An investigation has been launched following a concerning incident that left a Black cyclist with a gun pointed at him by a Philadelphia bar owner. The encounter took place on Sunday and was caught on camera. Eyewitness accounts say the shocking exchange was sparked over social distancing concerns.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, a Black man on a bike was riding through the Old City section of Philadelphia when he saw restaurant-goers eating outside, not wearing masks or social distancing. The man called the public infractions out, and in response, people began shouting at him to go away.
The exchange would have likely remained calm, but Jamie Atlig, the owner of nearby Infusion Lounge, was sitting nearby and stood up in a manner that suggested he wanted to fight the cyclist. Two women who witnessed it rushed to defuse the situation. The women told the Inquirer that the men started firing off political banter with the cyclist shouting “MAGA privilege” and Altig responding “Trump 2020.” A moment later Altig pulled out a gun and began pointing it at the Black cyclist. In defense, the biker pulled out his bike lock.
Atlig is said to have quickly put his gun away but restaurant-goers at the scene were clearly shaken.
Video of the encounter was tweeted out on Monday with the caption “This happened yesterday on 2nd ST in Old City Philly WHERE I WORK!! My friend Liz, the blonde in front of the man with the gun, was standing up for the young black man who only had A BIKE LOCK!!! We need answers!!” Local news stations were also tagged.
Atlig’s attorney told reporters that his client was, in fact, the man seen in the video. He added that Altig felt threatened by the man’s “threatening” and “menacing behavior.” A police spokesperson told the Inquirer that it’s “a very active investigation at this point.”