At a rally against Israel's bombing of Gaza over the weekend in Seattle, a shirtless man allegedly harassed protesters, yelled, picked fights, and used words like "towelhead." When a security guard was called to the scene, however, he ignored this alleged instigator, macing and detaining a black bystander instead.

Raymond Wilford, 25, told The Stranger he came to Seattle's Westlake Mall to meet some friends, and attempted to avoid the shirtless man on his way in because he "heard him say a bunch of racial stuff." According to a police report, the man then "started a fight" with Wilford, which witnesses say didn't come to blows.

A photo set from Alex Garland, a freelance photographer, documents the incident in part. The shirtless guy—whose name isn't known—is seen looking angry, getting into the faces of several protesters and assuming what looks like a "ready-to-fight stance," legs apart, fists up. It's clear that the man and Wilford get into an altercation of some kind, and when the guard steps in, he seems to ignore the shirtless man in favor of blasting Wilford with mace.


Video, also from Garland, shows the guard detaining Wilford as several protesters shout at him that he has the wrong person. Witnesses told the Stranger that the white guy was the clear aggressor, and a Seattle policeman wrote in his report that he'd been told a man with no shirt "was causing a disturbance and 'picking a fight' with the protesters." And yet the mall cop maced Wilford. I wonder why?


[Photo via Alex Garland]