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The 72-year-old man was arrested for pushing the 86-year-old out of the elevator and said he did it to protect against viruses

A 72-year-old man has been arrested for pushing an 86-year-old from an elevator at their Miami Beach complex, saying he did it to protect him and his wife from COVID-19.

72-year-old Nachem Gross is charged with an aggravated battery of an older person after surveillance footage showed him pushing Gerald Steiglitz, 86, from an elevator in the flat of the Portofino tower.

But Gross has defended his actions, claiming he tried to protect himself from coronavirus in accordance with the building’s social distance rules that only allow two people on the elevators at a time.

A 72-year-old man has been arrested for pushing an 86-year-old from an elevator at their Miami Beach complex and said he did it to protect him and his wife from COVID-19

A 72-year-old man has been arrested for pushing an 86-year-old from an elevator at their Miami Beach complex and said he did it to protect him and his wife from COVID-19

Surveillance footage from the June 22 incident shows the elevator door opening and Steiglitz trying to enter.

Gross, who is already inside with his wife, raises two fingers in what appears to be a gesture about the social distance rules that only allow two people into space at a time.

Steiglitz, who wears a face mask like Gross, continues to make his way to the elevator and is pushed back by Gross.

Steiglitz falls backwards from the camera and Gross then steps out of the elevator behind him.

The alleged victim said that he still had a bruise on his thigh a few days after the incident.

He told NBC Miami that the two men had been friendly to each other before the fight.

72-year-old Nachem Gross (bottom right) is accused of an aggravated battery of an older person after surveillance footage revealed that he pushed 86-year-old Gerald Steiglitz (top right) out of an elevator in the flat of the Portofino tower.  Gross seen is seen with two fingers up in what appears to be a gesture over social distance rules that only allow two people into space at a time

72-year-old Nachem Gross (bottom right) is accused of an aggravated battery of an older person after surveillance footage revealed that he pushed 86-year-old Gerald Steiglitz (top right) out of an elevator in the flat of the Portofino tower.  Gross seen is seen with two fingers up in what appears to be a gesture over social distance rules that only allow two people into space at a time

72-year-old Nachem Gross (bottom right) is accused of an aggravated battery of an older person after surveillance footage revealed that he pushed 86-year-old Gerald Steiglitz (top right) out of an elevator in the flat of the Portofino tower. Gross seen is seen with two fingers up in what appears to be a gesture over social distance rules that only allow two people into space at a time

Steiglitz, who wears a face mask like Gross, continues to make his way to the lift and is pushed back by Gross

Steiglitz, who wears a face mask like Gross, continues to make his way to the lift and is pushed back by Gross

Steiglitz, who wears a face mask like Gross, continues to make his way to the lift and is pushed back by Gross

“I saw him earlier in the building, in the pool and the elevators. We were always friendly, hello, and that was it. But he could have said to me, “Go down, take the next one,” said Steiglitz.

“He pushed me out. I’m not looking for a financial reward. I’m not looking for anything. ‘

Gross reported to the Miami Beach police at around 9:00 AM. Thursday to face the charges against him.

NBC Miami footage shows the older man arriving at the Miami-Dade Corrections Center in the back of a police car where he was booked.

He has since placed a bond and was released.

Gross’s lawyer, Michael Grieco, calls for the charges against him to be dropped, saying it was a “stand-alone” case where the older man protected himself and his wife from the risks of contracting coronavirus.

Grieco said the condo association where the two men live had recently ordered that no more than two people can ride the elevator at the same time to limit the spread of the deadly virus.

NBC Miami footage shows Gross arriving at the Miami-Dade Corrections Center in the back of a police car where he was booked

NBC Miami footage shows Gross arriving at the Miami-Dade Corrections Center in the back of a police car where he was booked

NBC Miami footage shows Gross arriving at the Miami-Dade Corrections Center in the back of a police car where he was booked

The Portofino Tower condominium where the feud took place.  Gross has defended his actions, claiming that he tried to protect himself from coronavirus in accordance with the building's social distance rules that only allow two people on the elevators at a time.

The Portofino Tower condominium where the feud took place.  Gross has defended his actions, claiming that he tried to protect himself from coronavirus in accordance with the building's social distance rules that only allow two people on the elevators at a time.

The Portofino Tower condominium where the feud took place. Gross has defended his actions, claiming that he tried to protect himself from coronavirus in accordance with the building’s social distance rules that only allow two people on the elevators at a time.

Miami-Dade County has no specific emergency calls around the number of people who can occupy elevators at the same time and has left it up to individual facilities to set rules.

Grieco also said that both Gross and his wife have pre-existing health problems that make them particularly vulnerable to the virus.

“Law enforcement officers made a big mistake today in arresting someone for essentially protecting himself. In this COVID world, every person is currently a loaded weapon, “said Grieco NBC Miami.

Gross’s lawyer has also accused law enforcement officers of taking the older man to prison – environments known as hotbeds for COVID-19 because of their tight circumstances.

“The decision to arrest Mr. Gross is ridiculous. It is definitely a ridiculous decision to make, “said Grieco.

They decide to handcuff a 72-year-old man who already has health risks and put him in Miami-Dade prison. It is a terrible decision. It goes beyond bad optics. What happens if my client falls ill? ‘

People relax in Miami Beach on Thursdays.  Miami-Dade County reported another 2,304 cases of coronavirus, bringing the total to 40,265 - the highest number of all Florida counties

People relax in Miami Beach on Thursdays.  Miami-Dade County reported another 2,304 cases of coronavirus, bringing the total to 40,265 - the highest number of all Florida counties

People relax in Miami Beach on Thursdays. Miami-Dade County reported another 2,304 cases of coronavirus, bringing the total to 40,265 – the highest number of all Florida counties

Miami Beach was busy on Thursday for the July 4 celebrations this weekend.  Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced that he will be imposing a provincial curfew on Friday in desperate attempts to slow the budding outbreak across the province

Miami Beach was busy on Thursday for the July 4 celebrations this weekend.  Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced that he will be imposing a provincial curfew on Friday in desperate attempts to slow the budding outbreak across the province

Miami Beach was busy on Thursday for the July 4 celebrations this weekend. Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced that he will be imposing a provincial curfew on Friday in desperate attempts to slow the budding outbreak across the province

Fears are mounting that Florida is on track to become the new epicenter for viruses, as daily infections have skyrocketed in recent weeks.

The state health department registered 10,109 daily cases on Thursday – marking a new one-day record and pushing the number of confirmed cases up to 169,106.

Miami-Dade County also reported another 2,304 cases, bringing the total to 40,265 – the highest number of any county in the state.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced that he will be imposing a curfew on Friday in desperate attempts to slow the budding outbreak.

The curfew runs from 10 pm to 6 am and lasts indefinitely.

Gimenez also expanded the order for face masks in public, mandating that people now wear them outdoors, even if social distance can be maintained.

Coronavirus cases are increasing rapidly in the United States, with a record 52,000 new COVID-19 in the past 24 hours alone, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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