A Seattle police officer was fired Tuesday for a July, 2014, incident in which she showcased racially charged misconduct by arresting a 69-year-old African-American man who was walking down the street.
William Wingate walks with a golf club as a cane and was stopped by officer Cynthia Whitlatch, who Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole moved to desk duty in January for writing racist comments online. But now the Seattle Police Chief sees that Whitlatch is "unable to effectively function" as an officer.
"Your behavior towards him during the stop was inappropriately aggressive and unnecessarily escalated the interaction," a report released by Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole stated. "There were numerous opportunities to assess different tactics and take a softer approach to resolve the incident."
A dashcam video from Whitlatch's vehicle released by the Seattle police department shows Whitlatch pull up to an intersection where Wingate is standing and accuse him of swinging the club at her moments earlier. She demands that he put it down.
"I had this golf club for 20 years!" Wingate yelled in confusion. The man refused to drop the club down and said that he had not done anything to the officer. "Call somebody!" he said, demanding a witness. After Wingate disobeyed Whitlatch's multiple requests, Whitlatch proceeded to arrest the elderly man.
She said that video recordings would show that he did swing the club at her, but no video evidence was found to back up her claims, the AP reports.
Following the incident, Wingate was convicted of unlawfully using a weapon. He took a plea deal that stated that charges be dropped against him if he did not get arrested in the next two years. The conviction was later dismissed by the city attorney and the Seattle police apologized to Wingate.
Wingate has filed a lawsuit against the police department for $750,000.
At first the Seattle Police Department believed counseling for Whitlatch would be enough on their part to resolve the troubling matter. But Facebook posts from Whitlatch reveal the officer has deeper problems with Black people and has caused Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole to revisit the issue.
"I am tired of black peoples [sic] paranoia that white people are out to get them," Whitlatch wrote according to a local Seattle newspaper The Stranger. "I am tired of hearing a black racist tell me the only reason they are being contacted is because they are black solely because I am NOT black," she continued.
Whitlatch has been assigned to desk duty for her comments and is being further investigated by the Office of Professional Accountability, according to Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole.
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(Photo: Seattle Police Department)
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