Efforts to social distance in an elevator recently led to a confrontation between two elderly South Florida men.
Surveillance video shows 72-year-old Nachum Gross appearing to push another senior who was trying to enter the elevator.
Gross is now charged with battery on a person 65 or older.
However, his attorney says he was simply defending himself.
“In this world of COVID… every human being right now is a loaded weapon,” explains Michael Grieco, the attorney representing Gross. “There was no unlawful touching. He was completely within his rights to defend himself and defend his wife.”
The video was captured on June 22 at Portofino Towers in Miami Beach.
The building is practicing social distancing by limiting elevator capacity to two people at a time.
The video shows Gross and his wife in the elevator. A man tries to enter as the elevator door opens on the 32nd floor.
At that point, Gross holds up two fingers, referring to the two-person limit, but the man still tries to come into the elevator.
Gross pushes back, sending the other man, identified as 86-year-old Gerald Steiglitz, stumbling back.
“He was aggressive and he shouldn’t have been aggressive,” Steiglitz claims.
Steiglitz says when he tried to get on the elevator, he thought his neighbor of more than 20 years was just saying hello.
“I thought this was peace,” he adds. “I didn’t know what it meant.”
“He thought this was peace and he give him the elbow to say hello and you see Gerry is smiling, but then he pushed him,” explains Salome Steiglitz, Gerald’s wife. “He pushed so hard that he came out of the elevator.”
Steiglitz ended up with a bruise from hitting the corner of a table.
“I was all black and blue on the back side,” he says.
Soon thereafter, Steiglitz went to the police.
That led to Gross surrendering at the Miami Beach Police Department and being booked into jail last week.
He posted bond several hours later.
“This is a self defense case through and through,” Greico says. “This thing is ridiculous and I don’t see any scenario where the state attorney could ever file this.”
Portofino Towers released a statement, saying they have strict rules regarding social distancing and they limit the elevators to only two people at a time.