Arrested for standing while black


Take a look at this dash-cam video from a police cruiser that shows an officer Cynthia Whitlatch accosting William Wingate, a 70 year-old black man who was standing at an intersection and doing absolutely nothing wrong but just leaning on his golf club that he has long used as a walking stick.


When Wingate rightly objected to the way the police officer behaved towards him, she escalated the exchange and he ended up being (of course) arrested and charged with obstruction and harassment, the usual trumped up charges leveled against anyone who does not grovel before the police. The Seattle Times reports on the incident.

Wingate was on his daily 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.

Patrol-car video and a police report indicate she circled the block, pulled up alongside Wingate and repeatedly ordered him to drop the golf club. On the video, Wingate denies any wrongdoing, refuses to drop the club and tells the officer to call somebody — presumably a supervisor or another officer.

Police said the patrol-car video doesn’t substantiate Whitlatch’s claim that Wingate waved his club. However, dashboard cameras are pointed forward and do not capture images from alongside patrol cars, police said.

Wingate was booked into the King County Jail for obstruction and harassment. He pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a weapon, a misdemeanor, under an agreement in which the case would be dismissed after two years if he complied with all conditions ordered by the judge.

After questions were raised about the arrest, the Seattle City Attorney’s Office had the charge dismissed. Seattle police apologized to Wingate for the arrest.

The Seattle police chief, whose department has been under fire for its use of excessive force and biased policing, has assigned the officer to a desk job while the matter is being investigated. Meanwhile Wingate is suing the police department for $750,000 for violations of his civil rights.

And some people are puzzled as to why the black community does not treat the police as its friends.

Comments

  1. Anne Fenwick says

    And some people are puzzled as to why so many people plead guilty automatically. It’s easy to imagine how whatever force is applied to make someone do that increases by the age of 70. And harassing senior citizens isn’t anyone’s values. Is it?

  2. Crimson Clupeidae says

    I hope he wins his case. I just wish those costs weren’t going to be taken from other budgets, but straight from the police payroll.

  3. Saad says

    “It’s my golf club”

    “I’m not gonna take it from you but it’s a weapon”

    What in the world?

  4. exi5tentialist says

    The tale of the man who was not swinging his golf club at a loud-mouthed cop person:

    – Sir, you swung your golf club at me
    – I did not!
    – See how he denies it!
    – That’s because I didn’t do it
    – You will respect my authority!
    – I didn’t do anything
    – So clearly you’re guilty!!!
    – No!
    – See – resisting arrest!
    – No!
    – Being negative!!!
    – I am not!
    – Right, that does it, you’re under arrest!

  5. grumpyoldfart says

    Yes, they apologize for this piss-farting little incident. Wait until a black man gets a policeman’s bullet in the head and see how long it takes for the apologies to appear.

  6. Trickster Goddess says

    His right to swing a golf club ends where the officers car begins. Since he didn’t hit the car, he was well within his rights, even if he was swinging it at the car as alleged and not just moving it randomly while doing something else. In addition, the officer’s safety was in no way ever in danger. If he had being swinging at the car and actually connected, the worse that would have happened would have been minor property damage.

    What a bloody waste of an police time over a non-incident.

  7. oualawouzou says

    @Trickster Goddess (6)
    Sorry for the nit-pick, but no, you can’t just wave a golf club around and be in the clear because you haven’t connected with your (alleged or actual) target. The police is well justified to stop someone who acts in a threatening manner even if no “actual” violence is committed. I hasten to add this comment isn’t meant to defend the arrest discussed in this post.

  8. smrnda says

    “The police is well justified to stop someone who acts in a threatening manner even if no “actual” violence is committed.”

    Is this why they have arrested every single open carry protester for causing a scene?

  9. bmiller says

    smrnda: Well there you have it. If the gentleman in question had been waiving around an AK47, then everything would have been just AOK. Second Amendmant freedummmmmbbbbb!

  10. astrosmash says

    “Police said the patrol-car video doesn’t substantiate Whitlatch’s claim that Wingate waved his club. However, dashboard cameras are pointed forward and do not capture images from alongside patrol cars, police said.”

    well then I guess we’ll have to start putting cameras on the SIDE now…God I hate cops…jebus!!!

  11. astrosmash says

    “bmiller says
    smrnda: Well there you have it. If the gentleman in question had been waiving around an AK47, then everything would have been just AOK. Second Amendmant freedummmmmbbbbb!”

    but you’d have to be white though

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