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Charges dropped, lawsuit planned in case of viral Tim Hortons fight

Charges have been dismissed against a Buffalo man arrested this summer after a dispute in a downtown Tim Hortons that went viral in a Facebook video.

Darryl Mingo, the only person arrested, plans to file a civil rights lawsuit against the city, according to his attorney.

The encounter between Mingo, who is a black man, and a white security guard began as an argument and turned into a physical altercation.

The charges against Mingo – misdemeanor assault and two noncriminal violations, trespassing and harassment – have been dismissed by Buffalo City Court Judge Barbara Johnson-Lee, said Matthew Albert, Mingo's attorney, in a news release on Monday. A court representative said there is no public record available for those charges, but could not provide a definitive explanation about what happened to them.

A spokesperson for the Erie County District Attorney's Office was not able to immediately confirm the charges were dismissed.

Albert has filed a notice of claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, with the city for Mingo. The claim was made against the city and three police officers – Eric Augustyn, Joseph Petronella and Patrick Baggott. Augustyn was identified as the arresting officer in the police report about the incident, which happened around 8:30 a.m. July 19 in the Tim Hortons in the Liberty Building at Main and Court streets. Petronella and Baggott assisted at the scene, attorneys said, citing police booking records.

Mingo was held in custody for multiple days, according to the claim.

Each of the police officers involved in the case were white, according to Mingo's attorney.

The notice of claim identifies the security guard as George Bailey.

The security guard, who was not charged, was not working for the coffee shop but may have been working in the building.

The five-minute video, which has been viewed more than 522,000 times and shared more than 9,500 times, starts with a verbal dispute at the pickup counter of the coffee shop. The origin of the argument is not clear in the video but the dispute between the two lasts until close to the end, when a Buffalo police officer wearing a bike helmet puts Mingo in handcuffs and takes him outside.

At one point, the security guard pushes Mingo's arm away as he apparently reaches for something on the counter. The guard then wags his finger in Mingo's face.

Many of Mingo's statements to the guard are laced with profanities. At one point, when Mingo reaches past the guard, the guard grabs Mingo by the shoulder and shoves him. Mingo ends up on the floor, falling through a table and chairs.

Mingo appears ready to fight and the two men stand face to face. After a few moments they begin pushing and the guard slaps Mingo in the face. That's when Mingo starts throwing punches. The guard backs Mingo up against a window and throws a punch. About a minute later, police arrive.

The security guard accused Mingo of injuring him with pushes and punches, leaving him with "substantial pain, swelling and bleeding to his mouth area," according to the arrest report. The guard also told police Mingo's punches and pushes harassed, annoyed and alarmed him.

The officers "made no attempt to investigate who the actual aggressor in the conflict was and merely arrested (Mingo) within seconds of walking in the door," the notice of claim alleged.

Michael J. DeGeorge, a spokesman for the city, declined comment.

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

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