When we think of racist, reactionary cops, we generally think of them targeting young black men, but the black men aren’t always young. 69-year-old William Wingate was arrested in Seattle for using a golf club as a cane and now the arresting officer has been fired.
The arrest happened in January, when Wingate was carrying a golf club on a street in Seattle’s Capitol Hill area. Officer Cynthia Whitlatch, thinking for some reason that it was a weapon, demanded that Wingate put down his golf club and he refused:
The man, William Wingate, was on his daily 10-mile walk,using the golf club as a cane, when Whitlatch claimed he swung it in a threatening manner while she was driving her patrol car, according to court documents and a video recording of the interaction between Wingate and the officer.
Source: Seattle Times
Here’s the video:
Seattle police apologized almost immediately but Whitlatch remained steadfast in her insistence that she did no wrong. In fact, that was part of the reason for her arrest. Her claim, which wasn’t corroborated by the video, was that he swung at her.
Not surprisingly, Whitlatch appears to have made racist comments in the past:
But Pierce Murphy, the director of SPD’s Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), said his office had been asked to look into Whitlatch’s conduct last year after a citizen reported that a person with the same name and an apparent Police Department affiliation was making racially charged statements on Facebook.
According to The Stranger, the post attributed to Whitlatch is critical of ‘black peoples (sic) paranoia’ in assuming whites are ‘out to get them.’ The post also cites the Ferguson, Mo., riots.
Initially, the department said that her views while she wasn’t on the job were irrelevant. The problem with that is that prejudices don’t leave when people punch the clock for work. Today, it’s her racist views that are getting her into trouble.
Now, the department has concluded that Whitlatch violated department policies regarding bias, discretion and de-escalating confrontations. She’s also been arrested. She is claiming that she’s the one who is the victim of discrimination because she is white.
Wingate sued the city for racial discrimination and the city developed a new social media policy for employees.
Featured image via video screen capture.