A business owner in Utah was filmed spraying a man in the face with a fire extinguisher as he refused to stop smoking by his restaurant.
The man smoking in the video, Jon Bird, shared footage of the incident between him and Alex Jamison who owns two restaurants near the Gallivan Center in Salt Lake City.
Jamison in the video says Bird is in a “customer area” and should not be smoking there.
Jamison can then be seen arguing with Bird along with another man. A woman is recording the events in live time. She asks the business owner:
“Are you really going to spray him with that fire extinguisher?”
He then replies that Bird needs to put his cigarette out. Bird then puts it in his mouth and continues to smoke while Jamison points the extinguisher at his face. He then says: “Do it.”
He then proceeds to spray a short burst in his face before backing away.
Bird then tells the man next to him to “call the cops.”
Jamison then replies: “Call the cops. You can’t f**king smoke right here.”
Bird later shared the footage on Facebook.
“Keep an eye out for this guy at the Gallivan Center. Need to get his info. Assaulted me and ran from the scene before the cops showed up. Anyone know any attorneys that can help? Never thought this would happen.”
When speaking to WSBT, Bird revealed how he was volunteering for an arts festival when the incident took place when a security guard allegedly told him he was okay to smoke in the area.
According to Utah Law, smoking within 25 feet of a business entrance is illegal.
While Salt Lake police arrived at the scene, Jamison had left by the time they had gotten there. Police has since confirmed they are investigating the case but have declined to comment further. In the interim, Bird has hired an attorney to pursue an assault claim.
Jamison later apologized to Bird in a statement to KSL TV, saying:
“I’m not proud of my behavior. I let myself get egged on and I overreacted.
“I’m a protective small business owner who has asked hundreds of people not to smoke near our patio in the interest of our customers and our neighbors’ customers. I try to be respectful and generally always get good responses.”
“I asked him multiple times during the day to please go to the designated smoking area but should not have reacted to feeling disrespected. I certainly owe the other person involved an apology and would like to make it right with him however I need to.”
“I did not mean to cause him any harm. Our business is committed to fighting for animal rights and this must include other people. I’m sorry.”