Viral video of 'heavily' armed Seattle Walgreens security guard sparks outrage

A viral video capturing a security guard in Seattle heavily armed and cornering a shopper inside a Walgreens has sparked outrage and questions about the guard's behavior.

The video, shared widely online, shows the security guard identified as Brian Vinegar, confronting the shopper, Meika Prince, inside the Walgreens located downtown on Pike Street. Prince, who recorded the incident, described the encounter as terrifying, stating that Vinegar accused her of stealing and made threats against her.

"He had guns on him, he had mace. At one point, he pulled out a flashlight and was shining it on me," Prince told FOX 13 Seattle. 

"He was approaching me, getting extremely close … uncomfortably close," Prince said. "He said he was going to put me in handcuffs. It was extremely terrifying."

The incident, which occurred last Wednesday just before 6 p.m., prompted Prince to call 911. An official police report confirms that it was indeed Prince who made the call, vehemently denying any wrongdoing and asserting that she was only at the store to pick up her medication.

FOX 13 Seattle did some digging and learned that Vinegar's security license is listed as "inactive," which means he is currently unlicensed in the eyes of Washington state law. 

During the interaction captured on camera, Vinegar can be heard making threats to detain Prince and take her to the ground. Prince, in response, states, "I have that on recording," indicating the video evidence of Vinegar's actions.

In response to the incident, Prince has taken legal action, hiring attorney James Prescott to represent her. Prescott said, "Stores do have a legal right to defend themselves against loss, but there's a way that they have to do that."

The excessive armament of Vinegar, including two magazines, a pistol, a taser, cuffs, and two body cameras, has raised questions about the necessity of such equipment for a security guard working inside a Walgreens store.

Max Anderson, a private security expert with two decades of experience, weighed in on the situation, expressing concern over Vinegar's tactical appearance. "He's got a much more tactical appearance than he probably needs working in retail," Anderson remarked.

Anderson added, "Looking at his uniform, he's wearing a tactical vest. I've worn those working in disaster response." He emphasized that guards like Vinegar give the private security industry a bad name and contribute to a perception of aggression and abuse of power.

When reached for comment, Walgreens provided a brief statement acknowledging the incident and confirming they are investigating. Attempts to contact the security firm under which Vinegar was allegedly working are still pending.

The video continues to circulate online, prompting discussions about the appropriate use of force by security personnel and the need for accountability in such situations.


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