Expert: Fight at Montrose Burger King part of larger issue surrounding homeless ordinance

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Eyewitness video captures scuffle inside Montrose Burger King
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Eyewitness video captures scuffle inside Montrose Burger King, Steven Romo reports.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A fight involving employees at a Montrose-area Burger King and an apparent homeless man is bringing to light a larger issue with the city's new homeless ordinance, according to a security expert.

The confrontation involves the man who appears to be homeless and using a wheelchair. Witnesses said he was irate and vulgar when he first entered the restaurant over the weekend, and an employee pepper-sprayed him.

The man left and came back even angrier, according to witnesses, before he got into a scuffle with a man. Finally, what appears to be a Burger King employee uses a stun gun on the man before he leaves.

"Definitely don't recommend that," said Jonah Nathan, owner of Ranger Guard and Investigations.

Nathan said employees arming themselves with these devices presents a liability for companies.

"Unless you're trained in it, it's something that can be hurting yourself," he said. "Once someone goes into the full fight mode, you don't know what can happen."

Nathan said he sees these types of confrontations involving homeless people often and they have increased since the city's new homeless ordinance took effect.

"They're a little bit more desperate since they're being run off from their current source of income and the way they get their food. Yes, they're going to come into the Burger King and stir up a situation," said Jonah Nathan, owner of Ranger Guard and Investigations.

The new ordinance prohibits homeless camps and panhandling on medians and sidewalks. Nathan said that has sent many homeless people onto private properties. He said most of the calls his company gets from customers involve homeless people.

With the frequency of confrontations, Nathan allows businesses to use an app to request security services without a contract. The service is similar to ride-sharing apps.

"You're just ordering your security like you're ordering your Uber, just for the amount of time you need it," he said.

As for the man in the Burger King video, he was not charged with a crime.

Officers also seized the pepper-spray and stun gun from the restaurant staff.

Burger King did not respond to ABC13's request for comment on the incident.

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