“Hangry” is Obviously NOT a Defense to Battery

“Hangry” is Obviously NOT a Defense to Battery

May 23, 2024

A Pinellas County man was arrested for domestic violence battery after striking his sister with a piece of fried chicken.

According to the arrest report filed by the Clearwater Police Department, “The Defendant and victim were in a verbal altercation when the defendant grabbed a bag of chicken from the victim and began to throw pieces of Church’s Chicken at her. One piece of fried chicken hit the victim in the back and left debris of food on her shoulder.”

Asked later why he committed the crime, “He stated he did this because he had not eaten and did not want the piece of chicken the victim offered him so he became upset.”

I will put aside the issue of police discretion to make an arrest, especially on a misdemeanor like this. Great police work. The Clearwater citizenry must feel safer with this defendant off the street. By law, however, this was a battery.

Florida Statute §784.03 (1)(a) defines it this way: The offense of battery occurs when a person actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of that person. This includes using some other object to strike the person, like with a piece of chicken.

I have actually represented clients on a couple of similarly ridiculous battery charges. One was a husband who got mad at his wife and threw a frozen pizza at her only to hit her best friend in the forehead leaving a pretty wicked bruise. Another client was accused of battering her brother by spilling a Coke on him during an argument.

In this current example, should the guy have been arrested for hitting his sister with a piece of chicken? No. But it was a battery by definition and this guy was a fowl of the law.