BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD/KLFY) — Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, community activists and other local leaders are addressing a video circulating on social media showing water being tossed on a homeless person outside a Louisiana convenience store.
The incident occurred, the morning after Christmas, outside the Triple S Food Mart on North Foster Drive.
Store owner Abdul Muflahi confirmed during a press conference Tuesday that the person seen on video is a store employee, who has since been terminated.
“When I got the news, I didn’t speak to the employee too much,” Muflahi said.
“All I told her was to leave the property because we do not handle situations like that.”
Muflahi apologized to the community and said his business does not tolerate what happened and added that he’s looking to make sure it never happens again.
Activist Walter “Geno” McLaughlin said responding police gave resources to the person who was allegedly assaulted.
“That type of action inside of our community is totally unacceptable.”
He reminded people about using 9-8-8, a hotline for those in crisis.
“For someone to get ice-cold water thrown on them in these below-freezing temperatures is just disrespectful. It also could’ve hurt this person physically.”
Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome has promoted an initiative aimed at finding a solution to homelessness in Baton Rouge. The Homeless Prevention Coalition includes services, programs and initiatives to combat homelessness.
Her office issued the following statement in response to the incident.
“An incident over the holiday weekend involving a person who appears to be homeless has caught the attention of our community. This incident emphasizes the continued need for our outreach efforts. In this case, several community partners worked together to locate the individual, bring them to the Bridge Center and connect them with additional services.
“The Behavioral Health Homeless Outreach Team, better known as the HOT Team, also visited the business where the incident occurred. The business was made aware of the support offered by the HOT Team to residents experiencing homelessness and crisis. We hope something like this never happens again considering the available resources.
“The Mayor’s HOT Team is a citywide joint effort between Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD), East Baton Rouge Sherriff’s Office (EBRSO) and Behavioral Health Specialists designed to conduct comprehensive assessments, care coordination, and clinical intervention to the homeless persons in the community. The HOT Team connects with people who struggle with mental illness or behavioral health concerns and are experiencing unsheltered homelessness, living in encampment areas or involved in panhandling.
“If the public needs to connect to HOT team, they may contact the Mayor’s Office at 225.389.3100.”Mayor Broome