‘I hope something comes of this’ — March on East Precinct protests golf-club arrest

William Wingate joined Saturday's march calling for reform at SPD (Images: CHS)

William Wingate joined Saturday’s march calling for reform at SPD (Images: CHS)

Wingate

Wingate

A crowd estimated around 150 carried driving irons and putters through the streets of Capitol Hill Saturday afternoon in a symbolic completion of William Wingate’s travels last summer on the day he was arrested in a controversial incident that has once again put the Seattle Police Department under scrutiny.

“Only thing I can say is this: I didn’t do nothing,” Wingate told the group in brief remarks made before the march from Cal Anderson through Pike/Pine to the East Precinct headquarters at 12th and Pine.

“And I’m still confused,” he added.

Saturday’s march organized by writer and activist Chad Goller-Sojourner was the first public display of protest against Wingate’s July 2014 arrest at 12th and Pike when the then-69-year-old retired veteran was taken into custody after refusing to put down the golf club that he uses as a walking cane. SPD eventually apologized for the arrest — and returned Wingate’s club. But the incident has produced criticism of both the arresting officer and the way SPD superior officers handled her discipline. Chief Kathleen O’Toole has ordered an SPD investigation into Officer Cynthia Whitlatch’s actions during the arrest — and in her online activities — and the way East Precinct handled her eventual discipline. It also seems to have forced soul searching with SPD’s brass over how to handle free speech and social media with its officers.

At Saturday’s peaceful rally and march, there were no arrests but there were many calls for reform and change at SPD. For Wingate, the man at the center of the debate says he is still hoping for justice.

“I can’t understand why. I (have) never done anything to this woman,” Wingate told the crowd.

“I hope something comes of this.”

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13 thoughts on “‘I hope something comes of this’ — March on East Precinct protests golf-club arrest

  1. It’s great to see people out supporting Mr. Wingate. I wish him the best with his lawsuit and hope he gets a large financial settlement from the city.

    • Doesn’t the City have insurance for settlements like this?

      I too hope Mr. Wingate is successful in his claim ….he certainly deserves more than a very-late apology. I also hope the investigation into Cynthia Whitlatch’s egregious behavior is concluded as soon as possible….she needs to lose her job over this.

    • So you think insurance premiums are unaffected by claim history? Does your car and homeowners insurance work that way? Hint: no.

    • Point taken, Jim. But your previous comment seemed to imply that all the money that will be paid out to Mr. Wingate, for example, would be paid by the City. Yes, insurance premiums might go up, but that would be because of all the claims against the City, not just Mr. Wingate’s.

  2. You all are too quick to judge her. Not of the facts have been presented. As a Broadway business owner I have known Cynthia for over ten years. She is NOT a racist and on the finest policewomen I have ever encountered. If you actually knew her you would know that. Yes there are problems with SPD. But she is not one of them.

    • Not all of the facts have been presented? I can only imagine what else could come out about her at this point.

      If you know her so well and she is as great as you claim please present a single shred of evidence in that direction, and while you’re at it go ahead and name your Broadway business as well so I can avoid it in the future.

    • Is this possible? She passed by him as he was walking up Pike and he swung his golf club (not at her or at anything in particular). Out of her periphery she mistakenly BELIEVED he swung the club at her (but was probably wrong). She did a lap around the block and caught up to him at Pike and 12th, and asked him to put the club down, which he refused to do. She (mistakenly) believed her dash cam video would show him swinging the club (but it didn’t).

      Is it possible she just made a MISTAKE, and his refusal to put the club down (because he knew he didn’t do anything) just escalated the situation?

    • the whole time I was watching the video, I just kept thinking “he’s lucky he didn’t get shot” because people have been executed for less than holding a golf club

    • If the scenario leading up to this had gone exactly as you described, I would still wonder why the response went they way it did. Why another officer on the scene stated it didn’t need cop intervention. Why she pushed so hard for additional charges brought against him. The list goes on and I’ve seen zero in her favor so far, not even from her supporters and friends other than empty words.

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