In a video that has since gone viral, former Popeyes manager Marquez Smith, 20, was caught assaulting an underage female employee, which resulted in his arrest, a first degree battery charge and an additional felony charge of cruelty to children, according to an arrest report.
Smith was arrested on Memorial Day, in the city of Bainbridge, Georgia, following the spread of the video on social media. In it, Smith can be seen getting in the 17-year-old girl’s face who is attempting to clock out. She has her phone up to her ear as she tells Smith, “I don’t care about none of that. I don’t, I don’t, I don’t.”
Smith can be heard saying, “Get out my face,” twice, which prompts another male employee to get in between them as the interaction gets heated.
The underage girl continues to repeat, “I don’t, I don’t,” and the 20-year-old ex-manager slaps her across the face, knocks her phone out of her hand and gets in a fighting stance with both fists up.
“Whatchu gon’ do?” he says as the customers witnessing the altercation are heard expressing concern. The girl does not attempt to swing at him, only brings her arm up to shield her face. Multiple bystanders intervene and hold the man in the lobby, as he yells, “Y’all is so disrespectful… Get the f— out my store.”
On Twitter, Popeye’s replied to the video: “We are absolutely horrified, like the rest of the public. The employee responsible for the assault was immediately terminated by the franchisee. We are working with local authorities and the franchisee to ensure the impacted team member has the support she needs to fully recover.”
We are absolutely horrified, like the rest of the public. The employee responsible for the assault was immediately terminated by the franchisee. We are working with local authorities and the franchisee to ensure the impacted team member has the support she needs to fully recover.
— Popeyes (@Popeyes) June 1, 2022
The underage victim is now being represented by Gee & Lee Law Firm in Tallahassee, and have released a statement to WALB regarding the assault.
“We are still investigating the events of May 30, 2022. However, it is completely unacceptable for any employee to be subjected to the physical and verbal abuse captured on video, let alone a teenager. A teenage employee should never have to face the cruel and abusive behavior witnessed in that video.”
Smith’s next court date is scheduled for Sept. 6, 2022.