By Ryan Velez
NBC Washington reports that a Prince George’s County, Maryland liquor store may end up losing its license, after a startling act of misconduct against a customer led to viral attention and a petition with over 5,000 signatures to shut it down.
The store in question is Largo Liquors in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. A video began circulating on Facebook showing a customer knocking something off the counter, and being tackled and handcuffed by employees in response. Here is a description of the events on the video from NBC Washington:
“He put his purchase down, and the cashier scanned the items and checked the customer’s identification. He double-bagged the purchase. Then, he made a comment facing the direction of a woman playing lottery nearby.
The customer was offended by the cashier’s comments.
“You’ve got an attitude,” the customer said.
“I don’t have an attitude,” the cashier said.
“Calm down,” the customer replied, reaching for his purchase.
But the cashier stopped him by putting his hand over the bag. He also refused the customer's cash.
Then, he told the customer to take his business somewhere else.
“You think you can tell me how to do my job,” the cashier said.
The customer turned to the woman playing the lottery.
“He’s ignorant,” the customer said.
The customer turned to leave, took a few steps and then returned. After exchanging more words with the cashier, he pushed a display off the counter.
As the customer turned to leave, the cashier and another employee rushed at the customer.
The video shows another man, later identified as the owner of the liquor store, running through the store’s front doors and joining the fight.
Soon after, with bystanders urging the men to stop, the brawl ended, and the owner held the customer against the ground.
“Put your hands behind your back,” the owner said.”
The customer, who declined to give his name, said that he complied because he thought the man was a police officer. The customer was originally charged with disorderly conduct but had the charges dropped. Police said the owner was within his rights to handcuff the customer, comparing it to a citizen’s arrest.
However, the community saw this as not enough. This includes negative reviews on online platforms like Google, protests outside the store, and the petition. The 5,000 signatures are well above the 10 signatures needed to get the dispute in front of the liquor control board.
"It makes me feel like I have a family," the customer said. "A family that I don't even know about."