Man punches bar manager during argument over face masks in San Diego
A man in a group of patrons who refused to wear face masks at a Pacific Beach bar sucker-punched a manager in an assault that was captured on video, according to the manager and police.
Bystander and surveillance videos show the assailant running up to a group scuffling in the outdoor seating area of 710 Beach Club about 7 p.m. Sept. 5 and throwing a single punch. The blow left the bar manager with a broken nose.
Tony Aversa told NBC 7 he greeted a man who asked to speak with a manager after the man and others in his party refused to wear masks, which are required under county health regulations unless patrons are eating or drinking.
"[The man] claimed our security guard had been rude — that was his initial complaint,” Aversa told the news station. “I was like, ‘I’d be happy to talk to you about it. I just need you to put a mask on. You’re literally within inches of my face right now.’”
The man didn’t comply. Instead, he pushed a bartender, Aversa said, and a scuffle ensued. That’s when another man, in the same group, ran over and punched Aversa.
“It felt like getting hit by a brick,” he recalled. “I felt my nose pop out of place.”
San Diego police said the assault stemmed from an argument over the suspect’s refusal to wear his mask.
A GoFundMe page created on the bar manager’s behalf states Aversa has been unable to work and will need to see a specialist and undergo surgery. The page says he faces “a long road to recovery.”
The page includes the video of the attack and a picture of Aversa at a hospital with a bloody nose.
“This is the face of our ‘frontline’ workers fighting this battle,” the page reads.
Police said the attack is under investigation.
Hernandez writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.
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