RACE-BASED ATTACK

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RACE-BASED ATTACK

When Raymond went to Seattle’s Westlake Plaza to meet a friend for lunch, he happened upon a demonstration protesting United States policies in Israel. A white pro-Israel supporter took off his shirt and was yelling at the protestors, challenging them to a fistfight. As Raymond, who is African-American, attempted to walk past the belligerent man, he was spat upon and tripped. Initially fearing an attack on his person Raymond prepared to defend himself, but then thought better of it and began to walk away.

A private security guard employed by Westlake Mall witnessed the interaction between the belligerent white man and Raymond. While still on a public sidewalk, the security guard pointed his pepper spray canister at Raymond and ordered him to stop. Raymond complied, but the security guard sprayed Raymond in the face with mace anyway, then handcuffed him and took him against his will into a security room inside Westlake Mall. While there, Raymond was forced roughly into a chair while handcuffed, resulting in a torn ligament in his wrist. The security guard held Raymond against his will for about 20 minutes before deciding to let him go.

Several professional photographers were at the scene, and there later appeared many high-quality photos and videos on the internet showing the security guard’s assault on Raymond.

After Raymond asked Maxwell Graham to represent him for his injuries, Maxwell Graham filed suit claiming that the security guard’s attack on Raymond had been racially motivated. Maxwell Graham retained several experts to testify both to Raymond’s wrist injury (which later required surgery) and to the stress and trauma suffered by African-Americans who are targeted solely on the basis of their race while in public places.

The security guard’s employer, the largest private security company in America, filed a motion to dismiss all the claims related to racial discrimination. Maxwell Graham was able to defeat this motion with affidavits from witnesses who testified that there was no reason for the security guard to attack Raymond, and that it appeared that the security guard ignored the belligerent white man and went after Raymond for his race and no other reason. Based on these declarations, the judge denied the motion to dismiss the race claims.

Following this, the security company decided to settle the case rather than try to justify to a jury why its security guard initiated this vicious attack on Raymond. The settlement amount remains confidential, but Raymond is satisfied with the outcome.

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