MANHATTAN — Since Greenwich Village McDonald's employee Rayon McIntosh was captured on video brutally beating two unruly female customers last month, people from all over the country have rallied behind him, describing his actions as self-defense.
McIntosh's family is now trying to leverage that support to raise the $40,000 bail needed to spring the 31-year-old Bronx resident from Rikers Island, his mother said Tuesday.
The family started the Help Free Rayon McIntosh Fund after Harlem real estate broker Thomas Lopez-Pierre contacted them and offered to help, said McIntosh's mother, Maureen Lucas.
"I realized that there is no way [for me] to come up with $40,000 on my own to get him out of jail, so he could be out with us while we wait to see what's going on with the trial," she said.
The fund has raised $1,200 since its website launched on Oct. 25, said Lopez-Pierre, senior advisor to the fund. About a quarter of the 40 contributions to the site have come from outside the U.S., including from Canada and Australia, he noted.
Lucas, a 54-year-old nurse and Spring Valley, N.Y., resident, said she was heartened by the showing of support for her son.
"I am just flabbergasted. I never thought people would react how they are reacting," she said. "[Such an attack] could happen to anyone. That's why I think people have been so sympathetic toward him."
McIntosh, 31, is being held on felony assault charges for beating customers Denise Darbeau and Rachel Edwards, both 24, with a metal rod after they jumped over the West Third Street eatery's counter on Oct. 13. Darbeau's skull was fractured in the attack, and she needed 20 staples in her head, her father said. Both women have been charged with trespass.
Lucas, who is a mother of eight, said 100 percent of the money collected will go toward meeting McIntosh's bail. She explained that if the bail amount isn't met, the funds would go to his 11-year-old daughter. It's not clear at what point that would happen, and Lopez-Pierre said that any money raised above the bail amount would go to McIntosh's daughter.
However, these options do not yet appear to viewers of the fund's website.
Lopez-Pierre, who did not previously know the McIntosh family, said he felt compelled to reach out after seeing video of the attack.
"I was horrified that this man was being treated so harshly," he said. "After finding out that he had an 11-year-old child, I thought, this poor child. She needs financial support."
Lopez-Pierre said the fund is under the full control of McIntosh's family.
"There is a bank account and a P.O. box [for the fund], and the only people who have access to them are the family," he said.
The administrator for a "Free Rayon McIntosh" Facebook page, one of many online groups in support of McIntosh, has been asking the group's 1,400-plus followers to donate to the fund.
"My goal is for this to be over — for the guy to get back to his life," said Austin, Texas, resident Angus Young, a 41-year-old disabled veteran who started the page after reading about the McDonald's incident.
Multiple Facebook accounts, including "Support Rayon McIntosh" and "Women Who Support Rayon McIntosh" have sprouted up since the attack. And a YouTube search for "Rayon McIntosh" turns up 87 results, including video of the attack set to music and individuals recording their opinions of the attack.
Lucas maintained that her son had been defending himself against a threat.
"Your first instinct is to protect yourself if someone is pursuing you," she said.
Shayna Jacobs contributed reporting.