A Salt Lake City restaurant owner was caught on video allegedly putting out a smoker’s cigarette with a fire extinguisher, KUTV reports. The owner has since given up ownership of his restaurants and may yet face criminal charges.
What transpired between business owner Alex Jamison and smoker Jon Bird is largely a matter of whom you ask, but the basic facts seem not to be in dispute. It seems that on Friday, Bird was volunteering at a downtown arts festival when he took a smoke break. Jamison took exception to where Bird was smoking and asked him to put out his cigarette and go smoke somewhere else, which Bird says he did.
As reported in a companion KUTV report, Utah law prohibits smoking within 25 feet of a business entrance. Bird was apparently not close to any businesses, and the closest entrance to him at the time was to a parking garage.
Nevertheless, even after Bird moved, Jamison was still not having it. Bird says that Jamison, this time bearing a fire extinguisher, came out “looking for a fight,” and continued to pester Bird about his smoking. The two men argued back and forth about legalities, and eventually, Jamison allegedly sprayed Bird with the fire extinguisher.
A bystander caught the event on video, which Bird then posted on Facebook.
Jamison also wrote about the incident on Facebook, in which he, in a roundabout way, gave his side of the story. In his explanation, he talks about his desire to operate vegan restaurants and goes into detail about what is involved in raising animals for food consumption. He then goes on to say that he no longer owns any restaurants and that he’s looking for new avenues to explore in his life, writing, “this is my rebirth.”
As for the fire extinguisher incident, he says he’s sorry and didn’t mean to cause Bird harm or pain.
As for Bird, he says that he’s been suffering lingering effects from the alleged assault, for which he was treated by paramedics at the scene and later taken to a hospital.
“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.
Jamison may yet face criminal charges from this incident. As of Monday evening, Salt Lake City police said they had not yet interviewed Jamison. Once that’s done, they’ll forward their findings to the city attorney’s office, where the decision on whether or not to file charges will be made.