An angry vegan restaurant owner fired a fire extinguisher at a man because he was smoking a cigarette near his restaurant.
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.
By Monday, Jamison was no longer the owner of three vegan restaurants and wrote out a lengthy statement about the incident.
He says Bird egged him on, blowing smoke in his face and mocking him after the fire extinguisher incident.
Jamison acknowledged the health risks of using such chemicals on a person, but said Bird’s carcinogenic tobacco smoke presents a greater health risk.
“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.”
Utah law prohibits smoking within 25 feet of a door, window or air vent. Based on the location of the fire extinguisher incident in the video, Bird was a suitable distance away from the businesses during the second smoking event. He says he was also far enough away during the first incident.
Salt Lake police on Monday said they had not yet interviewed Jamison. At the conclusion of the investigation they will forward the case to the city attorney’s office for a decision about charges.