Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clearwater barber accused of beating up customer

CLEARWATER — Both the barber and his customer agree that their Saturday altercation started over price haggling, but the two tell different stories about what happened next.

Raymond M. Stewart, 36, who owns Trend Citi Fades, was arrested Sunday on a charge of felony battery after, police said, he attacked a customer who wanted a deal on two haircuts.

But Stewart said Monday that he never attacked anyone and that it was his customer, 25-year-old Quazi Rahman, who was out of control.

According to the Clearwater police arrest report, Stewart put Rahman in a headlock and punched him in the face and head after the pricing argument.

Rahman said Monday that he and a friend went to Stewart's barbershop to get their hair cut about 2 p.m. Saturday. Rahman said he's a regular customer who has been coming to the shop about twice a month for the last six months.

Before any cutting took place, Rahman asked Stewart if he would cut both men's hair for $20 and he would pay him the rest later. When Stewart said no, Rahman told him he would find a new barber, Rahman said.

That's when Stewart got angry and began punching him, Rahman said, adding that his friend intervened.

Rahman said the attack left him with a bloodied face and a black eye.

"I'm never going back there," he said.

But Stewart said that's not what happened and that both the police and Rahman have their facts wrong.

Stewart said Rahman had been in only three or so times and that he generally charged him $15 for a haircut. When Rahman came in with his friend and asked that Stewart give them both haircuts for $20 total, Stewart said he couldn't do it.

Rahman then cursed him and Stewart asked him to leave, Stewart said Monday. Rahman went outside and started banging on the glass front window and door, Stewart said. When Stewart went outside to confront Rahman, "He grabs me by my shirt, starts cursing and starts to swing on me," Stewart said.

Stewart said he never hit Rahman. Rahman's nose was bloodied by his own hand as Stewart struggled to get the man off of him, Stewart said.

"I was defending myself and trying to get him away from me," he said.

Stewart acknowledged he has previously been arrested for battery. In 2001, he was sentenced to a year in jail with four years' probation on a 1999 felony battery charge.

Today, he said he's a hardworking businessman trying to make a go of his 8-month-old barbershop.

"You don't know what I have been through to make sure nothing like this affects my environment," he said.

Stewart said he has witnesses that have not yet been interviewed by police. The incident happened closer to 12:30 p.m., Stewart said, and the police report lists the wrong address. Stewart's business is at 1421 S Missouri Ave., Suite A, but the report lists 1358 S Missouri Ave., which houses another, unrelated barbershop.

Stewart was released from the Pinellas County Jail on Sunday night after posting $10,000 bail.

Stewart said he fears the arrest could damage his business and more importantly, his reputation.

"The only thing I have to stand on is my credibility," he said.

Clearwater barber accused of beating up customer 08/31/09 [Last modified: Monday, August 31, 2009 8:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trial begins in 2014 death of 19-month-old Tampa girl


    TAMPA — Even before his trial officially began, Deandre Gilmore had planted his gaze on the floor of Judge Samantha Ward's courtroom Monday, taking a deep breath and shifting in his seat as a pool of 60 potential jurors learned of his charges.

    Deandre Gilmore is charged in the death of his girlfriend's 19-month-old daughter. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Rick Pitino officially fired by Louisville amid federal corruption probe


    In an expected move, the University of Louisville Athletic Association's Board of Directors on Monday voted unanimously to fire men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. The decision came 19 days after Louisville acknowledged that its men's basketball program was being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe and …

    In this Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino reacts to a question during a press conference in Louisville, Ky. Louisville's Athletic Association on Monday officially fired Pitino, nearly three weeks after the school acknowledged that its men's basketball program is being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe. [AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File]
  3. Editorial: Trump uses Americans' health care as bargaining chip


    Unable to persuade Congress to kill the Affordable Care Act, President Donald Trump appears determined to do the dirty work himself. The president's unilateral actions are aimed at driving up premiums, steering healthy people away from the federal marketplace and ensuring his inaccurate description of the law as a …

    Unable to persuade Congress to kill the Affordable Care Act, President Donald Trump appears determined to do the dirty work himself.
  4. Port Richey fire chief charged with DUI, hitting a cop in the face


    PORT RICHEY — The Port Richey fire chief crashed a motorcycle, showed signs of impairment and hit a New Port Richey police officer in the face after being taken to the hospital Sunday night, according to a police report.

    A screenshot from the web site of Little Corona's Cigar Lounge, owned by Port Richey Fire Chief Timothy Fussell, who was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and battery on a law enforcement officer Sunday night.
  5. Trump: Cuba 'is responsible' for attacks on U.S. personnel


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he believes Cuba "is responsible" for attacks on American government personnel in Havana.

    President Donald Trump answers questions as he speaks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., in the rose Garden after their meeting at the White House, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, in Washington. [Associated Press]