SEATTLE — The 70-year-old man who was arrested for holding a golf club on a street corner spoke out Thursday about the officer who stopped him and threw him in jail.
William Wingate is threatening to sue the police department.
Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O`Toole on Thursday put the officer, Cynthia Whitlatch, on desk duty and ordered a review of her cases.
“She knows she was out of control,” Wingate said of Whitlatch.
The incident was recorded on police dash-cam video. It shows Whitlatch accusing Wingate of swinging a golf club in a threatening manner. When Wingate didn’t drop the club, he was arrested and spent a night in jail.
Wingate maintains he never once threatened anyone with his club.
“I was being framed, I know I was being framed and she knew I hadn’t doing nothing,” said.
Wingate and his attorneys allege Whitlatch conducted the stop only because he’s a black man.
“It seems to me that the Seattle Police Department either knew or should have known that they have an officer that’s completely out of control in this particular case,” said Vonda Sargent, one of Wingate’s attorneys.
The department said Whitlatch has no prior disciplinary problems. Even so, top brass on Tuesday apologized for arresting Wingate. The city attorney’s office dropped his charges and police returned his golf club.
City Councilman Bruce Harrell said more work must be done.
“The city continues to see how we are not properly de-escalating situations. And how officers must realize you have to act with good intentions on folks,” he said.
Now the NAACP is calling 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.”
Mayor Ed Murray said he instructed police chief Kathleetn O’Toole to take immediate action and take Whitlatch off the beat.
Now Wingate said he now suffers from post-traumatic stress, and he fears even talking to any Seattle police officer.
“A lot of stuff that you hear about the police, I found out that a lot of it was true,” he said.
Here is the dash-cam video of the confrontation over the gold club:
Chief O’Toole said she was shocked by Whitlatch’s posts found on Facebook. The allegedly racists comments will be a part of the department’s investigation.