SINGAPORE: A former employee of Cheers, who recorded his encounter with three police officers at a store in Lau Pa Sat, is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday (18 Oct) for several charges.
The 29-year-old individual faces charges for using insulting language, verbally abusing a police officer, revealing the identity of a police officer, and failing to attend police interviews.
The former employee is a TikTok user @Confederateginger, who goes by the name Jonathan.
According to a news release on Tuesday, the police were called around 8.10 p.m. on Jan 1 this year to resolve a conflict between a customer and an employee at a Cheers store along Raffles Quay.
The police said the Investigations revealed that the employee had insulted the customer.
The series of aggravating events commenced with Jonathan’s refusal to present his identification card to the officers.
According to a video posted by Jonathan, he told the police officer that a drunken individual had entered the store, attempting to instigate trouble by hurling insults and falsely posing as a police officer, threatening him with arrest and “cuff him back” to Police Cantonment Complex.
When the police officers requested Jonathan’s identification card, he vehemently declined, citing protection from the store’s surveillance camera, which had recorded the altercation with the intoxicated individual.
Jonathan argued that he had committed no wrongdoing, questioning the necessity of providing his ID.
“The thing is, I’m being protected by my boss’s camera, I never commit any offence, why do you require my ID?” Jonathan asserted.
“I’m an employee, not a person wandering the streets, you know,” he added.
While single-handedly managing the store, Jonathan paused to assist customers, persistently recording the officers despite their repeated requests to cease.
Additionally, he attempted to debate with the officers, emphasizing the unlikelihood of false allegations and refuting the possibility of the store’s closure for their investigation.
“There’s no reason to disrupt business solely for police matters,” Jonathan asserted.
Towards the conclusion of the recordings, he became distressed as the officers moved to apprehend him, having previously issued more than three warnings for him to present his identification and cease recording, citing that his filming was “obstructing” their inquiry.
Failure to appear for police interviews
Jonathan posted more than six videos on social media, collectively garnered over 10 million views. One of the video captions read, “SPF thug-like behavior.”
The police said Jonathan allegedly revealed the name of the police officer and using captions that were described as “abusive and demeaning to the police officers”.
Despite repeated attempts by the police to summon the individual for questioning, he did not appear for the interviews on the specified dates of Jan 11 and Jan 31.
“The police take a stern view of abusive behaviours and disobedience to the lawful order from public servants who are carrying out their public duties. Firm actions will be taken to deal with such offenders in accordance with the law,” the authorities stated.
Following the incident, the employee was terminated from his position.
In a statement released on January 2, Cheers refrained from defending Jonathan and issued an apology for the “distress” he had caused.
They also affirmed their commitment to wholeheartedly collaborate with the authorities and mentioned that they had provided guidance to the employee while placing him on administrative leave.
“We would like to assure the public that our staff will offer our full co-operation and compliance when rendering assistance to the authorities,” it wrote.
FairPrice, on Jan 4, stated that it instructed its Cheers franchisee to dismiss the employee after conducting an investigation.
FairPrice emphasized that all staff, regardless of employment by franchisees, must comply with authorities and that it does not tolerate acts undermining the authority of the police.
Legal consequences for offences including verbal harassment and non-compliance with police interviews
If convicted of using insulting language for harassment, the individual may face a fine of up to S$5,000, a prison term of up to six months, or both.
Moreover, the offence of using abusive language toward a public servant carries a penalty of up to S$5,000, a maximum imprisonment of 12 months, or both.
Individuals found guilty of publicizing the identity of a public servant to obstruct the lawful discharge of their duties may face a fine of up to S$5,000, imprisonment for up to 12 months, or both.
The offence of failing to attend a police interview may lead to a fine of up to S$1,500, imprisonment for up to one month, or both.
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