A video showing a Myrtle Beach police officer removing a homeless man from a McDonald's restaurant has gone viral, earning million of views on Facebook in the latest case of social media spreading a negative impression of the image-conscious resort town.
The video, posted Wednesday morning by Facebook user Yossi Gallo, amassed 60 million views by Friday morning and 1.3 million shares.
In the video, the police officer said there had been multiple complaints about the homeless man asking for money in the restaurant. Gallo argues with the officer and an employee of the restaurant, saying he had brought the man into the restaurant himself and bought him a meal.
"By the way, you guys suck!" Gallo yells.
In an emailed statement, Capt. Joey Crosby of Myrtle Beach Police said the department received a call that the homeless man was in the parking lot asking people for money and that he and Gallo both left the restaurant after they were told they were trespassing.
A McDonald's employee "requested the officer issue a trespassing warning and asked that the person leave the premises. ... A bystander, who was videotaping the incident was also trespassed from the location, at the request of the manager, for what management deemed as disorderly behavior," Crosby said in the statement.
In June, another Facebook video that showed a shooting on Ocean Boulevard, the main tourist thoroughfare, brought national scrutiny to the city. That video, shot by a volunteer firefighter visiting on vacation, was also viewed millions of times.
It led Gov. Henry McMaster to pledge the state's support in policing the town for the rest of the summer. The city has since added officers to its police force and implemented pay increases for members of the department.
City Council members also discussed at a retreat last month hiring a consultant to advise them on social media.
"These negative stories are hurting our economy, and they're hurting our community," Councilwoman Mary Jeffcoat said at that meeting.