Elderly Man Arrested For Walking While Black Wins A Small Victory Against Racist Cop (VIDEOS)

In the summer of 2014, an elderly black man named William Wingate was arrested while walking. Why? Because the arresting officer said that Wingate tried to hit her with the golf club he was using as a cane. Now officer Cynthia Whitlatch is out of a job.

According to The Seattle Times, Whitlatch saw Wingate on the street with the golf club. She circled the block and activated her dashcam. She pulled over, got out of her car and asked Wingate to put the golf club down. When he asked why, Whitlatch told him that the golf club was a weapon. After refusing her first few requests, Wingate complied and was taken into custody.

Wingate, who had never been arrested before, was booked on charges of obstruction and harassment, and was placed in jail for a little over a day. According to a lawsuit he filed against the city, Wingate’s requests for water were ignored by police, and he was not given anything to drink for approximately eight hours.

Whitlatch pressed for obstruction charges against Wingate, who she called “one of the most obstinate, uncooperative and obstructive suspects” she had ever dealt with as a police officer. The city attorney’s office refused to prosecute Wingate for obstruction, but they did charge him with “unlawful use of a weapon to intimidate.” But what proved to be Whitlatch’s downfall is that there was no intimidation. Whitlatch claims that Wingate swung the club at her, but there is nothing in the dashcam video that shows Wingate doing any such thing.

Here’s video of Whitlatch’s encounter with Wingate, via YouTube:

Wingate was eventually cleared of all charges, and his golf club was returned. But The Seattle Times reports that the Air Force veteran and retired city bus driver is now fearful of police officers he does not know. Wingate says that during his time driving a bus, he had developed a good rapport with police.

KIRO reports that Whitlatch posted negative comments about black people on her Facebook page following the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. One of those comments was, “I am tired of black peoples [sic] paranoia that white people are out to get them.” No doubt the irony in that statement, given her encounter with Wingate, was lost on Whitlatch.

On September 15, Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole sent a letter to Mayor Ed Murray, informing him that Whitlatch’s employment had been terminated, based on the findings of the Office of Professional Accountability, which determined that Whitlatch’s actions were based on “racial bias” and represented an “abuse of police discretion.”

If you are carrying a golf club and you’re white, everybody thinks you’re on your way to the country club to play a round. But if you’re black, even if you’re 70 years old, that same golf club is a weapon.

Here’s a report on Whitlatch, and Wingate’s arrest, from KIRO:


Featured image via YouTube screen capture