An African American Seattle man walking by a pro-Palestine rally in Seattle is confused about a mall cop’s decision to pepper spray him instead of a white guy who was yelling racial slurs and harassing protesters.
Photographer Alex Garland, who photographed and videotaped the incident, said that a white shirtless man had been attempting to start fights with activists at the Saturday rally when he witnessed the security guard unload a can of mace in the face of 25-year-old Raymond Wilford, who was on his way into the Westlake Center to meet a friend.
According to Garland, our shirtless white friend yelled epithets like “towelhead” and “sand n*gger” at the peaceful protesters–and Wilford did his best to avoid the racist. “I was trying to avoid him because I heard him say a bunch of racial stuff,” Wilford told the Stranger.
Photographs of the scene show the two men squaring off in a fighting stance, but neither man hit the other, according to witnesses.
The mall’s security director says that the “incident is under investigation,” but Paul Blart: Mall Cop says that Wilford “took an aggressive step towards him he deployed his pepper spray.” However, witnesses say that Wilford did nothing wrong, and the security guard should have dealt with our shirtless white friend.
“The security guard was like, ‘Stop,'” Wilford said. “The white guy was still yelling and walking towards the security guard. I was like, ‘Why are you pointing your mace at me? He’s the one being aggressive.’ And then he pepper-sprayed me.”
“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.”
Wilford says that security has a habit of harassing people. “I don’t want to be in that area. This is not the first time. The security always harasses people. You sit down for a brief second and they’re harassing you.” One time, he says a security guard followed him into the bathroom and questioned his use of a handicap stall.
“I’ve been treated like that all my life, so it kinda brushes off,” Wilford said. “I’m from the South, I’m from New Orleans. I’ve seen the worst of it.” He added, “People here seem to be more secretive about their not liking black people, or their racism. I’m so used to it I don’t know what’s wrong and what’s right half the time.”
Watch a report on this “not-racist’s” actions, below: