A 24-year-old man says he had no expectation that a surveillance video he posted of himself getting pepper-sprayed in the face at a Duluth convenience store by another customer would be widely viewed, the Duluth News Tribune reports.
But the newspaper reports that the four-minute clip has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times around the Internet – and sparked an online debate about racism.
In the video, Rosenwinkel, who is white, is irked that he is being made to wait by an unidentified woman, who is black, ahead of him in line. He attempts to jump ahead of her to buy a pack of cigarettes.
The two trade profanities, and she appears to deliberately slow down her muffins purchase, to Rosenwinkel’s frustration. At the end of the clip, the woman appears to fire pepper spray in Rosenwinkel’s eyes, and then leaves the store singing “Signed, sealed, delivered …”
“I was happy the woman didn’t attack me after she [maced me],” Rosenwinkel told CityPages. “I wouldn’t have been able to defend myself. I’m happy she didn’t wop me in the head with her sack of muffins.”
Rosenwinkel said he got a copy of the video from the store clerk and posted it to YouTube to amuse his friends. He declined to comment on whether he filed a police report, but the News Tribune reports that police say they have no record of the incident.
YouTube commenters have taken up sides, in many case agreeing on one thing – that the incident was racially motivated. But they sharply disagree over which person was in the wrong.
You can check out the clip yourself on YouTube (Warning: the video is full of profanity.)