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Buffalo fracas goes viral: Why was black customer arrested but not white security guard?

The five-minute video on Facebook has been viewed nearly half a million times: A white security guard and a black man are seen arguing inside a Tim Hortons in the Liberty Building in downtown Buffalo, and then they start physically fighting.

Many who saw the video on Facebook questioned why the black man was the one who was arrested.

Now, Buffalo police have watched the full video, and they say they're not finished with the case.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood said Monday that the officers involved in the arrest said they were shown a portion of the video before arresting the customer, Daryl Mingo, 53. They have since seen the full video and officials are "looking into it," Lockwood said.

Mingo was charged with a misdemeanor count of third-degree assault and violations of trespassing and second-degree harassment.

No charges have been filed against the unidentified guard, who was not working for Tim Hortons and may work at the building.

More than 2,000 people commented on Facebook about the altercation, and many, if not most, questioned the role of race in the outcome.

"Why is it that the black man is always the one that is put in handcuffs," one commenter asked.

"Why weren’t they both put in handcuffs???" another posted.

"Wow really, they just come in and take the black man ... no question," another said.

The police officer identified as the arresting officer on the documents is Officer Eric A. Augustyn. It's not clear if he is the same one seen in the video.

Here's what's known.

The incident took place at about 8:30 a.m. July 19 in the Tim Hortons at the Liberty Building on Main Street at Court Street, according to police records of the arrest.

The arrest report said that an unnamed security guard accused Mingo of injuring him by pushing and punching him, leaving him with "substantial pain, swelling and bleeding to his mouth area." The guard also told police that Mingo harassed, annoyed and alarmed him by pushing and punching him.

The video shows a rapidly escalating situation:

The white security guard and a black man are seen arguing at the pickup counter. It's not clear what the argument is about.

Mingo said: "I want to see the owner."

"The owner's not here," the guard said.

"You don't work here," Mingo said.

"Neither do you," the guard said. "She's getting your coffee and then you'll get out of here," the guard said.

Mingo says something back to him, and many of his remarks are laced with profanities.

"Not until you get your a** out of here," the guard replies.

They continue to have words until Mingo brushes his arm past the security guard, apparently reaching for something on the counter. The security guard pushes his arm away with his hand. The guard shakes his finger at Mingo excitedly.

The argument gets louder and Mingo can be heard saying: "I'll knock your a** out." Mingo says "Excuse me" as he reaches past the guard, making contact and announcing he's getting his food. This time the guard grabs Mingo by the shoulder and then shoves him into some tables and chairs leaving Mingo on the ground. With his back to the cellphone camera, it appears the guard helps Mingo up.

"You brought that on yourself, man. Now pick up your stuff," the guard says.

Mingo says to a man standing behind the guard: "Move. Move man." He angrily talks to the guard. "You don't put your [expletive] hands on me."

"Put your hands on me again," Mingo said, appearing ready to fight again. "I'm not even tired."

Things appear to calm down as the men stand face to face, although they're talking tensely. Tim Hortons workers can be seen filling orders behind the counter as a woman approaches. "Three creams, four sugars?" she asks.

Then Mingo and the guard begin pushing each other.

Mingo says, "I'm going to knock your a** out right now. Put your hands on me," and the guard slaps Mingo on his cheek. Mingo starts throwing punches and the guard gets Mingo into a corner on top of a table by a window. They both back off, staying away from each other but continue to exchange words.

The video shows a store worker getting out from behind the counter and heading toward the entrance.

"He's not a customer though," a customer says. "He did it," says another customer, but it's not clear who she means.

Next, a Buffalo police officer in a bike helmet can be seen putting Mingo into handcuffs. Mingo is then escorted out the door as the guard follows behind.

A voice on the video can be heard saying, "Oh, you got it all," apparently referring to the person recording the incident on video.

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