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Facebook user Yossi Gallo's video of a Myrtle Beach police officer removing a homeless man from a McDonald's restaurant has amassed millions of views.

The online firestorm continues in Myrtle Beach after a video of a homeless man being ejected from a McDonald's has brought new scrutiny to the city's police department and its handling of the population that lives on the street.

The video, published Wednesday morning, has been viewed millions of times.

In a response on the city of Myrtle Beach's Facebook page, Mayor Brenda Bethune said she had reviewed the officer's body cam footage and determined she treated the man appropriately. 

"What I would like to do is encourage our public, our community, our city, to come together and work with these shelters," she said. "Let’s reach out and do everything that we can possibly do to help our homeless community and be in support of our police department."

But that hasn't stopped thousands of people from panning the police department and the officer in the video on Myrtle Beach Police Department's Facebook page

The incident has also led to renewed attention to homelessness in Myrtle Beach.

There were 412 homeless people recorded in Horry County in the 2017 "point in time" report, a tally of those without shelter taken one night every year. But that report — which showed that homelessness across the state declined 22.5 percent last year — is disputed by some advocates.

The 2017 study was conducted on a night with unseasonably warm weather, making it less likely the homeless population would seek shelter and thus more difficult to count them.

The city helps fund a chain of shelters run by New Directions, a non-profit that runs shelters for men, women and families. It also offers job training programs.

Last year, New Directions expanded its services by adding a medical center and a shower facility that is available to those who need a place to get clean, regardless of whether they live in the shelter system.

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Reach Chloe Johnson at 843-735-9985. Follow her on Twitter @_ChloeAJ.

Chloe Johnson covers the coastal environment and climate change for the Post and Courier. She's always looking for a good excuse to hop on a boat.

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