Marquez Smith, 20, was charged with battery and first-degree cruelty to children after allegedly slapping the underage female employee.
Footage from the incident shows Smith approaching the teenager while she was on her cellphone behind the counter. It remains unclear why Smith and the unnamed girl started to argue; when the argument reached its peak, Smith was seen assaulting the teenager with an openhanded slap, knocking her phone out of her hand. Before things escalated, another employee rushed in and separated the two.
This Popeyes manager need to be arrested for putting his hands on a worker because she wanted to clock out pic.twitter.com/XlZGyN89ql
— DeMarko (@freakymarko) May 31, 2022
Smith was soon arrested after the incident and charged with the assault.
In light of the matter at hand, a statement has been issued by the teenage victim‘s legal team.
The law firm of Gee & Lee Law confirmed that they are still investigating the incident; however, the young victim should have never faced such abuse and cruelty.
“We are still investigating the events of May 30, 2022,” the statement read. “However, it is completely unacceptable for any employee to be subjected to the physical and verbal abuse captured on video, let alone a teenager. A teenage employee should never have to face the cruel and abusive behavior witnessed in that video.”
Popeyes has since fired Smith and released a statement addressing the incident via Twitter.
“We are absolutely horrified, like the rest of the public,” the statement read. “The employee responsible for the assault was immediately terminated by the franchisee. We are working with local authorities and the franchisee to ensure the impacted team member has the support she needs to fully recover.”
We are absolutely horrified, like the rest of the public. The employee responsible for the assault was immediately terminated by the franchisee. We are working with local authorities and the franchisee to ensure the impacted team member has the support she needs to fully recover.
— Popeyes (@Popeyes) June 1, 2022
The court date for Smith has not yet been set.