Last updated at 9:40 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 11
Last week, downtown Anchorage business owners spoke out about rowdy behavior outside Brown Bag Sandwich Co.’s bar, and Russ Reno, owner of Anchorage Downtown TourGroup, provided some shocking surveillance video. The footage showed men and women peeing all over the sidewalk, vomiting, littering and even a violent assault.
Reno reached out to KTVA again over the weekend when he was shocked to see that after the report aired, a man shown in the initial footage came back and peed on his storefront while smiling and looking at the camera.
Reno said it appeared to him to be an act of retaliation and an attempt to intimidate him. Disheartened with the young man’s actions, he contacted KTVA and the Anchorage Police Department and put up posters. Then Monday, something he never expected happened.
“I couldn’t even talk because of the fact that it was really just kind of overwhelming,” he said.
The young man from the footage came back, only this time in uniform. As it turns out, he’s a soldier stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, and his superiors recognized him on television, prompting his commander to march him downtown to apologize to Reno and others on Third Avenue.
Reno said the soldier, who JBER has identified as U.S. Army Pvt. Maurice Payne, said, “basically that he was wrong and that it’s not the way that he should represent himself and that it would never ever happen again.”
“This is not the way you act, I don’t care if you’re in the military or not, you know, you just don’t act this way,” Reno said, adding that he feels relieved, and is thankful JBER leaders are doing the right thing.
It might not be the last apology Reno gets, as Payne and his commander recognized other JBER soldiers in the surveillance video.
Payne got a valuable lesson in integrity. His commander said he would take him to APD next, where he could be cited for public excretion and fined $150.
In an email to KTVA Tuesday afternoon, JBER Army media relations chief John Pennell wrote:
“We expect all our Soldiers to be good ambassadors at all times, whether on the installation or in the civilian community. Obviously the actions displayed in this video do not depict how we expect our Soldiers to behave in any circumstance. This type of behavior will not be tolerated. The Soldier’s actions were brought to the attention of his chain of command. Once informed, the chain of command took action. This apology was a part of his corrective training. Any additional punishment cannot be disclosed.”
Pennell went on to say, “We value our relationship with the people, businesses and government of the Municipality of Anchorage and will do all we can going forward to ensure this type of behavior is the exception, not the rule.”
Pennell said at this time, Payne is the only soldier facing corrective training for actions captured by Reno’s security cameras. Pennell wasn’t able to on whether Payne actually went to APD Monday. APD said they have no record of a citation being issued for Payne.
KTVA has reached out to Brown Bag several times for comment regarding complaints from neighboring businesses, with no success. Late Tuesday evening, Brown Bag owners e-mailed KTVA a 10-minute video in response to recent stories.