ROANOKE COUNTY, Virginia. – The not guilty verdict of a Roanoke County business owner earlier this week led a woman to post a now-viral video of her interaction with him that initially resulted in the charge being laid.
Video from Judea Strong’s cell phone from June 28, 2021, shows a violent encounter between her and Daniel Rosen, the owner of Exotics & Aquatics when she was at the store asking for a return.
On Wednesday, 10 News spoke to Strong and Rosen about their meeting.
Following a court appearance this week, Strong was posted on Facebook and shared hundreds of times.
In the video, people are asking if a company can treat someone the way the video shows and get away with it.
Strong said she had been an Exotics & Aquatics customer for two years when she visited the Williamson Road store last summer to purchase food for her snakes.
When she tried to return the food, staff told her that store policy was no cash refunds, only store credit; However, on several trips to the store, she said there was no one on duty who could process her return for store credit.
Also frustrated, her boyfriend attempted to get store credit and, like him, too, was unsuccessful, he posted a scathing review of the business on Facebook.
He said in the message that the service he had received “sucks” and urged store management to train their employees. He also called on the store to take care of its animals and its high prices.
The store responded, asking him not to come back because he doesn’t like it. The store also added that if he returned he would be escorted.
“They banned it. They told him they would like him not to come back to the store, ”said Strong, who believed she was still okay with returning to the establishment.
On June 28, with her boyfriend in the car, since he had been banned, Strong went inside to get a cash refund.
Strong was talking with the store manager about their policy when store owner Daniel Rosen came up front.
“His mother is trying to grab me and throw me out. I tell them, ‘don’t put your hands on me.’ They continue to approach. Several people try to hold him back. He is absolutely enraged. He literally lifts me off the floor, carries me to the door, and throws me out, ”Strong recalls.
She said she came away concussed and bruised.
“No, that’s not true,” Rosen said when 10 News spoke to him on Wednesday.
He told a different story that begins before the cell phone is registered.
“For two years, she and her boyfriend walked into the store belittling my employees and berating my mother,” Rosen explained.
He said Strong didn’t record her cursing her mother before going to the counter. Strong denied this accusation by Rosen.
Rosen also said he never picked up Strong, instead tripping and falling on the front door mat.
When asked if he thought his answer was overkill, Rosen replied, “No, because she was standing there with her phone down and middle finger pointed at us.”
Rosen was charged with assault and battery, but earlier this week was found not guilty by a Roanoke County deputy judge.
“After the charges were dropped and everything, I was like it wasn’t right. I can’t let this happen. I want others to know that, ”Strong said.
Rosen said that since Strong posted on Facebook, his company has received numerous calls accusing him of racism.
“I assure you that I am not a racist. I have many ethnicities working for me and I’m friends with them, ”Rosen said.
Strong didn’t mention race in my conversation or in his Facebook post.
Surveillance footage from inside the store no longer exists, according to Rosen.
He said his system only stores data for 24 to 48 hours. Even so, that probably wouldn’t have proven much since the camera positions didn’t give a good point of view.
Roanoke County Commonwealth Attorney Brian Holohan shared this story and statement with 10 News:
“The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge of assault and battery.
Ms Strong testified that she went to the business to ask for a refund and that after talking to an employee about the refund, the defendant approached from the back of the store yelling at him to leave . She added that when she refused to do so, other employees prevented the defendant from approaching her. When the defendant managed to break those ties, she testified that he grabbed her by both arms, lifted her and carried her about 10 feet where he threw her out the door.
Roanoke County Police Department Constable Andrea Morris said she reviewed footage of the incident from the company’s closed-circuit camera and the video showed an employee holding the accused behind while that he was pointing at the front door. She testified that after she managed to get away from this employee, the defendant grabbed Strong’s arms and pushed her through the front door where she fell to the floor. She testified that she then saw the defendant put his foot on Strong’s chest. She further stated that seeing this on the video she told the defendant that he kicked Strong, and the defendant replied ‘no, I used my foot to push her towards the side. ‘outside’. The defendant’s mother, Lorie Neville, who was present at the time of the incident and interacted with Ms Strong about her claim for reimbursement, and the defendant also testified.
The presiding judge declared the accused not guilty.
The case was prosecuted by one of my most experienced and talented Commonwealth Deputy Prosecutors. At trial, our position was that the use of force by the accused was unreasonable and went beyond what was legally justified in the circumstances. My prosecutor asked that the accused be convicted of the charges.
Roanoke County Commonwealth Attorney Brian Holohan
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