A small San Francisco business owner is nursing a black eye after he dared to ask someone to stop urinating in front of his Haight-Ashbury eatery.
Peterson Harter has been serving up New Orleans-style sandwiches, called “muffulettas,” on famed Haight Street since he opened Sandy’s in April.
At around 5 p.m. on Wednesday, the restaurateur says he heard a ruckus outside involving his employee, Sophia Crosetti. Upon investigating, he says he encountered a “belligerent” beer-toting man urinating in front of his establishment.
(Video: YouTube, ABC7 News)
“I’m not willing to just let someone start urinating in the middle of the street, walking belligerent with a beer in his hand,” Harter told Fox 2. “That’s just not the right behavior for this city.”
Harter shouted at the man, who allegedly responded by slugging him in the face, leaving him with a blackened eye and a cut on his forehead.
“I was literally closing the security gate, and the next thing I know, I just got punched,” he said. “Didn’t even see it coming.”
Speaking with ABC7 News, Harter expressed his frustration further.
“He just walked away and I think that’s going to be a thing that scars me. It’s the fact that he just walked off, like no consequences,” he told the outlet.
But despite the alleged assault, the shop owner says his anger has subsided, and he is grateful for the opportunity to have a conversation about the problems plaguing San Francisco.
“If it takes getting punched in the face to be able to have this conversation and talk about it and bring it to light, then it was worth it,” Harter told Fox 2. “I’m still frustrated, but I am still optimistic. That’s just who I am.”
Crosetti said staffers at Sandy’s had never seen the suspect in the area before the incident.
“It’s scary that someone all of a sudden resorts to violence like that,” she said. “And it’s not representative of this community.”
Harter said he doesn’t want to see the man, who he says appeared to be intoxicated, locked up. He’d like him to be found so that he can make amends to that community.
“I don’t want him to go to jail,” he said. “I want him to go do 100 hours of community service, cleaning up the streets in Haight Street.”
Though he’s not sure what needs to happen to turn San Francisco around, he does believe people need to be held accountable for their actions.
“I’m hopeful that this place will turn around. I think it could be one of the greatest cities in the world,” Harter said. “I think it has the ability to get there, but, right now, it’s not.”
Both Harter and Crosetti live in the neighborhood, and they say they aren’t going anywhere — a welcomed bit of news to the customers who flooded the shop to show their support.
“I don’t want someone like him to close down his shop or feel like he can’t run a business here,” customer Mark Mastrangelo told Fox 2.
Police did respond quickly to the incident, Harter said, but as of this report, no arrests have been made.
The owner did manage to snap a picture of the man as he walked away.
“The shop owner described the suspect as 5’10” to 6-feet tall, 170 pounds, dark hair with neck tattoos,” Fox 2 reports. “He wore jeans with purple paint splatter.”
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