(JTA) — A Jewish man from South Carolina generated a media storm with his video showing police kicking a homeless man out of a McDonald’s restaurant, moments after he treated the man to a meal.
Yossi Gallo of Myrtle Beach, whose mother, Dina Galimidi, is Israeli, posted the video to Facebook on Wednesday. It has been viewed more than 58 million times, generating thousands of comments about perceived social injustice and police brutality.
It has since been featured on CNN, Fox News, ABC, Newsweek, the New York Daily News, the New York Post, the Daily Mail and The Sun in the United Kingdom. Israel’s Channel 10 also reported about the incident.
Gallo told ABC that the incident started after he brought the man into McDonald’s from the restaurant’s parking lot to buy him a meal.
“I waved him down and said, ‘Hey, are you hungry?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’ So, I went in there with him and as soon as we went inside, the lady at the register says ‘You’re not getting food,'” Gallo told CNN. He protested, saying, “You guys suck” and the restaurant’s staff called the police to intervene.
In the video, an officer is seen telling the homeless man, later identified by the officer as James Davis, after he finished eating, that he needed to exit the building and was not allowed to return because he had been begging inside the restaurant.
Gallo said: “He didn’t ask me for food. I saw him across the street and I brought him over here.”
The officer gathered Davis’ information, said he could no longer visit the restaurant, and asked him to leave.
“I have a place in my heart for homeless people and people in need, I think that a lot of my blessings in life with things that I was successful with, I think that comes from helping people because I love to give, I love to help others,” Gallo told Myrtle Beach Online in the aftermath of the incident.
Hundreds of internet users gave the McDonald’s at 2200 N. Kings Highway the lowest score possible on the Yelp restaurant rating website, lowering the restaurant’s score to one star out of five and leaving comments condemning their staff’s behavior toward Gallo. Other McDonald’s in the area have 2-3 stars based on several dozen reviews.