A restaurant owner has apologized for spraying a man in the face with a fire extinguisher when he refused to stop smoking a cigarette outside his restaurant in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Friday.
The incident occurred when Jon Bird, a volunteer for an arts festival, was standing on the sidewalk on East Gallivan Avenue smoking a cigarette.
He said restaurant owner Alex Jamison had asked him earlier that day to stop smoking on the curbside.
“He just told us this is a non-smoking area and we needed to walk away from his establishment of business,” Bird commented.
Bird said a security officer told him it was fine for him to continue smoking in that area.
“We confirmed it with security that we were OK. We told him we are definitely further than 25 feet from any entrance or ventilated door or window,” he recalled.
However, when Jamison approached Bird and his girlfriend again, he had a fire extinguisher with him.
“Are you really going to spray him with a fire extinguisher?” his girlfriend can be heard asking in the video.
“I’m going to put that cigarette out,” Jamison replies. “You can’t smoke right here.”
When Bird puts the cigarette back into his mouth, Jamison sprays him in the face with the fire extinguisher. He then steps back from Bird and tells him to “call the cops,” adding “You can’t f-ing smoke right here.”
The restaurant owner has since put out a statement apologizing for his behavior towards Bird.
The statement read:
Well I’ll say that 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.
Bird has since hired an attorney and the Salt Lake City Police Department said it is currently investigating the incident.