Seattle police officer Cynthia Whitlatch was cruising down the street in her patrol car when she came across an elderly man standing on the corner using a golf club as a cane, prompting her to stop her car and order him to place the club down, claiming it could be a weapon.
William Wingate, a retired bus driver and Air Force veteran who was 69 at the time, said he’s been using that golf club as a cane for 20 years and refused to set it down.
So Whitlatch escalated the lying.
“You just swang that golf club at me …. It was on audio and videotape, put it down,” she said.
The incident took place last July, but Whitlach’s dash cam video was just released after a public records request by The Stranger, Seattle’s alternative weekly.
The video, posted below, shows Wingate remained professional but defiant, insisting she call another officer.
But when she did, the second officer took her side, arresting him on harassment and obstruction charges when it was clear from the video she was the only one harassing and obstructing his freedom to move freely in the city.
After spending a night in jail, King County prosecutors switch the charge against him to unlawful use of a weapon, obviously not bothering to watch the video.
Wingate, represented by a public defender who also didn’t watch the video, was told to sign an agreement stating the case would be dropped in two years if he complied with certain stipulations.
Fortunately, a former politician learned of the case and got involved, and eventually persuade the judge to dismiss the case. But police never admitted wrongdoing, even after watching the video.
And Whitlach is still on the force, a protected liar who should be behind bars.
Read more at Photography is not a Crime.