A St. Augustine man was arrested after writing a gay slur on his waiter's receipt, then ripping it up and stuffing it down the restaurant manager's shirt after she confronted him outside, police say.
Frederic Sterry Smith, 62, of St. Augustine was charged with simple battery Saturday outside Milagro On 12 Latin Kitchen, in downtown St. Augustine.
Smith and a woman had finished eating at the restaurant when he wrote on the receipt "if he wasn't gay," with a zero-dollar tip. The male server showed it to the manager, who walked outside to confront Smith about 6:40 p.m., St. Augustine police reported.
When she asked Smith if he really wrote that on his check, he said yes and then snatched the bill from her and ripped it up. He then grabbed her collar, pulled it open and shoved the torn check down her shirt, touching her breast with his hand, the report said.
She then yelled that it was an assault and he cannot do that, as Smith drove off, police said.
Another witness, a 21-year-old St. Augustine woman and restaurant co-worker, told police she watched the victim go outside to confront Smith, who told the victim that he would "(expletive) rip it up in front of her face," and then proceeded to do so and stuff it down the victim's blouse.
Witnesses provided a description, and police within an hour tracked down Smith and questioned him. When police asked Smith about the incident, he became verbally abusive and angry and denied touching the woman, who — along with the 21-year-old woman — later identified Smith at the police station.
"I can say whatever I want, to whoever I want!" Smith told police, the report stated.
A female companion in the car told police, "We didn't touch her," as she looked away, the report also read.
Smith was arrested and charged with simple battery, a misdemeanor. Bond was set at $500 and he was released Sunday from the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office jail.
Smith was unavailable for comment. His Facebook page lists that he's a minister and president of Servant’s Heart Disaster Relief, a St. Augustine-based nonprofit and "evangelical hands-on ministry devoted to helping hurricane victims in North America and the Caribbean."