DETROIT (FOX 2) - Andrea Warren was left bloodied and stunned after an altercation with a co-owner of Brandon’s Liquor Store on Puritan and Coyle in Detroit.
The 48-year-old claims she was attacked on Friday. Another customer recorded the aftermath. FOX 2 spoke with Warren and her relatives Tuesday.
"He came out and grabbed her by the back of her collar drug her in the store, and started beating on her like she was a man," said a relative of Warren.
"I did not punch her," said Bassam Yatooma. "She spit in my face - and my mother and father not even a year ago, died two months apart from Covid, so I’m paranoid. When she spit in my face, I grabbed her by her collar and took her to the ground to avoid getting spit on again."
Yatooma runs the liquor store with his wife and says Warren was panhandling there for hours and the situation took a turn for the worse when she refused to leave when asked.
FOX 2: "The video (shows) she’s bleeding profusely from her mouth, how does that happen if you just (grabbed) her?"
Andrea Warren after the incident.
"I grabbed her and she was bleeding, I was shocked myself she was bleeding," Yatooma said. "I didn’t mean or intend for any of that to happen."
Shawn Smith who was at the store Friday and whose daughter recorded video of the aftermath, claims Warren did not spit on the store owner.
Police say they’re interviewing witnesses and reviewing surveillance footage from the store.
The video made the rounds on Facebook-drawing the attention and ire of community organizers who gathered outside Brandon’s Liquor Store, demanding answers Tuesday afternoon, prompting workers to close up shop.
"I don’t care what allegedly the sister may have done," said Teferi Brent. "There’s nothing that can justify you beating her continuously."
Store owner Bassam Yatooma.
FOX 2: "Why not simply call the police to take her away before any of this escalated?"
"I didn’t know it would escalate like that, I did not think the police needed to be called for someone who was just panhandling," Yatooma said.
"You call the police for everything else," said one protester. "You call the police when we loiter and you call the police when somebody steals an (expletive) bag of chips. But you don't call the police when you feel you have a problem enough you have to beat down a woman that is old enough to be my mama."
"This guy lost his parents to coronavirus, I would feel the same way," said another man. "All this is for nothing. It is no Black Lives Matter thing. She could have been white, she could have been Chaldean, she could have been Arab. She could have been Asian, Chinese, whatever. It would have been the same result if she had spit on him."
The owner told FOX 2 that he grew up nearby and that he supports the neighborhood and only hires people from it. In light of the reaction to the incident, he said he is considering selling the store.