It took nine months but a Seattle police officer was finally fired for unlawfully arresting an elderly man whom she accused of assaulting her with a golf club.
Cynthia Whitlatch, who is white, insisted she was being persecuted because of her race.
But the dashcam video of her arrest suggests that she arrested William Wingate, who was 69 at the time, because of his race.
After all, the video clearly shows he never did strike her car with the golf club he uses as a walking cane as he had claimed. And her ex-girlfriend accused her of regularly using racial epithets.
Also, the disciplinary action report against her, which can be read here, stated that she had a problem with minorities.
Notably, the day before your confrontation with the individual, you received training on’Biased Free Policing and Voluntary Contacts and Terry Stops, yet apparently did not utilize that contemporaneous training or what your years of experience should have taught you about acceptable behavior. Considerable circumstantial evidence indicates that these deviations and your approach to the civilian were motivated by bias. During your interviews with OPA, you indicated that your perception of the race, sex, and age of others influenced how you interacted with and reacted to events regarding this individual and, more generally, events in the worþlace. You discussed your view that the individual’s age and sex contributed to his reaction towards you as a female officer, and stated that you would not be investigated were you not white. Without prompting, you described how you viewed the resolution of his charges as an example of racial bias because “guess who” – a black judge and black chief were not, in your view, supporting white officers. Even during your Loudermill hearing, you continued to blame minorities for your perceived mistreatment on account of your race (white). Your perceptions of race and other protected categories appear to be so deeply seated that they likely impacted the authoritarian manner in which you treated this man and your refusal to deviate from that approach towards an individual whose actions did not warrant such treatment.
In fact, the report states that had the Seattle Cop not been unapologetically racist, she probably would have not have lost her job.
I was also troubled by your comments in the Loudermill about the race of a judge and deputy chief involved in expunging the civilian’s criminal record related to your arrest of him; you expressed a strong belief that these actions were taken because the judge and deputy chief are black, and that race drove the decision-making of a high ranking Department official and a long-serving Municipal Court Judge, not the legitimate factual and legal analysis by thoughtful and dedicated public servants. Such statements further indicate that your biased views prevent you from being able to honestly reflect on your own job performance and successfully receive constructive criticism of your policing techniques because you view the critiques as racially motivated.
While the violation of Section 5.140(2) is serious enough that, on its own, the allegation would warrant the recommended discipline, I gave serious consideration to a lengthy suspension and disciplinary transfer to a unit that does not interact with the public, as well as removal from the sergeant’s promotional registry. However, your inability to understand, even in hindsight, that your behavior was unnecessarily aggressive, an abuse of discretion, and negatively impacted the community’s confidence in this police service, offers me no pathway to confidence that your behavior will improve or change. Without this ability to learn from your mistakes, understand how you can improve and do better, and recognize your own errors, you are unable to effectively function as an officer.
The incident took place July 9, 2014, but the video did not surface until January after the Seattle weekly new site, The Stranger, made a public records request.
Wingate, who is now 70, is suing the city.