The victim suffered a skull fracture and brain contusions as a result of blunt trauma
When a Dunkin’ customer hurled racist slurs at an employee, he was met with a punch to the head that proved to be fatal. Now the employee who issued the deadly blow is facing manslaughter charges.
The incident occurred at a Dunkin’ store located in a gas station in Tampa, Florida. According to Newsweek, a 77-year-old man, who was a regular customer, was in his car at the drive-thru window when he allegedly became upset about the service. After he became rude to staffers, he was asked to leave, but instead, he parked his car and went inside the building. This is when he began arguing with the store’s Black manager, Corey Pujols.
Pujols, 27, told police that the man was being “extremely rude” and called him a racial slur. When asked to repeat what he said, the elderly man repeated the slur and Pujols punched him once in the face. The blow caused him to hit his head on the floor. The incident was captured on the store’s surveillance system, Tampa Bay Times reports. When authorities arrived at the scene, the victim was unconscious and bleeding from the head. He was taken to Tampa General Hospital and died two days later.
According to the Hillsborough Medical Examiner’s Office, the victim suffered a skull fracture and brain contusions as a result of blunt trauma. His death was ruled a homicide.
Pujols was arrested on the night of the attack and charged with battery. He was released the following day after posting $2,000 bail, according to the report. Following the man’s death, Pujols was arrested and charged with aggravated manslaughter. He is currently jailed without bail. The first-degree felony charge is punishable by up to 30 years in prison, according to the report.
The man’s name and the racist slur that he used is not included in the arrest report.
“We are deeply saddened by the incident at our franchised restaurant in Tampa,” a Dunkin’s spokesperson said in a statement. “The franchisee, who independently owns and operates this restaurant, is fully cooperating with the local authorities. As this is an ongoing investigation, we defer any additional questions to the police.”
Pujols’ current employment status with the company is unknown.
In 2018, the company dropped “Donuts” from its moniker. At the time, Dunkin’ Brands CEO David Hoffmann noted the two main reasons for the change: to increase the emphasis on coffee and to simplify the brand as a whole, per delish.com.
“The simplicity of our new brand creates energy,” Dunkin’ Donuts’ US CMO Tony Weisman said in 2018.
“For two years, we have been focused on evolving Dunkin’ into the premier, beverage-led, on-the go-brand and have been implementing what we call our blueprint for growth,” added Hoffman.
“It’s time we take our relationship with our guests to the next level. We’re now moving to a first-name basis with America,” the company said in a news release. “We’re not changing who we are at the core. We’ve always been, and always will be, a brand that is for on-the-go people.”
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