The Seattle City Attorney's office has chosen not to press charges against a white mall security guard who pepper sprayed an African-American man, Raymond Wilford, on Aug. 9.
According to the Seattle Times, a shirtless man was heckling pro-Palestinian rally demonstrators in the outdoor area of the mall. Wilford was walking past the demonstration to a Starbucks when he felt the shirtless man's spit.
Wilford turned around to confront the shirtless man, but the mall security guard yelled at both men and then pepper sprayed Wilford (video below).
Witnesses repeatedly told the security guard that he had the "wrong man," but he ignored them and took Wilford to a nearby police station. Wilford was released without charges.
"[The mall security guard] appears to have discharged the pepper spray in self-defense," Seattle City Attorney's spokesperson Kimberly Mills told TheStranger.com.
"A pedestrian apparently not involved in the protest [Wilford] confronted the suspect [the shirtless white man] and, according to the security guard, shoulder-checked [the shirtless white man] in the back and spit on him," added Mills.
Wilford responded to the news sarcastically: "Justice's been served, again. They say the law works for who it wants to."
Wilford claimed that no one from the city ever contacted him about the incident.
"I'm very disappointed," said Wilford. "I feel like I should have something to do with [the investigation], since I was the person who was assaulted."
Mills would not say who the City Attorney's office did contact, but TheStranger.com reports that the City Attorney's decision mostly relied on the security guard.
The City Attorney's office claims Wilford "directed his aggression toward the security guard by yelling profanities and advancing on him with clenched fists."
However, Alex Garland, a local photographer, took pictures that show Wilford had his arms at his side when he was pepper sprayed in the face.
"It seems that the prosecutor decided to buy the security guard’s version and to ignore my client’s version ... even under the version of events cited by the prosecutor, if it were true, the security guard would be guilty of assault," Michael Maxwell, Wilford's attorney, told TheStranger.com.
"There is a requirement of proportionality in Washington state. All Wilford did was take a half step toward the security guard with his hands at his sides. Even if Wilford was issuing profanities, that hardly warrants macing, handcuffing, and imprisoning him," added Maxwell.