A bartender received extensive injuries after trying to de-escalate a dispute over face masks at a bar in San Diego, and the assault was caught on security video.
Tony Aversa told KTTV-TV that the dispute arose when a group who weren't wearing masks grew angry that they weren't allowed to enter the 710 Beach Club in Pacific Beach over the Labor Day weekend.
The doorman refused them entry because they violated the city's face mask restrictions to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Aversa, who is also a manager of the bar, went over to help the doorman when someone ran at him and sucker punched him.
"I immediately knew my nose was broken," Aversa told KTTV.
"I could hear it pop," he added. "I kind of went black for a second. I immediately felt blood gushing out of my nose all over the cement, all over my hands."
Bystanders said that the assailant got into a car and fled after the assault.
Aversa went to the emergency room over his injuries, which included a collapsed nasal cavity, a broken nose and broken sinus cavity in his cheek. He will need surgery and will likely miss work for at least a month during recovery.
He also worries about the safety of returning to his job.
"Definitely now is something that is always going to be on my mind," Aversa said.
"I've been in the bar industry for almost a decade at this point," he added, "and I've seen plenty of bar fights, stuff like that, but as far as a clean completely unknowing sucker punch, that is the first time something like that has happened to me."
He claims that aggressive incidents about the face mask regulations have increased as time goes on.
"As people have gotten comfortable feeling normal again," he said, "they've started pushing boundaries and challenging rules and I feel like the amount of incidents, complaints and unruly customers kept growing and growing and growing as we've been open longer."
Police are looking for the man they describe as 6-foot-2, weighting 260 pounds with curly brown hair. A GoFundMe campaign has been set up for donations to help Aversa with his medical expenses.
[embedded content] Pacific Beach bartender says he was assaulted for asking customer to wear mask www.youtube.com