by: David Ham Updated:
SEATTLE - Bystanders watched as a group of about 15 people surrounded a hot dog stand on Pike and Broadway on Capitol Hill around 4 a.m. Friday.
"It was just the most ridiculous situation that got way out of control," said Shaun Knittel who called 911 when he saw the ruckus.
Knittel said he saw people smashing the vendor's sign, throwing ketchup, mustard and cream cheese on the asphalt.
"The hot dog guy was behind the stand going like this to see that he was not being aggressive or anything," said Knittel.
Knittel said it took police too long to respond.
Seattle Police said that one officer arrived in five minutes but could not exit the patrol vehicle for safety reasons. The officer needed to wait for backup.
Officers said that the incident started when a customer refused to pay for $30 worth of hot dogs.
The vendor then snatched the customer's cellphone, and another man punched him in the face.
Two hours later, the customer returned with about 14 other people and trashed the cart.
Police said they will follow up by looking at surveillance video from a nearby gas station.
Officers said the man who punched the vendor wasn't arrested because the vendor couldn't identify him.