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Seattle police chief yanks ‘golf club’ patrol officer off the street after troubling Facebook comments

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SEATTLE — Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, saying she was “shocked and disappointed,” on Thursday pulled a female police patrol officer off the street and ordered investigations after discovering she had allegedly written allegedly racist comments on Facebook.

The same officer, Cynthia Whitlatch, came under scrutiny when she arrested a 70-year-old black man last summer when he refused to put down a golf club he was holding on a street corner.

The department apologized to William Wingate Tuesday and gave his golf club back. But Wingate is threatening to sue the city after he was thrown in jail for a night after the arrest.

>>> Click here to read and see Wingate’s take on the arrest.

It was most recently reported that Whitlatch allegedly had written comments about black people on her Facebook post.

The weekly newspaper The Stranger reported that Whitlatch wrote dismissively on Facebook of the notion black men are disproportionately targeted by police, referring to it as “black peoples paranoia that white people are out to get them.”

The post begins: “If you believe that blacks are NOT accusing white America for their problems then you are missing the point of the riots in Ferguson and the chronic black racism that far exceeds any white racism in this country.”

It goes on later to say, “I am tired of black people saying poor poor me when other races and genders and homeless and gays suffer far more prejudice than any black man does in the US,” the post said.

Chief O’Toole wrote on the SPD Blotter Thursday: “Until yesterday I was unaware of Officer Whitlatch’s Facebook posts. I was shocked and disappointed to read her comments. We are working to reform the Seattle Police Department, and behavior of this nature seriously undermines our efforts.

“Today, I have taken these immediate steps:

  • I have ordered a comprehensive review of the cases involving this officer
  • I have transferred the officer to an administrative assignment, pending the outcome of the investigations, where she will have no interaction with the public.
  • I have communicated with Office of Professional Accountability Director Pierce Murphy, who is launching an independent investigation.”

Late Thursday afternoon, Mayor Ed Murray said, “While I support the Chief’s decision yesterday (Wednesday) to call for a more comprehensive review of the overall conduct and performance of the officer involved – considering there were two incidents with this officer in the same summer – there appear to be lapses in our protocols.

“I’ve directed the Chief to look not just at the officer’s conduct, but all the circumstances and decisions related to these incidences. We must do more to reform our system to restore the public’s trust in our police department so that everyone feels safe in our communities.

“After meeting with the Chief this morning, we agreed she will conduct a comprehensive management investigation and transfer the officer to non-patrol duties for the time being.”

Meanwhile, video of her arrest of the black man holding a golf club last summer was published this week on the SPD Blotter and is below.

In the police report for this July 9, 2014, incident, Whitlatch stated she had witnessed the man swing a golf club toward her, striking a stop sign as she drove past him near 11th Avenue and E. Pike Street.  There was no video evidence to support that.

Whitlatch then contacted the man and ordered him to surrender his golf club. The man refused and was arrested and booked into the King County Jail for obstruction and harassment.

Here is the video:

 

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50 comments

  • Alan

    They need to dimiss this cop for filing a false police report for obstruction, unlawful use of a deadly weapon, and harassment.

    The prosecutor also played a role in lying to this man too, so he would wavied his right to a speedy trial as well.

    The Fed needs the crack down on the SPD and the prosecutor’s office hard. This is nothing but BS.

    The SPD and prosecutor’s office owes this man way more than a apology and his golf club.

  • James Jones

    I dont see the problem. She said she recorded him swinging the club at her car, why didn’t they release that video along with the one? If they did, why didn’t q13 fox post it?

  • ellen del valle

    OMG as a former officer of the court …I think this Officer was using poor judgment and should be put on administrative leave and sent back to basic training. I too now often use a golf club as a cane — what was she thinking !!

    • sheila

      I agree with you completely, and as far as the prosecutors office goes they should never have filed charges against him. She should be removed from public service. An apology from the department is ‘a little too little a little too late’! I would also want to be compensated if this ever happened to me or anyone else close to me!

    • Alan

      Then you might want to get in touch with reality if you really think that. Here is the raw story with all the video.

      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/01/seattle-man-needed-state-officials-help-to-avoid-charges-for-walking-while-black/

      Tell us when this man swung a golf club at the officer.

      What this webpage that we are posting on doesn’t tell you is that a legislative review of this incident could not even find that this man was swinging a golf club at anyone.

      The officer filed a false report and should be dismissed, its a public trust issue at this point.

      I’m sure if this happened to you, you would be more than a little upset.

      • Donna

        Alan,
        Don’t even reply to that guy….he must be related to the officer. Not only the video is disgraceful but her posts on Facebook were disgraceful but the issue here is she is a liar, wrote a false report, did a terrible injustice to this man and he did not deserve this regardless if he is white or black. Anyone with a brain knows she was wrong. Why would she be disciplined and put on administrative duty if she was not wrong. I believe she will eventually be terminated as one report I read said there was another questionable incident that same time frame.

      • Clay

        She can no longer serve the public, as when ANY case she is in from now on (and maybe prior cases) her trustworthyness can be discredited at trial with “Your honor, I ask the Witness ‘Have you ever filed a false report, or falsely arrested anyone in your line of duty?'”

      • sheila

        It didn’t happen to me but yet I am a little more than upset! She lied to cover herself! No wonder there is a lack of public support for the department when things like this actually make it into court. No public trust at this point.

  • DuhNigreus

    I noticed that both stories reporting on police misconduct this morning featured SPD bull dykes as the perpetrators. Interesting.

  • Joe

    Well cops are the governments brass knuckles that keep people in line, but sometime they’re to eager to implement the manacles, in fact, they used to throw people in prison and ruin their lives for smoking pot.

  • Frank Dofelmier

    All I know is it is not safe to go downtown any more due to rise of Black on black crime. I don’t want to get in the cross fire of these thugs. As far as the cop…I guess it a free country and free speech is one of our tenats…Oh I forgot I have to run out and put my food stuff in a seperate garbage can so I don’t get red tagged and shamed by the garbage man.

    • Donna

      Frank,
      I can understand your frustration with the violence in Seattle however, if you look at the video, this man was not in a gang, causing violence or anything of the sort. He is an old man walking down the street. People are focusing to much on the color of his skin and the officer’ racist remarks on her face book page when they should be focusing on the lying and the injustice of what the officer did and of what that man had to go through regardless if he was white or black.

  • Kit

    Willaim Wingate looks so normal compared the usual doped-up rag muffins that hang out on 11th Ave E. Somedays, it looks like a convention of Afghanistan refugee/zombies.

  • cinseattle61

    I know the area having lived in Seattle for 50 years. Officer turned north, left onto 11th from Pike St as she states in the video at min 4 20, yes haha pot time. The man is not seen in the video. Was he to the left and not seen in the camera? She went around a truck to turn left. Did she maybe not see a person in the crosswalk and cut him off? Like any person would they have not shaken a stick at a car trying to run them down? I kick cars that try and run me down in a crosswalk. If what she says had happened she would have stopped there and confronted the man. But no, she continued north, in no hurry, turned right on Pine St, turned right on 12th St (at the east precinct) and come up on the man at 12th and Pine. This woman is a liar and should be fired with no benefits and never be allowed to be an officer again.

  • S. Burrows

    Was she PMSing that day? She turned the corner and he was a block away. He must move pretty fast, or did she go around the block first?. But she said “BACK THERE” Still, when are people gonna get it through their heads JUST DO what the officer askes the 1st time, and all this would of been avoided

    • Jimmie Bean

      what do you mean “all of this would have been avoided”? She falsely accused this man (who fought for your and my freedom I may add) and harassed him for no reason at all other than she’s a racist dyke!! He had every right to question why he was being harassed and i hope he sues the shit out of the city

      • S. Burrows

        I mean had he respected the officer and complied, it would of been cleared up, and everyone would of been able to get on with their day. I bet no arrests would of been made. Yes, she is a jerk, but he kept it going on, not doing what she asked. How different the event might of been had he just put the club down and answered a few questions.

          • S. Burrows

            nope, I know my rights. No where does it say you have the right to rant and rave and not cooperate . I have the right to choose to act in a way I could get shot, beat up, or arrested, OR be calm cooperate and assert my rights in court ALIVE.. Hope he sues the gentleman sues !

          • Yasser R

            Your ignorance is the reason cop abuse is so common these days. People like you bend over at the sign of a badge, stand up for yourself and learn your rights.

        • sheila

          Answer a few questions?? What kind of questions could she possibly have wanted to ask? She profiled him plain and simple! Whether or not she is a dyke is another story and has nothing to do with this one as some have tried to imply it is her excuse for acting the way she did. She was looking to start trouble for someone and he just happened to be her target at the moment.

  • tomas

    yup…time to start killing cops….if they law wont protect our right to live free like every other person in this country, then we have to. we have been peacefully asking this country to treat us as equals for 500 years. the time for peace is over.

  • blah

    What she wrote is true. And we are to have freedom of speech in this country. It sickens me that she’s being railroaded due to this insane hysteria over cases in other states that also were legitimate arrests or shootings. You people are out of touch with reality.

    • John

      You are the one out of touch with reality, what proof do you have that what she said was true? Her word? please, she has already been caught being racist on Facebook and has no video evidence of ever being swung at by a golf club..This is an old man who was using his favorite golf club as a cane to get around. Nothing more than that, you are just as racist yourself and it’s fucking sad.

      • blah

        The following is true. And the main racism around here is against whites. “I am tired of black people saying poor poor me when other races and genders and homeless and gays suffer far more prejudice than any black man does in the US,”

        • Yasser R

          You’re okay with a racist person being on the streets with that much power? This is what’s wrong with the USA and why it’s the laughing stock to the rest of the world. Ignorance of this magnitude can’t be real. Acceptance of racist cops is a part of what’s wrong with this society, you’re in the same boat as all corrupt cops.

  • bob

    Do you guys have a learning problem it clearly says he swung a club on 11th and pine not at the corner he was stopped on but either way she is lying because she did not get it on video that’s why there is only one video so if you think she is talking about him swinging in first video you have a listening problem even though she is a liar

  • Tom W

    It’s not that there was no video evidence of him swinging the club, like the author wrote. There is video evidence that he did not swing the club. There is a huge distinction there. The camera captured their entire interaction. At one point he waved his hand in frustration, and it happened to be the hand that was holding the club, though the club never moved from the vertical position. No reasonable person would see this as an aggressive act. I even wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt, but once I saw the video, there’s nothing left to interpretation. She bullied him.

  • sheila

    After reading the article and then watching the video once I re reviewed the video paying special attention to the man in question as soon as he comes into view. At no time did I see him raise or swing the club, furthermore the officer is heard repeatedly saying it is a golf club and then she later claims that it is a weapon. No, it is a golf club and would only be considered a weapon if the man used it as such in the commision of a crime which he obviously wasn’t as he was just standing on a street corner holding the club. There did not appear to be anyone else around (so called victims) so why would the officer confront him in the first place? Looks like harassment to me because nothing has ever been said about a police broadcast stating a crime had been committed where the perp had used a golf club. So why did she view him as a threat and the golf club as a weapon? We need to look at her motives. Pure harassment of an innocent man!

  • Read

    In nazi germany the Gestapo encouraged attacks on Jews and today in America homeland security encourages attacks on blacks and Arabs. Oddly if one understands German the exact translation of Gestapo is you guessed it Homeland Security. It’s no accident the Bill of Rights is being undermined perpetually . Infact nazis hated America’s Bill of Rights!

  • Nicholas Skala

    ok, so, here is the facts on this. WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS. EVEN IF IT WAS A FUCKING WEAPON HE HAD EVERY RIGHT TO HAVE IT. it wasnt, but that fact still stands and we need to stop putting up with this bullshit. my response to her crap would prolly have been “Ever hear of the 2nd Amendment? Yeah, I’m not breaking the law, officer, you are by harrassing me. And I will resist an unjust arrest.