However, the American Fork Police Department has put out their story about the incident, based upon the complaint given to them by the McDonald's manager. At first it was not put out officially, but was explained by them to a private citizen who called them up for details. This private citizen posted the AFPD version in the form of a comment to the KSL story (the pertinent parts are cross-posted below):
11:10am - Thu Oct 29th, 2009
You know its amazing to see how many of these posts are in support of these teenagers. Obviously the American public is easily swayed by a news story that is incomplete and designed to illicit [elicit?] a specific response from its readership.
Before any of you posted on this board as though you knew the whole story, you should have taken the time to investigate the matter rather than pop off. I say this because I did that exact thing with the McDonald's restaurant and the American Fork Police Department.
I guess the question here is this...who is reporting this incident most accurately, KSL or AFPD???
...I then called the American Fork Police Department and spoke with a Lt. Sam Liddiard. Again, I wanted to voice my concern and let AFPD know these bullying tactics were unacceptable.
Well, after hearing the details of this incident from Lt. Liddiard, I am inclined to say these boys deserve the citation. He expressed a great degree of frustration with the media for not reporting the whole story.
Basically this is what happened...the teens pulled up to the drive-thru speaker and tried to rap their food order. The McDonald's employee taking the order could not understand them and asked them to speak more slowly. So the teens rapped the food order more slowly. The McD employee still could not understand the order and asked them to pull up to the window. The teens did so and proceeded to rap their food order again. This went on for some minutes with the teens laughing and teasing the McD's employee for not understanding their food order. Eventually the store manager had to come out of the store and confront the teens herself. She is a small Hispanic woman. The teens are all over 6 ft. tall.
They proceeded to use vulgar language and used their physical presence to intimidate the store manager. They finally did leave, but only after disrupting business at McDonald's for several minutes. If this information is accurate, the teens deserved the disorderly conduct citation...
...Shame on KSL for not reporting the whole story. Shame on KSL for not giving the AFPD an opportunity to respond just like they gave one of the teen's mother. These are not innocent little high school kids playing an innocent prank. These were obnoxious, belligerent bullies that refused to respect a business, their property and other customers.
Since the comment was posted, AFPD Sgt. Gregg Ludlow has commented officially to the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News. Ludlow said the tickets were issued to all four boys because they were asked several times to leave, and used foul language. "It was no different from anyone else who is running a business and has someone come in and disrupts that business," he said. "They just continued to keep doing the same thing over and over. After being asked, 'Can you please speak,' they continued to say the same thing over and over."
Bear in mind that the responding AFPD officers did not witness the incident per se, but took their report from the McDonald's manager, and acted on the basis of the complaint. Consequently, it is not impossible that the manager may have exaggerated the severity of the incident. But it is even more likely that the teens might be minimizing their role in order to avoid parental punishment, even though one of the teens, 18-year-old Spencer Dauwalder, is on the honor roll at Lone Peak High and is also the Alpine Youth Mayor. The boys intend to contest the citations in court.
Another KSL commenter offered some insight as to why the McDonald's manager may have reacted so strongly:
9:28am - Thu Oct 29th, 2009
This kind of thing happens all the time. Sure they were just having fun, but my guess is that the manager had had enough from the other 100 kids that had done the same thing before in the same day. Kids are disrespectful and rude (to say the least) when they are with their friends. I've managed a fast food place before and can speak from experience.
So for the McDonald's manager, at that time of night, that might have simply been the last straw, and she decided to call the cops to teach the teens a lesson.
Since this post, McDonald's franchisee Conny Kramer released a statement saying: "The safety and well-being of my employees and customers is a top priority. At this time, these are just allegations. We strongly caution anyone from jumping to conclusions about this matter, without having all the facts." He also said the police were called based on the actions of the teens, but not as a result of them rapping their order.
I don't fault the cops for responding, but to drag the teens through the court system and clutter up the docket for a relatively trivial incident is a waste of time and resources. The parents of these teens ought to arrange a meeting with the store manager and cause the teens to apologize in person for their conduct. Perhaps this might persuade the manager to drop the charges.
This incident also reminds us that we need to show more respect for fast-food workers. It's actually rather remarkable that we can get a filling meal for a reasonable price at a fast-food restaurant after only a five to ten minute wait with no effort on our part, when preparing a similar meal would require our grandparents and great-grandparents an hour or so to accomplish. We should remember that there is equal dignity in all work. Denigrating fast-food workers as "losers" creates an emotional climate favorable for abuse.