A Black Dunkin’ employee in Tampa, Fla., has been charged with manslaughter after he allegedly punched a customer for calling him a racial slur, causing the man to hit his head and later die.
Corey Pujols, 27, was working at the doughnut chain last week when a customer reportedly referred to him as a racial slur, according to an arrest report obtained by The Tampa Bay Times.
The 77-year-old customer, who was not identified by police, reportedly went through the drive-thru window and became upset about service. He was asked to leave by employees but he reportedly parked his car and went inside the building, where he began arguing with Pujols, according to police.
Pujols told police that he recognized the regular customer who was acting “extremely rude” and alleges that the man called him a racial slur, however no further details on the slur were included in the report. Pujols said he challenged the man to say it again, and the customer repeated the slur.
Pujols said he punched the man once in the face. Surveillance video from inside the Dunkin’ reportedly showed the punch, and the the man appeared to fall back and hit the back of his head on the concrete floor.
Emergency crews arrived around 1:30 p.m. and took the unconscious customer to Tampa General Hospital, where he was placed in intensive care.
He died Friday and an autopsy showed he had a skull fracture and brain contusions as a result of blunt trauma to the head, according to The Tampa Bay Times.
The death is expected to be ruled a homicide by the Hillsborough Medical Examiner’s Office.
Pujols was arrested Friday and charged with aggravated manslaughter of a person older than 65, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. He was released the next day after posting $2,000 bail.
In a statement to The Hill, a spokesperson for Dunkin' said, "We are deeply saddened by the incident at our franchised restaurant in Tampa. The franchisee, who independently owns and operates this restaurant, is fully cooperating with the local authorities. As this is an ongoing investigation, we defer any additional questions to the police.”