Pepper spray incident

Posted on March 3rd, 2016 by Sara


By reporter Steven Smalley

An act of assault alleged in a complaint by Andrew Harris, a long-time employee of Magnolia 76 in the Village, got police involved Wednesday morning following a confrontation with a Central Protection security officer.
While Harris was sitting in his car around 11 a.m. just off Commodore Way, James Toomey, a security officer in his Central Protection vehicle, pulled up to Harris?s car and began pounding on the window, according to Harris.
?He said I was parked illegally, I was going to jail, and I was a criminal,? Harris alleges. ?I was doing nothing wrong, my car is legal. I was parked legally. I was licensed. I told him I felt I was being harassed for no reason.?
The trouble really began, Harris says, when he asked the security officer if he could ?record the conversation? with his phone.
After receiving the okay to record, Harris says, ?He slapped the phone out of my hand. The phone fell on the ground and shattered. I got down on my hands and knees to pick up my phone that was under the car, and he took out a can of pepper spray and started spraying me in the face with it. He chased me back to my car where he sprayed me seven or eight times. He handcuffed me and took me back to his SUV.?
The Fire Department arrived and washed off his face and rinsed out his eyes.
That?s just the beginning of the sticky part, according to Harris.
?He told me he was going to lie to the police,? he alleges. ?He said he was going to lie to the police and say I assaulted him.?
Seattle Police were eventually dispatched, which in turn got a supervisor called to the scene, followed by the on-duty sergeant, according to Harris.
Reports from Seattle Police were not available at this writing. No independent confirmation of this incident could be obtained. Magnolia Patrol Association (MPA), the local organization which contracts security services from Central Protection, was informed.
?I did receive the [Central Protection] report and all I can tell you is it?s a different version of what happened,? says MPA?s Joe Villarino. ?There?s no witnesses, so that?s why I think [Seattle Police Department] decided to forward the report to the prosecutors about [Harris?s] version of being pepper sprayed and handcuffed. Our policy is ?observe and report.? Our understanding is that [Toomey] observed and reported and then called the police.?
Calls and messages to Central Protection were not returned.
Harris wasn?t through with his story.
?Apparently, the police officers wanted to arrest the security guard. The officer said [the security guard] hit your phone so hard it flew all the way under his car to the other side,? Harris said. ?Everybody had seen the phone on the ground. Then [the security guard] left in his SUV, and my phone was gone.?
No one has seen the phone since.
?Honestly, I?ve always felt very safe in Magnolia,? Harris says. ?I felt afraid. It was the first time. I felt afraid in this neighborhood, and it doesn?t feel good. It makes me feel sad.?

Andrew Harris (left) and KIRO 7 news reporter Alison Grande

Andrew Harris (left) and KIRO 7 news reporter Alison Grande

Harris tells his side of the story

Harris tells his side of the story


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