WATCH: Video captures violent encounter between a Roanoke County business owner and his customer

Lower in this story is the 3-minute unedited video of the incident between Exotics & Aquatics’ owner and a customer

The not-guilty verdict for a Roanoke County business owner earlier this week led a woman to post a now-viral video of her interaction with him that originally caused the charge to be filed.

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – The not-guilty verdict for a Roanoke County business owner earlier this week led a woman to post a now-viral video of her interaction with him that originally caused the charge to be filed.

Judea Strong’s cell phone video 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 to make a return.

[How a similar name is dragging a Virginia fish store into this Roanoke County viral video controversy]

On Wednesday, 10 News spoke with both Strong and Rosen about their encounter.

Following a court appearance this week, Strong was posted on Facebook and has been shared hundreds of times.

***VIDEO IS UNEDITED AND CONTAINS VULGAR LANGUAGE | VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

*VIDEO CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE* Judea posted this video to her Facebook page after Rosen was found not guilty of assault in connection with this incident.

The video has people asking if a business can treat someone in the way displayed on the video and get away with it.

Strong said she had been an Exotics & Aquatics customer for two years when she visited the store on Williamson Road this past summer to buy food for her snakes.

Judea Strong talking with 10 News on Dec. 15, 2021, about the incident at Exotics & Aquatics in June 2021. (WSLS 10)

When she tried to return the food, staff told her that the store policy is no cash refunds, only store credit; however, in going to the store several times, 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 when he too did not have success, he posted a scathing review of the business on Facebook.

Facebook post by Judea Strong's boyfriend (Kieyshon Jemaine / Facebook)

He said in the post that the service he received “sucks” and urged store management to train their employees. He also called out the store’s care of its animals and its high prices.

The store responded, asking him to not come back since he doesn’t like it. The store also added that if he did return, he would be escorted out.

Exotics & Aquatics reply to Kieyshaun's post. (Exotics & Aquatics / Facebook)

“They banned him. They told him they would like if he not come back to the store,” said Strong, who believed that she was still okay to return to the establishment.

On June 28, with her boyfriend in the car, since he was banned, Strong went inside to get a cash refund.

Strong was talking with the store manager about their policy when the store owner, Daniel Rosen, came to the front.

“His mom tries to grab me and throw me out. I tell them, ‘don’t put your hands on me.’ They continue to approach. Several people are trying to hold him back. He’s absolutely enraged. He literally picks me up off the ground, carries me over to the door and throws me out,” recalled Strong.

She said she left concussed and bruised.

“No, that’s not true,” said Rosen when 10 News talked to him on Wednesday.

Daniel Rosen speaking with 10 News on Dec. 15, 2021 (WSLS 10)

He told a different story that begins before the cell phone recording.

“For two years, her and her boyfriend came into the store belittling my employees and berating my mother,” explained Rosen.

He said Strong did not record her cursing out his mother before going to the counter. Strong denied that accusation by Rosen.

Rosen also said he never picked up Strong, rather they tripped and fell over the rug at the front door.

When asked if he thought his response was excessive, Rosen answered, “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 substitute Roanoke County judge.

“After the charges were dismissed and everything, I was like this isn’t right. I can’t let this happen. I want to let other people know,” expressed Strong.

Rosen said since Strong posted on Facebook, his business has gotten a lot of calls accusing him of racism.

“I assure you I’m not a racist. I have many ethnicities working for me and I’m friends with them,” said Rosen.

Strong did not mention race in my conversation or in her Facebook post.

Surveillance footage from inside the store no longer exists, according to Rosen.

He said his system only stores data for 24-48 hours. Even though, it likely would not have proven much since the cameras’ positions did not yield a good vantage point.

Roanoke County Commonwealth Attorney Brian Holohan shared this narrative and statement with 10 News:

“The defendant plead not guilty to the charge of assault and battery.

Ms. Strong testified that she went to the business to request a refund and that after speaking to an employee about the refund, the defendant approached from the rear of the store yelling at her to leave. She further testified that when she refused to do so, other employees restrained the defendant from approaching her. When the defendant was able to break those restraints, she testified he grabbed her by both arms, picked her up, and carried her approximately 10 feet where the threw her out of the door.

Officer Andrea Morris of the Roanoke County Police Department testified that she reviewed the business’ closed circuit camera footage of the incident and that the video showed a male employee holding the defendant back while he was pointing towards the front door. She testified that after the defendant was able to get away from this employee, he grabbed Strong’s arms and pushed her through the front door where she fell to the ground. She testified that then she observed the defendant put his foot to Strong’s chest. She further testified that upon seeing this on the video she told the defendant that he had kicked Strong, and the defendant replied “no, I used my foot to push her out.” The defendant’s mother Lorie Neville, who was present during the incident and interacted with Ms. Strong concerning her request refund, and the defendant also testified.

The presiding Judge found the defendant not guilty.

The case was prosecuted by one of my most experienced and talented Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys. At trial it was our position that the defendant’s use of force was unreasonable and exceeded that which was legally justified under the circumstances. My prosecutor requested that the defendant be found guilty as charged.”

Roanoke County Commonwealth Attorney Brian Holohan

About the Author:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.