MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Mayor Brenda Bethune is speaking out after a Facebook video filmed at a Myrtle Beach McDonald's sparked outrage among many of the millions who have viewed it.
The video shows a Myrtle Beach police officer telling a homeless man to leave after a paying customer reportedly paid for his meal.
"What you will not see on that video is the whole story," Bethune said in a recorded response posted to the city's Facebook page.
Myrtle Beach Police Capt. Joey Crosby previously said the officer went to the restaurant after an employee called to report a man was in the parking lot asking people for money.
That employee requested a trespass warning be issued and the person asked to leave the premises, according to Crosby.
The customer who paid for the meal captured the whole exchange on Facebook Wednesday morning, which quickly went viral. As of 4:15 p.m. Thursday, it had more than 41 million views, over 423,000 interactions and more than 964,000 shares.
The comments section of the video is flooded with crude and misogynistic comments about the police officer. Some even posted screenshots and links to her personal Facebook page. The page has since been made unavailable.
In her response, Bethune said she watched the officer's body cam video of the exchange with the man.
"She handled herself in the most professional manner and treated this gentleman with dignity and respect," Bethune said about the officer.
Bethune first watched the video Wednesday night. She said she didn't think anything of it until she saw that it went viral.
According to Bethune, what video viewers don't see is that this wasn't the first time the man caused problems.
"They are only seeing a portion that's shown on social media but they don't know the rest of the story. And there was certainly a history with this gentleman and this particular McDonalds and I feel like the manager handled it very, very well," Bethune said.
The mayor went on to praise the Myrtle Beach Police Department, and its work with both the homeless community and the city's four homeless shelters.
"We want the community to feel secure in the fact that all of our officers are thoroughly trained in how to compassionately deal with the homeless in our community," Bethune said. "We are very mindful that they do need our help. It's our responsibility to help them. The situation where we have been painted to not be proactive or empathetic and that certainly is not true."
To hear Bethune's full statement, watch the video below: