San Diego Co. Man Accused of Lewd Acts Is Arrested After Video Shows Him Attacking Journalists

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A business owner already accused of inappropriate behavior outside his La Mesa store was arrested Tuesday morning after video captured him attacking journalists, authorities said.

Peter Carzis, 76, is suspected of felony vandalism and misdemeanor battery after Monday afternoon's altercation with reporters and photographers, La Mesa Police Department confirmed to KTLA sister station KSWB in San Diego.

Video from the incident shows Carzis pushing reporters and photographers, and shouting obscenities at them. One reporter said Carzis shoved her camera equipment to the ground before pushing her.

"Carzis is accused of battering multiple reporters and causing irreparable damage to a video camera reported to be worth approximately $7,000," LMPD said.

Journalists had gathered outside the store to speak to Carzis about accusations by several residents that the shop owner sat outside his store and acted inappropriately to passersby.

A video shared online last weekend appeared to show Carzis sitting outside the shop with a woman on his lap and his hands up her shirt. A Facebook user who posted footage of the incident wrote, "This is a known mentally ill homeless woman in the area, and I'd assume he is taking advantage of her in this situation," according to a police tweet.

Authorities confirmed Carzis was suspected of misdemeanor battery and a misdemeanor lewd act in public stemming from that incident.

In another instance, a resident told KSWB that, "He pinched my stomach, grabbed my stomach and said, 'you need to lose weight.'"

She said she went home "in tears because I've never been fat-shamed like that."

Court records show a criminal case against Carzis in 2013 and two civil suits for harassment: one filed by a woman in 2013 and another by a man in 2015.

Warning: The following videos contain graphic language.

 

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