PASO ROBLES, California (KSEE/KGPE) — A heated confrontation between an anti-masker and a Fresno councilmember was caught on camera at Barrelhouse Brewery in Paso Robles on Sunday.
Activist Benjamin Martin and Councilmember Miguel Arias never met in person before this weekend and when they did, things quickly turned ugly.
“You are worthless, and you don’t do your job right,” yelled Martin in the video. “You are a horrible (expletive) person. Seriously.”
“Have a good day, brother,” said Arias in the video as Martin walked away.
“Seriously you are garbage,” said Martin.
“It is clear to me that he is not interested in respectful dialogue,” said Arias in an interview. “He is interested in engaging in vulgar, aggressive dialogue, and threatening exchanges.”
Arias, who is fully vaccinated, said he was at the brewery celebrating his birthday.
Martin claims Arias was walking around maskless and he said he went to introduce himself to the councilmember.
“He cussed at me,” said Martin. “I said, ‘Really you are not gonna shake my hand?’ and he says, ‘No, I am not going to shake your hand.’ So, I said ‘In that case, let me tell you what I think.”
“You are garbage,” Martin yelled in the video. “You are one of the worst humans on the planet.”
Arias denied Martin’s accusations and said the only time he was without a mask was when he was at the table eating.
Outdoor dining is allowed in both Fresno and San Luis Obispo counties under the state COVID-19 guidelines.
“There doesn’t seem to be a rational reasoning for someone to have that rage, anger, and aggression towards someone that is doing something legally allowable,” said Arias.
Martin does not regret the confrontations and said he was sticking up for businesses and residents across Fresno.
“I don’t regret it at all,” said Martin. “Every business owner in Fresno is frustrated. Every person who hasn’t been able to work is frustrated. Yeah, I was frustrated. I am frustrated because what they are doing smells of political agenda and not what is best with the people.”
Arias said he filed a report with the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s office online and is considering a restraining order against Martin.
Martin said he also called the Sheriff’s office to give his side of the story.
Martin does not live in Fresno County and does have a restraining order against him from an anti-mask protest at Sprouts Farmers Market a couple of months ago.