McDonald’s Manager Accused of Punching Customer (over service dog)
MARIETTA, Ga. — An arrest warrant has been issued for the manager of a Marietta McDonald’s after she punched a mother of two autistic boys in the face, Marietta police said.
It happened at the McDonald’s on Bells Ferry Road, police said.
The manager, Tiffany Denise Allen, told the woman that the twin boys’ service dog, Barkley, wasn’t allowed inside, police said. Allen was off duty.
The law, however, states that the dog is allowed inside.
The boys’ mother, Jennifer Schwenker, said the incident took place on July 12 when she took the boys to the McDonald’s to have lunch.
Channel 2’s Diana Davis got her hands on a surveillance tape showing one of the twins and Barkley enjoying the restaurant’s play area.
The family was about to leave when Allen told them there were no dogs allowed, police said.
Schwenker explained that Barkley is a service dog, allowed by federal law in all public places including restaurants. Schwenker offered to provide proof of the permit for the dog, Marietta police said.
It wasn’t enough for Allen, they said. The tape shows her following the family around the McDonald’s, even down the hall to the restroom.
When Schwenker tried to leave, she lost track of one of the boys. In a panic, she threw her drink on the floor and it splashed on Allen, police said.
The tape shows Allen running after Schwenker in a rage, police said. Marietta police Detective Gwen Lewis told Davis that she has never seen anything like it.
Schwenker did not want to speak to Davis about the incident, but her husband said they are talking to a lawyer.
Allen is charged with battery assault and disorderly conduct.
JM and Jan Owens, who run the store where the incident occurred, released a statement:
“At our McDonald’s restaurant, we respect and value our customers. Their safety and well-being is always a top priority.
“We strive to comply with all applicable laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is our policy to make our restaurants accessible to all customers, including those with disabilities and special needs, whether or not they need the assistance of service animals.
“We are fully cooperating with the police department in their investigation, and the individual involved is no longer employed by our company. “