VIDEO: Waffle House Vows De-Escalation Training For Employees Who Called Cops

Police released bodycam video that showed the entire incident that took place at a Waffle House in Fort Walton Beach.

Fort Walton Beach, FL – The Fort Walton Beach Police Department has released bodycam video of a controversial incident that happened at a Waffle House in May (video below).

The release of the footage came after a brief clip of the incident was posted to social media, along with allegations of discrimination, CBS News reported.

Police officials reviewed the bodycam videos of the incident that occurred at about 1:30 a.m. on May 2, and determined that “our officers followed proper protocol,” according to a Facebook post on the Fort Walton Beach PD’s official page.

The post included a link to the bodycam video of one of the officers who responded to the Waffle House that showed the entire incident from the time officers arrived on the scene.

“The cell phone video being shared only shows a small part of the incident and does not include that the individuals detained were released after the situation calmed and the bill in question was satisfied - which is what the officers were trying to achieve from the beginning,” the post explained.

“We met with other interested parties in regard to this matter and all parties involved determined that while there was no misconduct of the officers that the situation could have been handled differently by both parties involved,” the police department said.

The video showed an officer arriving at the Waffle House in response to a call for a about a disorderly customer.

In the video, a man was pacing and talking on his phone inside the doorway of the restaurant.

The first officer to arrive asked the man to come outside and talk to him, and the man refused.

“I ain’t going nowhere,” the man replied in the video.

At that point, the officer asked an employee inside the restaurant if they wanted the man to be “trespassed.”

“Do you want him gone?” the officer asked.

The man and woman began explaining what happened to the officer very loudly, and set up their phone to record the exchange before they stepped outside to talk to the officer.

The woman lectured the officers and told them they’d come at her the wrong way, as she and the man continued to make a scene and disrupt the meals of other patrons in the restaurant, the video showed.

Once the man got his phone set up to film, he handed it to the woman and then walked outside with his hands up, although none of the officers had asked him to do so.

Once outside, the woman became extremely agitated when the officer told her the matter was finished, and that they just needed to pay their bill.

She indicated that she had been waiting for the officers to arrive to settle the dispute over the bill.

Both the man and the woman started screaming at the officers, and the officer warned the man that he was looking to get locked up, the video showed.

When the man appeared to be getting more aggressive as he yelled, one officer took out a pair of handcuffs and warned the man he was going to be arrested for theft if he did not pay his bill.

The man ignored him and continued to yell his side of the story at the officers, and the officer with the handcuffs finally took his Taser out of his holster and pointed it at the man, the video showed.

“Are you going to pay your bill?” the officer with the bodycam asked.

“Yes I’m paying my bill, but why’s he doing this?” the woman shrieked at the officer. “We did nothing wrong. He did nothing wrong!”

Despite the chaos caused by the yelling, the video showed the officer holstered his Taser and was able to put handcuffs on the man without any resistance. The bodycam showed the other officer kept a Taser pointed at the man until he was safely in custody.

The woman headed back inside Waffle House, ostensibly to pay their bill, while the officers walked her boyfriend over to the patrol car.

But then she returned and continued to snipe at the officers about their dispute with Waffle House, and said the employee wouldn’t talk to her until the officers went inside with her.

“We have nothing to do with that bill,” an officer told them.

Both the man and the woman started screaming at the officers again, and the man was put into the back of the patrol car, the video showed.

Then one of the officers began to take the woman into custody, and she really flew off the handle, the video showed.

In the meantime, the officer with the bodycam returned to the restaurant and asked to speak to whomever was in charge.

The manager went outside and told the officer that the couple were not trying to pay their bill, as they’d told officers, but were instead arguing with the employee over their tab.

He explained to the officer that the dispute was over a $1.50 difference in the cost of a glass of orange juice. He told the officer that the couple were “belligerent” and cursed at the Waffle House employee.

The officer asked if Waffle House wanted to press charges, and the manager responded in the affirmative.

The officer returned to the patrol car where the woman was still being handcuffed and told them the manager said they wanted to press charges.

“We didn’t even get nothing from them. We haven’t be served at all,” the woman told officer at about 11 minutes into the video.

The officers put the woman into the backseat of another patrol vehicle, separate from her boyfriend.

The bodycam video captured a shot of a large stack of bills sitting on the trunk of the police car, and the officer explained it was money from the male suspect’s pockets.

The officer went and confirmed that the couple had not received their food, and then the officer can be heard talking.

“Dude, why do people gotta make it so difficult?” one officer asked in the video.

“I don’t know,” the other officer replied.

The officer returned to the patrol car where the man began his ranting description of what happened, again.

Eventually, the video showed the officer got a word in edgewise and tried to talk to the man, but the suspect kept interrupting him. After a couple of tries, the officer gave up, and told the other officers to do whatever they wanted.

"If you want to take him, take him. I don't care,” one officer told the others.

After some more negotiation, without the male suspect screaming at police, the officers got him out of the police car and took the handcuffs off of him. They extracted a promise from him not to return to that Waffle House location again, and told him they would let him go.

“You know I'm doing you a favor by not taking you to jail now?" an officer said to the man.

The man took the question as an invitation to argue further about their initial exchange before he and his girlfriend finally left.

Waffle House sent a statement to CBS News that said they felt both sides could have handled the situation better.

“On our part, our employee could have done more to de-escalate the dispute before calling the police. We have spoken to our employees in the restaurant and will be doing additional training for the team members of this restaurant on the proper way to handle situations like this.”

Waffle House’s CEO called the woman involved in the kerfuffle to apologize, and the restaurant issued the couple a full refund the next day, CBS News reported.

Watch the bodycame video of the incident below:

Comments
No. 1-18
Walt 324
Walt 324

Gee is this starting to look like a pattern; Starbucks 101. Make a scene at the restaurant, get the police called, get media coverage via I-Phone. CEO calls you with an apology and some money. Life is good, maybe they can get more money next time they make a scene. Coming soon to your establishment Starbucks 101.

Conwol
Conwol

The cops handled this in a very professional way. The problem is that SOME people, like these 2 jerks, never know when to shut up. All they do is scream. Typical. Waffle House would you have refunded the money if these people were white? No, you would not have.

Pat1978
Pat1978
Mrs10
Mrs10 said: I was ready to really lay into the FWBPD for saying that the situation should've been handled differently but I chose to watch the video. This comment is based on the first 10 min (so before the controversial parts). It was disturbing to me that the officer went straight in and didn't listen to either people. He also set up an adversarial situation by repeatedly asking "do you want to press charges" to the manager. I don't know if there's a history between this officer and this couple but even if there was I think this was an example of how NOT to interact with the community. Here are two examples that occur within the first 2.5 min and set the negative tone for the entire encounter. I've given the facts and then what I consider a better response. 1) the officer walks to the doorway and holds up a finger to beckon the man outside. He says "get out here" "come on" and that's it Better: "sir I'm here bc the manager says you refuse to pay your bill" 2) The man says something hard to here like "not going to put hands on me" and the officer responds "oh I'm gonna put my hands on you." Better: "there'll be no need for that if we can talk reasonably outside about the situation." The man WAS loud, a bit over the top, belligerent, and the woman was also loud and a kept interrupting and causing drama, but I honestly think the whole thing could've gone a LOT better if the officer had shown better judgment and professionalism from the beginning. He had the ability to set the tone for the whole thing and he did so poorly. I found myself very frustrated and if I felt that watching at home I imagine that coupe felt that and more

He might have been asking about pressing charges because of the recent Starbucks debacle.

I agree that the up front aggressive approach usually has a negative affect on the overall encounter (unless it's called for, which it sometimes is).

MiguelDominguez
MiguelDominguez

Clearly I have been raised in a completely different set of values. I would never even contemplate the possibility of making a scene like this, even if I were right. I would embarrass myself running my mouth like that in front of people. I consider it an unspeakable display of bad manners. If I feel something is not right, I ask politely to speak to the manager, and if not possible I pay the tab and keep it to attach it to a letter to corporate offices. What I don't do under any circumstances is create this utterly absurd situation involving the police and ruining the rest of the customers' experience. Maybe I am too old and out of touch with current acceptable behaviours.

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