“A subject knocked on the locked doors of the restaurant at approximately 9:30 p.m. (EDT) and demanded to be let inside,” a release (.pdf) from the Florence, S.C. police department stated. “The victim, who was the Wendy’s manager, stepped outside to explain the store was closed and the subject became angry, allegedly striking the victim on the top of the head with his open palm.”
Younginer spent 31 years as an FBI agent and another seven years working for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). In his retirement, he has been an outspoken critic of former FBI director James Comey.
Younginer’s family is speaking out about the arrest, denying the assault allegation, blaming the arresting officer and offering an instructive glimpse at small town justice in the Palmetto State.
According to a Facebook message obtained by this news outlet, Younginer’s daughter – Lisa Younginer – had a lot to say about the arrest of her father.
According to her, the media “semi-blew this up which is awful.”
“(He) loves their burgers,” she explained, referring to his visit to the fast food restaurant. “He wanted a burger but the doors were locked. He knocked wondering what was going on. The manager stepped outside (and) he was asking her why they were closed. The sign outside the store clearly said they were open until 10 p.m.”
“They could have been in the middle of a robbery or something,” Lisa Younginer added.
So … what happened?
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According to the version of events laid out by Lisa Younginer, the Wendy’s manager “upset him” – at which point he “told her he was going to leave (and) go to Five Guys,” a nearby rival burger joint.
“He flicked her cap with his finger and left,” she said. “He did NOT touch her (and) the cap stayed on her head.”
Not long after we reported on this arrest, we were told Florence police officers apprehended Joe Younginer when he pulled back into the Wendy’s restaurant following his trip to Five Guys.
His daughter’s version of events confirms this bit of information.
“On his way back home he saw the police car in the parking lot,” she wrote. “He pulled in to see what was going on. The police told him to stay there (and) another (officer) showed up. They finally came out and didn’t ask him anything, they arrested him on the spot for assault and battery.”
Lisa Younginer said “the arresting officer was a young, rookie female.”
Here is where things get very interesting …
According to Lisa Younginer, the wheels of small town justice are already spinning in her father’s favor.
“Needless to say the police chief is in the process of dismissing this case with the judge,” she wrote.
Wait … what?
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Not only that, she said “there are several lawyers that want to take this to court for him,” adding “what (the police) did was wrong” and “there are very high up people that want this investigated for my dad.”
“He spent the night in jail for an accusation,” Lisa Younginer continued. “The next day the judge couldn’t believe it, he dismissed him (and) drove him home.”
Wow … how many people booked at the Florence County detention center get that kind of treatment?
“It’s a huge mess,” Younginer concluded. “He did not touch this woman. We want it dropped (and) to be forgotten.”
We certainly understand that …
As we noted in our initial treatment of this story, “(Joe) Younginer is considered innocent until proven guilty by our criminal justice system – or until such time as he may wish to enter a plea in connection with the charge that has been filed against him.”
That is true … and if the version of events laid out by Lisa Younginer is indeed accurate, then we believe the charge against her father should be dropped. Having said that, there was obviously another side to this story – and her decision to attack the media, blame law enforcement and openly discuss the preferential treatment her father is alleged to have received is not the way to go about proving his innocence.
Nor is calling in connections to get the case thrown out – or to initiate an investigation into the officer who arrested her father.
Younginer may indeed be as pure as the driven snow in connection with this incident – and we certainly do not fault his daughter for vigorously protesting his innocence.
But there is a process that must be followed for anyone similarly charged. And public faith in that process is critical. And in the event the charge against Joe Younginer is tossed, his daughter’s statements have guaranteed all sorts of headaches for the law enforcement, prosecutorial and judicial institutions involved.
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