Employee Yasmine James hired prominent local attorney


Yasmine James, the McDonald’s employee who was attacked by a male customer in a viral video, has hired a prominent local lawyer to protest violence against black women.

On Monday, as reported by Yahoo Lifestyle, Daniel Willis Taylor, 40, a homeless man from Clearwater, Fla., was arrested for allegedly attacking two female employees inside a St. Petersburg McDonald’s over the restaurant’s plastic straw policy. Witness Brenda Biandudi, who spoke to CNN, filmed a man reaching over the counter and grabbing 20-year-old James by the shirt while she struck back in self-defense.  

“And I want her a** fired right now,” said the man. “I was just asking you a f***ing question, b****.” He also demanded a full refund for his meal. 

On the restaurant’s security video, the man kicked female employee Tateona Bell in the stomach as he left, according to a report sent to Yahoo Lifestyle by the St. Petersburg Police Department.

A police spokesperson tells Yahoo Lifestyle on Thursday that Taylor was arrested hours later — on the same street as McDonald’s — after he called 911 to report he was attacked by a group of black people in an “unarmed robbery.” He was charged with two counts of simple battery and remains in the Pinellas County Jail until he can pay his $1,000 bail.

James’s attorney, Michele Rayner-Goolsby, said in a news release, according to the Tampa Bay Times, “While (attacker Daniel) Taylor was arrested, the McDonald’s corporation has yet to release a statement about the incident and has placed Ms. James on leave. This case is a clear example of how white privilege and male privilege too often leave Black women alone to defend themselves in the face of harm.” Yahoo Lifestyle could not reach Rayner-Goolsby for comment. 

McDonald’s did not respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comments. WFLA published a corporate statement from the chain that read, “Our highest priority is always the safety and well-being of our employees and customers at our restaurants. We have been in contact with the police department and are fully cooperating with their investigation.”

Daniel Taylor, 40, was arrested in St. Petersburg, Fla., for allegedly attacking two female McDonald’s employees over the restaurant’s straw policy. (Photo: Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office)

“He just started flipping out and cursing me out,” James told Atlanta Black Star. “I was like, ‘You’re being rude. … Can you calm down?’ But he just kept cursing me out.”

The aspiring nurse and amateur boxer, who has worked at McDonald’s for two months, has a swollen thigh and back pain, reported Atlanta Black Star; however, she hasn’t visited a doctor because she doesn’t have health insurance.

“I am aware this type of violence happens to women, especially black women, every day,” James said in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times. “For me, this was ‘the last straw.’ I am committed to using this horrible experience as means to fight for justice, not only for myself but for other women experiencing this kind of violence in environments where they should be safe and protected.”

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