(CNN) — A Connecticut man was arrested and lost his job after a video surfaced of him yelling at employees at a smoothie shop Saturday, claiming his son was given a peanut butter drink, causing him to a severe allergic reaction who had to be treated in a hospital.
According to Fairfield police, James Iannazzo picked up the drinks at a Robeks smoothie shop on Saturday afternoon. And, according to authorities, shortly thereafter he called 911 to request emergency medical services for a minor suffering from an allergic reaction. The boy was later transported to an area hospital, police said.
“Shortly thereafter, Iannazzo returned to Robeks and confronted the employees. She yelled at them and demanded to know who had made the shake that contained peanuts, which caused her son’s allergic reaction. When the employees were unable to give Iannazzo the answer , he became enraged and yelled at the employees using a series of expletives,” police said in a statement. “He then threw a drink at an employee, striking his right shoulder. The worker reported no complaints of pain or injury. Iannazzo also made comments about an employee referring to his immigration status,” the statement added.
Police said employees reported telling Iannazzo to leave, but he refused. And, according to the account, at one point he allegedly tried to open a locked “Employees Only” door that led behind the counter.
Lawyer responds to smoothie shop incident
An attorney for Lannazzo said that when the man placed his order for shakes at Robeks, he told employees that they were not supposed to contain peanuts and his receipt reflected that the order was not supposed to contain peanut butter. But he added that he “deeply regrets the incident.”
His attorney also told CNN affiliate News 12 Connecticut that “his son is on the mend.”
“When faced with a terrible situation for his son, Mr. Lannazzo’s parental instincts kicked in and he acted out in anger and fear. He is not a racist individual and deeply regrets his statements and actions during a time of extreme emotional stress,” attorney Frank J. Riccio said in a statement.
Employees later told investigators that Iannazzo never told them about the peanut allergy, but only asked that there be no peanut butter in the drink, police said.
What the video shows
In a video shared widely on social media, a man later identified as Iannazzo is seen yelling at smoothie shop employees asking who made the drink. In the images you can hear insults and when he tells an employee that he was an “immigrant loser”.
According to police, Iannazzo left the scene before they arrived. But, he later turned himself in to the police without incident.
Iannazzo was charged with bullying based on bigotry or prejudice in the second degree, breach of the peace in the second degree and criminal trespass in the first degree, police said. He was issued an appearance date of February 7 in Bridgeport Superior Court.
“At Robeks, our priority is to protect store team members and guests alike. The company and its franchisees have a zero-tolerance policy for this type of behavior. And we’re grateful that store team members franchise were not physically harmed,” Robeks spokeswoman Barbara Caruso said in a statement. “We appreciate the swift action of law enforcement and the judicial system in bringing criminal charges for this unacceptable behavior,” he added.
A spokesman for Bank of America, where Iannazzo worked as a financial adviser for Merrill Lynch, said he was no longer employed there.
“Our company does not tolerate any such behavior. We immediately investigated and took action. This individual is no longer an employee of our firm,” Bank of America/Merrill spokesman Bill Halldin said.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism