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.