arms and began to Mace me.”
Two days later, Samuels said she’s still dealing with the trauma of it all.
“I was disrespected, and as a woman someone should have stood up for me other than myself,” she said. “I had to run out of here blinded by Mace and find my own car with my kids waiting for me. No one should have to experience that.”
Prince George's County police officers were called to the scene but no one was arrested. Investigators said they are trying to get their hands on any additional recordings of the incident.
Samuels filed second-degree assault charges against Poston. He filed the same charges against her. Samuels said she welcomes the court’s involvement.
“We can at least go toe to toe in court and let the judge figure out what’s the truth, because the proof is in the pudding,” she said.
“We have no tolerance for violence in our restaurants and will always act swiftly to deal with it,” Popeyes said in a statement. “We have reviewed the available facts with our franchisee and are very concerned abut the aggressive actions of the off-duty police officer involved. We will fully cooperate with the local police department expect that action will need to be taken.”
Protesters held a Black Women Matter demonstration outside the Popeyes, telling customers about what happened and urging them to take their dollars elsewhere.
“Some people that put on a badge feel beholden, that they can treat us with no respect, that we are not equal citizens, that they can put their hands on us and disrespect us with no regard, and there’s no consequences,” protester Krystal Oriadha said.