Seattle man arrested for walking with golf club awarded $325K in suit against officer

SEATTLE — A federal jury awarded an African-American Air Force veteran $325,000 in his racial discrimination suit against a former Seattle police officer.

William Wingate, was wrongfully arrested by Officer Cynthia Whitlatch while walking in Capitol Hill in July 2014. He was 69 years old at the time. It was the first time he had been arrested. He was using a golf club as a cane.

“If you're capable of doing this to me in broad daylight and it's on video, what would you do at night, when nobody's around?” Wingate said.

Wingate said he believed the arrest was racially motivated, but Whitlatch said Wingate swung the club at her.

The officer's dash cam video did not show that, but it did capture her heated verbal exchange with the man.

“Why did she stop me and no other police officer stopped me?” he asked.

Wingate said he sued the city not only for himself, but for others who could also become victims.

“Most of the policemen are good people,” he said, “but you’ve got rotten apples in all professions. She is a rotten apple. And the police department knows she's a rotten apple. Why do they keep covering up for her?”

Whitlatch was later fired for the incident and racially charged comments she made about the case on social media.

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