Macing Incident at State Street Hamburger Restaurant Causes Controversy

A video of a pepper-spray incident at the Habit on State Street has generated uproar from internet users.

The minute-long video, taken from a livestream, shows Josh Podliska talking to a group of diners at the Habit, with a person Podliska calls a “YouTuber” asking him to “get the fuck out of here, dude” as he pours a drink on him. Podliska moves to confront the diner, spraying mace on him twice as children and other bystanders watch.

Podliska is just one of many young adults who have latched onto the phenomenon of streaming live video of their day-to-day lives, provoking seeming bystanders to elicit a reaction. In previous livestreams, Podliska has agitated protesters walking with the March for Our Lives, and he has filmed walks down State Street. On Reddit, users have called for law enforcement to arrest him.

In the State of California, pepper spray may only be used in self-defense, and the response is mixed on whether the argument or drink-throwing necessitates tear gas usage. No one has pressed charges, according to Lt. Ed Olsen of the Santa Barbara Police Department.

“To date we have not received a report from the apparent victim nor any of the bystanders that might have been exposed to the chemical agent,” Olsen told the Independent.

Podliska also made a post on Reddit on /r/Ice_Poseidon, a subreddit dedicated to streamer Paul Denino, a YouTuber who was “swatted” when law enforcement responded to a false threat of violence called in under his name. In it, Podliska apologized to viewers, saying that he should not have escalated the argument, while defending “his rights to use mace on the man after he threw soda on me.”

The livestreamer apparently attended San Marcos High School last year, according to an article on eSports from the school newspaper, The King’s Page. It is undetermined if Podliska still attends San Marcos. He did not respond for comment.

“I chose the wrong place to use it at with families around and other innocent bystanders,” Podliska wrote in the Reddit post. “My actions were inexcusable yesterday and show that I have a lot of room to mature and grow as a person and streamer.”


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