– New video shows white Seattle cop arresting 70yo black veteran for carrying golf club (RT, Jan 29, 2015):
The Seattle Police Department is reviewing the conduct of an officer after she arrested an elderly black man who was using a golf club as a cane. Posting online, the officer also characterized civil unrest in Ferguson, Mo., as “chronic black racism.”
Seattle police released dashcam footage of the July encounter on Wednesday.
“You swung that golf club at me when I turned the corner at 11th and Pike,” Officer Cynthia Whitlatch said to 70-year-old William Wingate before arresting him.
The alleged club-swinging is not shown in the 20-minute video which starts out with Whitlatch — who is white — repeatedly yelling at Wingate to drop the golf club, calling it a “weapon” at one point. Wingate protests that he has been “walking with this golf club for 20 years.”
The video was obtained by The Stranger through a public records request.
“You just swung that golf club at me!” Whitlatch said in the video.
“No, I did not!” Wingate replied.
Wingate, an Air Force veteran who has no criminal history, was eventually arrested and booked into jail, according to KIRO.
“I was scared,” Wingate said, KIRO reported. “I didn’t know what was going to happen to me. I knew one thing—I was being framed.”
Wingate, a retired bus driver who served in the military for 20 years, said he doesn’t know if he was racially profiled.
“I know one thing,” he said. “I’m a black man walking down the street doing nothing and I got stopped and went to jail by a white police officer.”
He has filed a claim with the City of Seattle, asking for damages of more than $750,000.
“Mr. Wingate’s physicians and family members and friend will attest to the emotional distress caused by the racial profiling, arrest, and incarceration of this man, whose only crime was ‘walking in Seattle while black,’” the claim says in part.
Seattle police have apologized to Wingate and dropped the original misdemeanor charge of unlawful use of a weapon.