Philadelphia bar owner pulls gun on Black man who scolded his customers for not following social distancing
A Pennsylvania bar owner has come under heavy criticism after a video posted online showed him pulling a gun on a Black man, seemingly without provocation. The disturbing incident unfolded outside Nick's Roast Beef on 2210 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, on Sunday, July 5, after the Black man stopped by the restaurant on his bicycle and started shouting, "Social distancing! No one is wearing a mask!" according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Annoyed restaurant-goers hit back and started shouting at him to go away, at which point Jamie Atlig, the owner of the nearby Infusion Lounge, stood up and got involved in the argument as well. Liz Krieger, who was witnessing the fight unfold from within the restaurant, said the Black man shouted something about "MAGA privilege" at Atlig, who responded with "Trump 2020!" before pulling his firearm out.
The video of the harrowing incident, which has now been viewed close to 550,000 times, was uploaded on Twitter by D.J. Torney and shows one woman desperately attempting to de-escalate the situation and protect the Black man. "Put it the f*** away," she can be heard telling Atlig. "He’s doing nothing. He's doing f****** nothing. He had a f****** bike lock."
Krieger revealed that people at the restaurant were screaming, "He [the Black man] has a gun!" and that she was the one trying to convince them that it was nothing more than a bike lock. Within seconds, the altercation was over, with the bar owner putting away his gun and the still-unidentified Black man hastily picking up his bike and riding off.
Robert Gamburg, Atlig's lawyer, confirmed that it was Atlig in the video but insisted his client drew his weapon because the Black man was being "confrontational" with guests and was "engaging in threatening behavior, menacing behavior." "Mr. Atlig is licensed to carry a firearm," he told the Inquirer. "He has extensive firearm training. He’s a business owner and he was being threatened. The individual reached behind his back for an object, Mr. Atlig unholstered his licensed firearm, defused the situation, and sat back down."
Krieger disputed Gamburg's account of events and said the Black man only grabbed his bike lock after Atlig pulled out his gun. She said she wonders what would have happened if she wasn't there to intervene. "The Black man doesn’t need to be killed for this to be a story. A man had a gun pulled on him for speaking the truth," she said. "We weren’t social distancing. He was completely in the right to be yelling at us — and if I hadn’t been there, this is how black people are shot and it’s claimed later that he had a bike lock on him and people thought it was a gun. But let’s be clear: The bike lock was never pulled out."
City Councilmember Isaiah Thomas condemned the incident with the hashtag #EnoughIsEnough. "After a weekend of too much gun violence, more guns is not the answer," he wrote on Twitter. We need more solutions before we have more problems!" Philadelphia Police confirmed they were aware of the incident and that it is a "very active investigation."