SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – Syracuse Police tell us Jeremy Dufresne, a homeless man who had water dumped on him by an employee at the North Salina Street Dunkin’ Donuts, while another worker recorded the incident, is meeting with officers, but it’s unclear whether charges will be filed.
The employees involved in the now-viral video have been terminated.
The Onondaga County District Attorney’s office confirms to NewsChannel 9 that it has been in contact with Syracuse Police and Dunkin’ Donuts regarding the incident.
District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick says his office hopes to make this situation a learning experience for the workers and the community and says what happened “does not reflect what Syracuse is about.”
Fitzpatrick’s says if charges were filed against the employees, they would be non-criminal violations.
Two dozen protesters gathered outside the North Salina Street Dunkin’ Donuts early Monday after the video went viral on Facebook, holding up signs reading “Homeless Lives Matter” and “Homeless are Human.”
The video, which surfaced over the weekend, shows an employee at the restaurant come up behind Dufresne, who had put his head down on a table, and dump a pitcher of water on him.
Dufresne springs awake, checking to see if his cell phone was damaged by the water.
The employee in the video tells Dufresne he won’t call the police, but wanted him out of the restaurant.
“How many times do I gotta tell you to stop sleeping in here, [expletive],” the employee is heard saying in the video.
“It was an accident,” Dufresne mumbled in reply.
The employee filming the video is laughing in the background.
Kimberly Wolak, Dunkin’ Franchisee and Chief Operating Officer issued the following statement:
“Dunkin’ has been a part of the Syracuse community for many years, and as the franchisees who own and operate the North Salina Street location, we were extremely disturbed by the behavior of our employees captured in the video.
It not only violated our written policies, but goes against our core values as an organization–which include creating a welcoming and hospitable environment and treating everyone with dignity and respect. The employees involved in the incident have been terminated, and we will be contacting the individual in the video to apologize for the negative experience.
We also intend to work with local advocates to make sure that our employees are better educated as to how to engage with homeless individuals and where to direct them in the community for appropriate assistance.”