Man sprays smoker in face with fire extinguisher to put out cigarette: 'You can't smoke around here'

A restaurant owner sprayed a fire extinguisher in the face of a man who refused to put out his cigarette while smoking outside the business.

The man, identified by local media as Alex Jamison, can be seen in a video which is circulating online threatening to put out the smoker’s cigarette with the small portable fire extinguisher.

When the smoker, Jon Bird, defiantly takes another drag Mr Jamison lifts the device and fires a jet of white powder straight into Mr Bird’s face.

Mr Bird told a local TV station in Salt Lake City, where the fracas occurred, he was in the area volunteering at a nearby arts festival and believed he was permitted to smoke in that part of the street.

He was next to some outdoor seating for a restaurant believed to be part-run by Mr Jamison.

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Utah state law prohibits smoking within 25 feet (7.6 metres) of the entrance of any business.

At the start of the video Mr Jamison argues with Mr Bird and another man about whether or not they were within 25 feet of his business.

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Immediately after the fire extinguisher is sprayed in the smoker’s face, someone off camera can be heard saying “call the cops” to which Mr Jamison confidently responds “call the cops”.

Salt Lake City police did arrive later but by that time Mr Jamison had left.

Mr Bird believes he has been assaulted and has hired a lawyer to press charges against the restaurant-owner.

“Keep an eye out for this guy at the Gallivan Center,” Mr Bird posted on Facebook underneath a screen grab from the video of the altercation.

“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.”

Salt Lake City police said Mr Jamison may be facing an assault charge and urged people to contact them before similar dispute got out of hand in future.

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On Monday, Mr Jamison published a sprawling statement on Facebook, which both apologised for spraying Mr Bird and also defended himself.

He claimed before the video began the pair had previously argued about Mr Bird smoking much nearer to his restaurants, which ended with him blowing smoke in Mr Jamison’s face.

“Was my behaviour on Friday the right way to handle the situation? Of course not. Am I sorry? Absolutely. Did I mean to cause that man harm or pain? Definitely not.”

But Mr Jamison, who described himself as “Mr Extinguisher AKA the biggest asshole on the planet”, said he was “done grovelling”, claiming he was simply defending his customers’ lungs and that the contents of the extinguisher were significantly less toxic than Mr Bird’s second-hand smoke.

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“So you want to call it assault? Go for it. I call it self defence, protecting my air, the duty to protect my customers.”

He also announced he was no longer an owner of the three nearby vegan restaurants, but said his old company had promised to donate $5 to an animal rights charity for every comment, whether supportive or not, on his new Facebook page.

Mr Bird told local reporters he had found it difficult to breathe after the attack and had also experienced headaches. Paramedics treated him at the scene and he has also visited a doctor, he added.

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