Lloyd Edward Johnson, a white man who brandished his gun at a group of black teens at McDonald’s after wrongly claiming that they were paying for their food using welfare assistance, has been arrested by Minnesota police, according to the New York Times.
The video of their confrontation went viral earlier this week on Twitter, leading to a massive backlash on social media. Farida Osman, who was at the receiving end of Johnson’s misguided wrath, said that the 55-year-old man made an unprovoked “racist” comment while she and her friend were ordering food at McDonald’s, according to the Miami Herald. Since Osman and her friend were having trouble paying for the food using Apple Pay, Johnson assumed that the teens were using welfare assistance to eat at the fast food chain.
“They weren’t really familiar with it, so it took them a while to work it out, but they still couldn’t figure it out, so they gave up,” Osman said about McDonald’s staff.
“You were paying with EBT; that’s why it didn’t work,” Johnson reportedly told them, with EBT referring to the welfare program that helps recipients pay for food. Polls have shown that white men acutely overestimate the number of black people using the program, and in most cases, the assumption on part of the white populace to imagine Africans using it is a “racist” manifestation rather than based on any data.
Following Johnson’s comment, Farida’s friend tried to confront the white man, following which he brandished his gun, terrifying not only the teens but also members of McDonald’s staff. The teens shout in shock while two employees also yell at Johnson at this point, following which he leaves the store.
“He has a gun!” one person is heard shouting as Johnson exits the store. Osman later wrote on Twitter that she and her friends were horrified when Johnson pulled the gun.
“It was terrifying because we were scared he was waiting for us outside,” she wrote on Twitter, “so we stayed inside listening to the managers yell at us and blame us.”
@McDonalds is this what you stand for? We were just trying to order when this man said racist remarks, claimed to be touched (when really he pushed a kid as seen on video) pulled a gun out on kids and you still kick us out knowing we’re in danger? 1/2 pic.twitter.com/3vKXsxhuwH— farida (@snatchingedgess) November 20, 2018
Officers of the Eden Prairie police department arrested Lloyd and while he has not been booked yet, it is possible that the white man may be charged with second-degree assault.
Minnesota is a state with a large number of Somali-American population, and Johnson’s actions were labeled a “hate crime” by the state’s chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.