WEST VILLAGE — People rushed to the defense of Rayon McIntosh, a Greenwich Village McDonald's worker allegedly caught on tape beating two women with a metal rod who jumped the counter to attack him.
A number of 107 commenters on DNAinfo's story, which broke the news of the Thursday morning attack, said McIntosh acted in self defense. Supporters have set up a Free Rayon McIntosh Facebook page, which had 92 likes first thing Monday morning.
"I applaud McIntosh for defending himself. I hope the charges against him get dropped. I'll bet those girls NEVER jump the counter again!" wrote Facebook user Ira Mills.
Others said while they don't feel violence is normally the best way to resolve a situation, they think McIntosh acted appropriately in a difficult situation.
"I don't condone violence, but I personally feel that they got what they deserved," wrote Elsa Cirino. "He was defending himself. I would've have done the same thing if I saw two people coming towards me to attack me."
"How in the world can you lock up a guy for defending himself," asked Christopher Brooks.
The incident, captured on a cell phone camera, involved two women who berated a McIntosh, 31, and slapped him in the face before they climbed over the counter and chased him.
McIntosh, who had spent nearly 10 years in prison for manslaughter, ran to the back of the restaurant where he allegedly picked up a metal rod and beat the women. The attack left one of the women with a fractured skull and a broken arm, sources said.
The video was posted on YouTube, but was removed over the weekend for alleged violations of the website's conditions.
A local resident who was eating at the McDonald's Friday afternoon said he was surprised by the assault and hadn't noticed too much violence since he started living in the neighborhood a year ago.
"I've noticed more police," said Kade Olsen, 25, "but nothing worrying."
Police have charged McIntosh with felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon. Both women, Denise Darbeau, 24, and Rachel Edwards, 24, were charged with menacing, trespass and disorderly conduct.
The McDonald's on West Third Street is the same location where another customer was beaten after getting into a fight with two men who allegedly called him homophobic names.
The restaurant's franchise owner, Carmen Paulino, said in a statement, “I am extremely disturbed by the events captured on tape and am concerned for those injured. The actions of this individual are unacceptable and not characteristic of my employees. This individual no longer works for my organization.
"Operating safe, welcoming restaurants is my top priority. I am fully cooperating with authorities in the investigation.”