POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The lawyer for a pregnant woman arrested earlier this month in connection with an incident at a Florida McDonald’s is accusing the Polk County sheriff of ridiculing and mocking her.
“The world may see Sheriff Grady Judd as the class clown of all of the Florida sheriffs departments,” said Jeremy McLymont, the attorney for 22-year-old Tianis Jones, in a briefing on Friday, May 27. “I see him as someone who is very dangerous to our judicial system.”
That briefing took place a week after Judd held a news conference to discuss the May 19 incident, during which Jones was accused of having an outburst at the Lakeland McDonald’s and becoming “enraged” after trouble with her online order. In video of the incident, Jones can be seen slapping items off the counter before going behind the register and tossing cups on the floor. She also called 911 during the incident to complain, and stopped to twerk as she was leaving the restaurant.
At the news conference, Judd called Jones “McMad.”
“I don’t know why this woman got as angry as she was, but as the saying goes, she’s a few fries short of a Happy Meal,” the sheriff said.
Video of the incident, and the sheriff’s commentary, has been viewed millions of times online.
At a news conference organized by Jones’ legal team, Jones said she did not have a reaction to the video, other than “getting justice.”
McLymont, her lawyer, says Jones has bipolar disorder and depression, and was not taking her medication due to her pregnancy. She was upset over a dispute concerning her food order and not getting a refund, which was also the reason she called 911, according to McLymont.
During the May 20 news conference, Judd suggested that Jones and her legal team only brought up her pregnancy and mental health issues as an “excuse.”
Clayton Cowart, a local civil rights leader, criticized Judd for the comments.
“Stick to McPolicing, stay out of the McCamera and stop trying to be a McMovie Star, mental illness is real,” said Cowart.
Jones is facing charges of burglary with assault, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct and misuse of 911.
“[Sheriff Judd’s] unprofessional and dangerous comments stand to taint any potential jury pool that Ms. Tianis could potentially have in this case,” said McLymont.
The sheriff dismissed allegations his comments would taint a jury pool if the case were to go to trial.
“Do you think anybody’s gonna pay any attention to a press conference today at a jury trial a year or two or three years down the road? That’s nonsense,” said Judd.