The confrontation was caught on camera.
One customer had a broken skull.
Still, a grand jury refused to indict him.
"Only when they came up on me, that's when I started swinging it," said Rayon McIntosh, the former McDonald's employee.
Former fast food worker Rayon McIntosh says he never wanted to be a YouTube sensation, certainly not this way, caught on a cell phone video beating two unruly female customers at a Greenwich Village McDonald's in October.
But the 31-year-old ex-con, working the overnight shift, trying to turn his life around, says he did what he had to do against two women who took their verbal threats to the physical level.
"She f--- me up. She cut me up, I'm an immigrant. I'm still trying to tell her, you know, 'Can you please calm down? This isn't serious.' That's when she spit on me, slapped me from across the counter where the patrons are supposed to be. She spit on me first, and followed with a smack in my face," McIntosh said.
She then jumped over the counter, and her friend went to head McIntosh off.
He says he felt trapped.
"I just picked up the first thing that was in my reach. It was a metal and aluminum rod, very bendable, very thin. It's a long metal rod with a handle, you can bend it like this," McIntosh said.
It was a rod used to scrape the grill.
"You can see she clearly come to the back, and that's when I started swinging it. I thought she had a weapon," McIntosh said.
"I guess the question is, why keep hitting them?" Eyewitness News Investigative reporter Sarah Wallace asked.
"Because they still keep coming at me, you're not thinking rational, you're just thinking to keep this person at bay," McIntosh said.
"So you think you were absolutely justified in continuing to hit them?" Wallace asked.
"Yes, because they still keep coming towards me," McIntosh said.
"And then it becomes after the first blow, does it continue to be self-defense?" Wallace asked.
"You are just in survival mode. That's the only answer I could give," McIntosh said.
"It looks like you hit one of them when she was on the ground, trying to defend yourself," Wallace said.
"Oh, because she kept getting up and telling me, when she get up, she's going to f--- me up," McIntosh said.
Even though Myika Darbeau suffered a fractured skull and arm and Rachel Edwards was cut, a grand jury declined last week to indict McIntosh for felony assault.
He'd gotten out of prison last March after serving 11 years for manslaughter and was terrified at the thought of going back.
"Do you have any regrets about this?" Wallace asked.
"I'm sorry that it happened. All I wanted to do was work my shift and go back home. I wasn't looking for trouble. I learned that my freedom is the most important thing that I got," McIntosh said.
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