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Protest erupts over video of Dunkin’ Donuts employee dumping water on sleeping man

A viral video of a Dunkin’ Donuts employee dumping water on a sleeping man in Syracuse, NY prompted outrage online, a fundraising campaign and a small protest outside the store from advocates for the homeless.
A viral video of a Dunkin’ Donuts employee dumping water on a sleeping man in Syracuse, NY prompted outrage online, a fundraising campaign and a small protest outside the store from advocates for the homeless. Facebook Video/Screenshot

Protesters crowded outside a Dunkin’ Donuts in Syracuse, NY., Monday after a viral video showed an employee dumping a pitcher of water on a sleeping man’s head.

“That poor guy. You never know what someone is going through in life ... we need to find who is responsible!!” the original poster Samuel Breazeale wrote on Facebook.

The video shows a man in a Dunkin’ Donut’s uniform and headset approaching a hunched-over, sleeping man from behind. The employee says something about sleep, then overturns the pitcher and dumps it all over the sleeping man’s neck and head. Someone bursts out laughing.

The man quickly gets to his feet and rushes over to retrieve his phone, which had been charging. He shakes the phone off to dry it.

“How many times have I told you to stop sleeping in here ... you’re here all day ...” the employee says.

“It was an accident,” the man says quietly, wrapping up his charging cord.

“No it was no accident bro, you know I’m not playing with you ... I ain’t gonna call the cops on you like I said ... you gonna get outta here,” the employee says.

The person filming busts out laughing and walks away before the video ends.

Warning: The video contains a racial slur.

More than 300,000 people watched the video within 15 hours, and thousands commented saying they wanted justice for the sleeping man. A GoFundMe account for the man started by Breazeale raised more than four times its goal of $150 within a few hours.

The man, later identified as Jeremy Dufresne, said he wasn’t sleeping but was instead charging his phone to call his mother, Syracuse.com reported. He told the site he preferred sleeping outside.

“(The employee) probably had some personal problems of his own and needed someone to talk to,” Dufresne said, according to the site. “And he took it out on someone else, like me.”

Dunkin’ Franchisee and Chief Operating Officer Kimberly Wolak said the owners of the location were “extremely disturbed” by the behavior of the employee, according to WSYR.

“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 statement read. “The employees involved in the incident have been suspended pending a complete investigation, and we will be contacting the individual in the video to apologize for the negative experience.”

Al-amin Muhammad, an advocate for the homeless, filmed himself walking into the restaurant and asking employees about what happened, Syracuse.com reported.

“We know just as much as you,” an employee says. “We know just as much as you. We saw the video this morning. We don’t feel that it was right at all.”

About 20 protestors gathered outside the store Monday, holding signs that said things like “We rise above the streets,” “Homeless are human,” and “Homeless lives matter,” according to WSYR.

The protestors demanded an apology and consequences for the employee or employees, CNYCentral reported.

There is no one-size-fits-all plan that works for helping the homeless. But rather than ignore those living on the streets, use these suggestions to guide your desire to reach out.



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