“Soon after, Iannazzo returned to Robeks and confronted the employees, yelling at them and demanding to know who had made the smoothie which contained peanuts, causing his child’s allergic reaction. When the employees could not providing the answer to Iannazzo, he became furious, yelling at employees using a number of expletives,” police said in a statement. “He then threw a drink at an employee, who hit him in the right shoulder. The employee said he had no complaints of pain or injury. Iannazzo also made comments to an employee in referring to his immigration status.”
Police said employees said they told Iannazzo to leave, but he refused, at one point he allegedly tried to open a locked “employee-only” door leading behind the counter.
A lawyer for lannazzo said that when lannazzo placed his order with the Robeks, he told the employees that it must not contain peanuts and that his receipt stated that the order must not contain peanut butter, but he “wholeheartedly regrets the incident”.
His attorney also told CNN News affiliate 12 Connecticut, “His son is on the road to recovery.”
“When faced with a dire situation for his son, Mr Lannazzo’s parental instinct kicked in and he acted out of anger and fear. He is not a racist individual and deeply regrets his statements and his actions during a time of extreme emotional stress,” the attorney said. Frank J. Riccio said in a statement.
The employees then told investigators that Iannazzo never told them about the peanut allergy, but only asked that there be no peanut butter in his drink, police said.
In a video widely shared on social media, a man later identified as Iannazzo is seen yelling at store employees asking who made the drink, and can be heard using swear words and telling an employee that he was a “losing immigrant”.
According to police, Iannazzo left the scene before they arrived, but then turned into a police officer without incident.
Iannazzo has been charged with second-degree intimidation based on bigotry or bias, second-degree breach of the peace and first-degree criminal trespass, police said. He was given a court date of February 7 at Bridgeport Superior Court.
“At Robeks, our priority is to protect both store team members and guests. The company and its franchisees have a zero-tolerance policy for this type of behavior, and we are grateful that members of the franchisee’s team were not physically injured,” the Robeks spokesperson said. Barbara Caruso said in a statement. “We appreciate the swift action of law enforcement and the justice system in pursuing criminal prosecutions for this unacceptable behavior.”
A spokesperson for Bank of America, where Iannazzo worked as a financial adviser to Merrill Lynch, said he was no longer employed there.
“Our company does not condone such behavior. We immediately investigated and took action. This individual is no longer employed by our company,” Bank of America/Merrill spokesman Bill Halldin said.