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Seattle police officer fired for arresting elderly man holding golf club

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SEATTLE — A Seattle police officer was fired Tuesday for arresting a 70-year-old black man who refused to put down a golf club he was holding on a city street.

The officer, Cynthia Whitlach, was fired for the July 9, 2014 incident on Capitol Hill. She was served a “termination notice for sustained policy violations involving bias, abuse of police discretion and escalation of contact,” the Seattle Police Department said. 

Whitlatch came under scrutiny when she arrested William Wingate last summer when he refused to put down a golf club he was holding on a street corner. He said he was using the club as a walking cane; she said he had raised it and wielded like a weapon as she drove by in her patrol car.

The confrontation and arrest was captured on the officer’s dash camera.

Wingate was arrested and spent a night in jail.

The police department apologized to Wingate in January and gave his golf club back. Wingate later told Q13 FOX news that Whitlatch was “out of control.”

“I was being framed, I know I was being framed and she knew I hadn’t doing nothing,” Wingate said.

In late January, O’Toole, saying she was “shocked and disappointed,” pulled Whitloch off the street and ordered investigations after discovering she had allegedly written allegedly racist comments on Facebook.

The NAACP called for the officer’s termination, claiming the federally mandated reforms have still not changed officers’ behavior.

“This is indicative of their behavior and attitude which is what we’re trying to change,” said Gerald Hankerson. ”We expect our police department to have the utmost respect and dignity, they should be the model of the nation of what we’re supposed to look like. I thought that’s what we supposed to get that after the dog left but here we are seeing the same thing over and over again.”