The Waffle House is, once again, at the center of controversy after a Black couple was arrested following a dispute over an orange juice charge that got out of hand.
The couple, Donald Copeland and Ms. Hart, placed an order for pick-up at the Florida restaurant, arriving before their meal was ready. While waiting, the couple ordered a glass of orange juice, listed on the menu as costing $1.00. When the bill arrived, they were charged $2.50, and refused to pay the additional $1.50, according to the video.
While the couple tried to call a corporate 1-800 number to dispute the charge, employees called the police, claiming the male patron was “being irate screaming and cussing,” according to TheState.
The employee later told police that the juice would’ve been $1.00 if they purchased another beverage, but they only had water, so the discount did not apply. He also told police he wanted to press charges if the pair didn’t pony up the remaining $1.50.
Body cam footage shows the couple speaking with police for almost 30 minutes. After some verbal exchanges between officers and the couple, a Waffle House employee can be heard saying, “They need to pay for their food.”
As exchanges continued, one officer pulls out a stun gun and tells Copeland, “If you don’t pay your bill you’re going to jail.” He then proceeded to handcuff both Copeland and Hart, with Hart sobbing, “I didn’t do nothing wrong.”
Check out the video below.
Here is the body camera footage of this outrageous wrongful arrest of a Black couple @WaffleHouse. They were arrested for theft & trespassing. They never even received the food. They were overcharged a $1.50 for an orange juice and asked to call customer service. pic.twitter.com/c7a74NhKoH
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) June 13, 2018
The couple was released after agreeing to pay the bill and never return to that Waffle House again.
“The subjects were later provided the opportunity to pay for their order, which they accepted. Therefore, (they) were released without criminal charges,” read the police report.
While Hart paid the bill, the video shows the second officer telling Copeland “I’m doing you a favor by not taking you to jail right now.”
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.