ORANGEBURG, SC (WIS) - Orangeburg deputies said three people arrested Thursday in a brawl at an IHOP restaurant started the fight.
IHOP made the decision to press charges against the suspects. Now the fight will have to be settled in court. But it's still not clear how the brawl started.
The Orangeburg County Sheriff's Department charged Tracy Day, Patricia Hampton and Alonzo Dantzler Junior for a fight at IHOP early Saturday morning. Cell phone video shocked thousands of people who watched the scrap match play out on YouTube, including Interim Orangeburg Sheriff Barbara Walters. "What kind of message are we sending to our children?" questioned Walters.
Walters said the three suspects are friends. The victims in the fight were from out of town. She said the brawl began from a simple argument but quickly got worse.
"It's not ok," said Walters, "Why would anyone feel that it's ok to get up out of your seat and physically attack someone else that is not causing you any harm? That's not ok. It's not acceptable in Orangeburg County. It's not acceptable in the state of South Carolina or anywhere else."
The suspects were arrested for public disorderly conduct after IHOP decided to press charges. Walters hopes the video, which is now viral on the Internet, sends a clear message to the suspects. "I really hope they are remorseful, and I hope everyone that has viewed this and read anything about this will think twice before they go public and start attacking someone else," said Walters. "Whether it's verbal, physical, everybody's watching everybody. Camera's are everywhere. Cell phones are recording action for those that commit a crime you may find yourself on YouTube."
A spokesperson for IHOP said Thursday that measures have been taken to increase at the North Road location. "Arrests in this case are very encouraging. As he has from the outset, the franchise owner of this location continues to cooperate fully with the authorities, including a willingness to file a police report and press charges," said Patrick Lenow, spokesman for IHOP. "While this was an isolated incident, caused by individuals who appear to have no respect for the community of Orangeburg, security has been enhanced as the well-being of guests and employees is the franchisee's primary concern."
If convicted, Walters said the three could be slapped with a hefty fine.