Coronavirus concerns lead to man, 72, pushing another man in condo elevator

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A two-person limit that has been ordered while riding inside the elevators at the Portofino Tower in South Beach led to a 72-year-old resident pushing another man. He is now facing a charge of battery on an elderly person.

Nachum Gross’ attorney, Michael Grieco, shared surveillance video of the June 22 incident with Local 10 News on Thursday. Gross turned himself in to authorities Thursday morning and was booked into the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.

While walking out of jail Thursday afternoon, Gross put his hand up and waved reporters off, and he seemed very confused.

Grieco told the Miami Herald this week that it was outrageous to charge Gross with a crime because he and his wife have health issues, making them more at-risk of succumbing to COVID-19.

Nachum Gross. (Miami-Dade Corrections & Rehabilitation)

“The decision to arrest somebody who was protecting himself and his wife, who is also immunocompromised and over the age of 70, he went from protecting himself and his wife from COVID, to now being placed in one of the worst buildings in South Florida for purposes of contracting COVID,” Grieco told Local 10 News reporter Amy Viteri on Thursday.

Surveillance video from the day in question shows Gross and his wife getting on the elevator on the 39th floor of the building, where they live. Both were wearing face masks.

A young woman tried to hop onto the elevator on the 37th floor, but Gross waved her away and she retreated.

The video then shows the elevator doors opening on the 32nd floor and Gross is seen putting up two fingers to let a man on the other side of the door know that only two people at a time are allowed in the elevator.

The video shows the man holding up four fingers and putting up his forearm while attempting to enter the elevator.

Gross is seen putting up his forearm, as well, and extending it as the man walked forward.

The man, whose identity has not been released, stumbled backward out of the camera’s view.

Grieco told the Miami Herald that the man hit a table and sustained a bruise.

Gross is seen in the video walking out of the elevator to check on the man.

The charge against Gross is a third-degree felony and punishable by up to five years in prison.

Grieco is holding a news conference about his client’s arrest at 2 p.m. Thursday.

Statement from Portofino Towers Condominium Association

Portofino Towers has strict rules in place to protect the health, safety and welfare of its residents during the pandemic. They include a 2-person maximum capacity in elevators and a requirement that masks be worn in all public areas, including elevators. Our community’s good health during the pandemic remains our top priority.

Local 10 News Photojournalist Mario Alonso contributed to this report.

About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.