Black restaurant worker had faced charges following the last year’s incident when he punched an elderly man, who later fell on the floor and died, after the customer racially insulted him using the N-word being furious due to restaurant’s poor service. Almost a year later, the suspect pleaded guilty and was sentenced for the incident, but won’t serve jail time.
As we already reported just few days after the incident took place last May, the 77-year-old V. Cook went to a local Dunkin’ location to buy himself a coffee. The elderly man used the drive-thru service, but there was a small technical problem at the restaurant making it difficult for the employees hearing the customer who became very angry and started yelling at the employees about their poor service.
In an effort to avoid further problems with the angry customer, who was a regular at the location, Dunkin’ employees asked him to leave. But Cook moved his vehicle from the drive-thru, parked it at the restaurant’s parking lot and got inside starting yelling at the employees in an aggressive and verbally abusive manner.
The 27-year-old C. Pujols, one of the Florida Dunkin’ employees who was inside the restaurant once the angry customer got in, asked Cook to leave once again, but the elderly man continued yelling. The incident escalated once Pujols asked his colleagues to call the police and that was the moment when Cook started racially insulting Pujols, who is Black, using the N-word out loud.
Pujols became evidently disturbed by Cook’s words and he walked to the other side of the counter asking Cook to never ever call him that way again. Cook reportedly racially insulted the Dunkin’ employee once again and Pujols punched him in the jaw hard, resulting with Cook to fell on the ground, suffering several serious head injuries which led to his death three days while Cook was undergoing treatment in hospital.
The results of the autopsy had showed that Cook died due to a skull fracture and brain contusions, injuries that he sustained in the incident with Pujols.
Pujols had initially been charged with aggravated manslaughter following the incident. Prosecutors accepted a plea deal from Pujols, who agreed to change his plea to guilty for the lesser charge of felony battery in exchange for a more lenient sentence.
“This outcome holds the defendant accountable while taking into account the totality of the circumstances—the aggressive approach and despicable racial slur used by the victim, along with the defendant’s age, lack of criminal record, and lack of intent to cause the victim’s death,” said G. Kamm, a spokesperson for the HSAO in a statement to FOX 13.
Prosecutors said it was important that there were consequences for Pujols’ actions, but did take into account Cook’s abusive behavior, “very troublesome criminal history” and prison time, which they said made him an “unsympathetic victim.”
Last week, Pujols was sentenced to two years house arrest after pleading guilty and he will have to complete 200 hours of community service and attend an anger management course.