After a debate over local tobacco ordinances, a restaurant owner sprayed a cigarette smoker in the face with a fire extinguisher in a viral video filmed in Salt Lake City on Friday.
“Are you really going to spray him with a fire extinguisher?” a woman filming the incident asks Alex Jamison, vegan restaurateur, who brought the device to what was apparently his second confrontation with Jon Bird, a bearded dude in camo enjoying a smoke.
Oh yes, it turns out, he was really going to do it. As Bird continued to puff, Jamison let loose a stream of powder into Bird’s face (Letterman vs. Simmons style).
Apparently, Bird, who had been volunteering at an arts festival downtown, lit up near the entrance of one of Jamison’s restaurants. Jamison told him to leave and he walked off. Jamison came back and insisted Bird was still within 25 feet of the entrance. He brought along the safety device as backup.
Bird described it as an assault and hired a lawyer, reports Salt Lake City’s KUTV staff. “I’m having a hard time breathing, my eyes [are] painful, headaches, all sorts of stuff I’m feeling that I didn’t feel before,” he said. Salt Lake City police are aware but have been mute about any potential for arrest.
Jamison said he has left the three vegan businesses in which he was involved in a lengthy Facebook post.
After a brief vegan-related windup–“See past the cut of meat, the melted cheese, the buttery richness on your plate. See the innocent lives, stuffed in crates and cages, hurting, scared…”—he got to talking about the incident and asked readers to see that they were both in the wrong, see that the dude smoking on a city street was on par with the guy shooting with him with chemical flame retardant.
“Am I sorry?” wrote Jamison. “Absolutely. Did I mean to cause that man harm or pain? Definitely not. Does he deserve compassion? I’d love to give it to him. But I’m done groveling. … It was small minded thinking on both of our parts and we both need to own it.”
He’s now apparently leaving the Salt Lake City restaurant world and going free range.