The termination of Seattle police officer Cynthia Whitlatch is excellent news for social justice advocates everywhere. Nevertheless, one must wonder: How many more prevaricating thugs now remain at large in America, stalking our streets with guns, badges, and Napoleon complexes?
Whitlatch was fired on Tuesday over her infamous arrest last year of William Wingate, an elderly African-American man with no previous criminal record. She arrested Wingate on July 9, 2014, after stopping him for allegedly swinging his golf club at her while she drove past him in her patrol car in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Wingate was using the club as a cane, while Whitlatch used it as an excuse to harass Wingate, and then obviously escalated the situation and arrested him for obstructing a police officer and unlawful use of a weapon. Video footage from a dashboard camera in Whitlatch’s patrol car later provided zero evidence to support her spurious claims.
Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, who made the final decision to fire Whitlatch, labeled the arrest a case of biased and overly aggressive policing. O’Toole rightly criticized Whitlatch’s failure to follow official Seattle Police Department policies — yet has apparently said nothing regarding the prevarication that was Whitlatch’s ultimate transgression.
Whitlatch was hired by the SPD in 1997. Which means that she had been a beat cop in Seattle for 17 years prior to July 9, 2014. Which conjures the question: How many more Seattle citizens who were doing absolutely nothing wrong did she send to jail prior to July 9, 2014? Keep in mind that Wingate was apparently assumed guilty by the jail court the morning after his arrest, since the jail court failed to question Whitlatch’s version of events as described in her police report — which we now know was a fundamentally grievous fabrication.
Cynthia Whitlatch’s treatment of William Wingate is just one anecdote among many across the nation in recent years. And Wingate only experienced one night in jail — rather than a fatal shooting — as a result of Whitlatch’s appallingly aggressive behavior during their unfortunate encounter.
With all due respect, the ultimate lesson that judges and prosecutors in Seattle and elsewhere who don’t already know should learn from this appalling episode is this: cops lie — and Cynthia Whitlatch was merely the tip of an iceberg of prevaricating police in America.