*When a mall cop was called to the scene of an anti-Israel protest at a Seattle shopping center, he was told to look for a shirtless man. As it turns out, the man had been a nuisance at the rally – hurling racial slurs at everyone who did not look like him i. e. Caucasian.
When a young black man entered the scene, trying to anonymously walk through the crowd on the way to meet a friend, the shirtless guy starts yelling the slurs at him. But now the mall cop shows up and according to witnesses, maced the victim of the racial slurs and let the racist go on his way without question.
Freelance photographer Alex Garland took a series of photos where a shirtless man is shown screaming at anti-Israel protesters, running around the crowd, and being aggressive towards people. Witnesses also say the man was yelling obscenities and racial slurs and in at least one instance he called someone a “towelhead.”
Things hot heated when Raymond Wilford, a 25-year-old African American man, attempted to pass through the demonstration to meet some friends in the mall. He was almost at his destination when the shirtless agitator allegedly yelled something racist at him.
Wilford told The Stranger:
“I was trying to avoid him because I heard him say a bunch of racial stuff,” says Wilford, interviewed by phone from his home in South Seattle.
Unable to avoid the man, Wilford ended up in a heated dispute with him – and at one point, nearly punches the man, but instead drops his fists. Soon after the altercation begins the mall cop arrives to break them up. From the pictures taken by Garland (you can find the whole series here), it’s clear who the cop has a problem with. He confronts Wilford and pulls out his can of mace. Not once does he talk to the shirtless man who had been causing so much trouble throughout the day. Instead, he fires the can into Wilford’s face pointblank.
According to Wilford:
“I think he’s real bad at analyzing the situation,” Wilford says. “He said he got a call for a white guy for his shirt off. He should have paid attention to that person. I don’t want to say it’s a race thing or anything. But his attention was straight on me. He never looked at him. After he sprayed me, he lied to me and said he sprayed both of us.”
The shirtless guy simply walks away.
Of course this doesn’t go well with the crowd, who starts yelling at the mall cop for clearly macing the wrong guy. A video was taken shortly after the macing incident which reveals how poorly the officer (and later the actual cops) handle the situation.
The video shows Wilford’s face covered in orange mace, and the officer even tries, unsuccessfully, to throw him to the ground. Protesters can be heard pleading with the officer to let the man go and find the shirtless guy instead. Instead, the officer drags Wilford away from the protest.
At several points in the video, people are obviously in support of Wilford, offering water bottles so he can wash the mace off of his face, but the officer pushes them away. A Seattle police officer who arrives at the scene begins screaming at protesters to “let the man do his job.” Several minutes pass and Wilford still hasn’t been allowed to wash out his eyes.
According to the Seattle police department, Wilford was eventually given medical attention and released. Now, to add insult to injury, they say they are checking to see if the mall cop violated any standing policy for his behavior.
Still, no sign of the shirtless guy – the person who started the whole thing.
Watch the video below: