A Seattle, Wa police officer is now on desk duty after footage of an arrest involving an elderly man who refused to drop a golf club he used as a cane. On July 9, 2014 William Wingate was out walking when officer Cynthia Whitlatch drove up on up the war veteran an ordered him to drop the golf club. On the police car dashboard camera, Whitlatch accused Wingate of swinging the club at her and claimed he hit a stop sign. Wingate who is black, insisted he never did such a thing but Whitlatch who is white, keeps pressing and claimed the entire event was on video and audio. The footage of the incident has been released, after a lawmaker started to question the validity of Wingate’s arrest. Watch the video below.
Wingate was arrested and convicted of unlawfully using a weapon against Whitlatch. Under Wingate’s plea deal, the charge would be dismissed if he had no other brushes with the law for two years. Once the dashcam footage was released, former Democratic Rep. Dawn Mason started to probe why the arrest was made after it didn’t support anything Whitlatch claimed. Prosecutors dismissed Wingate’s arrest and apologized for his arrest. Wingate has filed $750,000 lawsuit against the police department. According to the Associated Press, Whitlatch was then placed on desk duty after Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole was made aware of comments Whitlatch made on Facebook one month after Wingate’s arrest regarding blacks. Whitlatch stated she was tired of “black peoples paranoia” and then remarked, “chronic black racism that far exceeds any white racism in this country.” REALLY GIRL!? O’Toole said in a written statement she was “shocked and disappointed” about Whitlatch’s inflammatory remarks and requested the Office of Professional Accountability to launch an independent investigation. O’Toole stated:
We are working to reform the Seattle Police Department, and behavior of this nature seriously undermines our efforts. I was hired because of my track record for reform and my commitment to bias-free policing. I knew this would be a difficult job, but days like this make me even more determined.