Man caught on camera spitting on elevator buttons apologizes, says he was angry at strata council
VANCOUVER -- A man who was caught spitting on his condo building's elevator buttons has released an apology via his lawyer, saying the motivation for his action was a dispute with the building's strata council.
Video of the spitting incident was posted on social media by building resident Marie Hui, who previously spoke to CTV News Vancouver about the distress and disgust the incident caused in the building.
On Sunday, Hui said she is glad that the man apologized but she's still frustrated that he won't face greater consequences than a possible fine from the building's strata council.
"I don't think it's fair for the rest of us because we all have to continue living with him because he owns a unit here," said Hui, who rents a unit in the building.
The public apology was sent to CTV News via Vancouver lawyer Richard Fowler, who said his client "will remain unnamed."
In the apology, the man is quoted as saying "the incident occurred as a result of a momentary fit of anger resulting from an ongoing dispute with the strata council in the building where I own a unit."
The condo building in question, the Meccanica at 108 East 1st Ave., is near Olympic Village and was built in 2014.
"I am employed, have never had any issues with law enforcement and am otherwise a good, law-abiding citizen. I can't explain my own actions in this situation," the man said in his written apology.
He said he wishes to apologize both to residents of the building as well as the general public and adds he will be seeking professional counselling and intends to make a donation to the strata council "to more than cover the cost of extra sanitation required."
The man also says the incident occurred eight days ago and that he has no symptoms of COVID-19. He adds: "I have been keeping my distance from others as required."
But Hui said just because the man was not showing symptoms does not mean he could not be a carrier for the novel coronavirus. In recent weeks, health officials across North America have issued new guidance for the public to consider wearing a face mask to help keep their germs from spreading, as more is learned about how asymptomatic people can spread the virus.
"There are some older folks who live here. What if they touch it and he has the virus and they pass away because of what he did?" Hui said.
"There are lots of stories about what other people are doing in other parts of the world, about people spreading their germs and getting charged with terrorism or other things, while here in Vancouver the police can't do anything."
Hui obtained the elevator security footage from a friend who passed it on to her out of concern for residents' safety. She said she initially made a report to Vancouver police about the incident but was told there was nothing police could do.
But then on Sunday morning, Hui said she got another call from a police officer who asked for more information about the man and which unit he owns -- information Hui said she doesn't have because she doesn't know the man.
"They said they could have an officer go up there and talk to him and ask him why he did it," Hui said.
Fowler, the man's lawyer, said whether or not there would be any criminal charges is up to police.
"I know that there have been other incidents in the news where people direct their saliva at people and that certainly can be considered an assault," he told CTV News Vancouver.
Fowler said the man is truly remorseful and wants his neighbours to know this was not something he's ever done before or would ever do again.
"It is a sincere apology, and I can assure everybody that he is not taking this lightly at all," Fowler said.
CTV News attempted to reach out to other building residents and contact members of the strata council, but did not immediately receive a response.