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A viral video appears to show a Florida man attacking a McDonald's employee over a plastic straw

Michelle Mark
  • A new viral video appears to show an irate McDonald's customer attacking an employee in a fit of rage over plastic straws, but getting repeatedly punched in the head as the employee defends herself.
  • Police said the man was arrested after a "tussle over straws," adding that he kicked another employee on his way out of the restaurant.
  • St. Petersburg, Florida, recently implemented a city ordinance barring restaurants from providing plastic straws unless customers specifically ask for them.
  • According to one woman who witnessed the scuffle, the man became outraged after insisting there was no such law.
  • The man was charged with two counts of simple battery.

A seemingly irate McDonald's customer in Florida allegedly attacked an employee, yanking her across a counter by her shirt collar, in a fit of rage over plastic straws, according to local authorities and a viral video of the incident.

The video shows the man yelling unintelligibly, before reaching across the counter and dragging her toward him. But without missing a beat, the employee can be seen punching her assailant in the head repeatedly, at one point grabbing his shirt collar to bring him closer as he tries to pull away.

The video shows other employees struggling to intervene for several seconds before eventually separating the two.

"I want her a-- fired right now," the man can be heard saying in the video.

The employee shouted back, "You're fixing to go to jail - you put your hands on me first."

Watch the full video below:

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The St. Petersburg Police Department has identified the customer as Daniel Taylor and said officers arrested him on December 31 after a "tussle over straws."

"Taylor gabbed an employee who defended herself by punching him. He was charged w/ 2 counts of simple battery - he kicked another employee on his way out," the department tweeted.

Read more: Banning plastic straws sounds annoying, but here's why it's a fight cities must win

According to a new city ordinance that took effect January 1, plastic straws can only be given to restaurant customers if they specifically ask for them - employees can't hand them out with every meal, or make them available at condiment stations.

The ordinance is meant to provide a year-long transition period before a full ban on single-use plastic straws in restaurants takes effect in 2020.

One witness told CNN the man had tried to insist there was no such law, and grew increasingly outraged at the employee's response.

"He was yelling and walking toward the counter, and the young lady behind the counter told him it's the law now, we're not allowed to have straws in the lobby," 62-year-old Brenda Biandudi told CNN. "I felt it was so disrespectful to talk to an employee like that and belittle her like that."

The employee, Yasmine James, told the Atlanta Black Star she hadn't been fired from McDonald's over the incident, but was on leave and receiving worker's compensation. She said her thigh is swollen and she still has back pain after the attack.

"I am going to sue him for putting his hands on me," she said.

Read more: There's a major problem with banning plastic straws - and it could alienate and endanger people with disabilities

McDonald's told INSIDER the company is fully cooperating with the police investigation.

"Our highest priority is always the safety and well-being of our employees and customers at our restaurants," the company said in a statement.