Here is the video of a confrontation between a manager and two black customers inside Capitol Hill’s Harvard Market QFC that, the Seattle Times reports, resulted in the employee’s suspension and an apology from the company.
The posted video begins with the men at the Pike and Broadway store’s self-checkout as they are being told to leave the grocery by the manager and security.
“You’re harassing me. I’m paying for this shit and you’re harassing us,” complains one man in the video. The manager, with the name “Brian” on his employee tag, responds to accusations of racism, telling the men, “I don’t want you back in my store. It’s private property.”
The Seattle Times reports that QFC President Suzy Monford apologized for Tuesday’s incident — “As president of QFC, I apologize on behalf of our entire team to the customers involved” — and that the manager was being suspended “until we have all the facts.”
The incident comes amid increased efforts around bias training for big companies following Seattle-based Starbucks’s decision to close its thousands of stores for a day of training last month after two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia location of the coffee chain.
The investigation of William Wingate’s arrest showed the importance of examining past statement and records of officers accused of biased policing (Images: CHS)
How can you legislate racism? It is a question at the heart of any effort to eliminate biased policing and one that Seattle King County NAACP president Gerald Hankerson was quick to raise Wednesday during a City Council committee meeting on the subject.
The answer came from City Council president Bruce Harrell: “You have to start somewhere.” Over the past year, Harrell and his staff have been working on a series of measures to codify bias-free policing practices in Seattle. On Wednesday, Harrell unveiled the basics of his plan.
Central to the proposal is making permanent the bias-free policing requirements laid out by a federal monitor as part of Seattle Police Department’s federal consent decree over excessive use of force practices. Collecting demographic data on police interactions is particularly crucial, Harrell said. Continue reading →
King County judges will lock up fewer youths for minor offenses and elected officials are promising to bolster diversion programs as part of a plan announced Tuesday to address inherent racism in the county’s juvenile justice system.
King County Executive Dow Constantine joined King County Judge Susan Craighead to announce the plan as the county faces ongoing efforts by activists and community groups to stop the replacement of the aging youth detention center at 12th and Alder.
“Racial disparity has no place in our justice system here in King County, especially not in systems responsible for the well-being of our youth,” Constantine said.
Under the new initiative, judges would avoid ordering detention for low-level “status” offenses, like skipping school. County judges have also pledged to cut in half the number of youths detained for violating terms of their probation and to reduce detention times. Last year, there were 467 admissions to youth detention for probation violations — 42% of those were for black youths.
In order to divert those youths away from detention, County Council members plan to invest $4.3 million in job programs and expanded options for diversion.
Constantine also announced the county would cut 32 beds from the planned Children and Family Justice Center. The current 12th and Alder facility has 212 beds. The new voter-approved center was supposed to have 144 beds, which has now been reduced to 112. Officials said the true maximum capacity will be closer to 80. Continue reading →
Capitol Hill Housing has announced it plans to honor the history of Liberty Bank by naming its planned development just east of 23rd and Union for the region’s first Black-owned bank.
In an announcement earlier this week, the nonprofit developer said its planned mixed-use, affordable apartment project at 24th and E Union will be called the Liberty Bank Building and will “feature multiple historical elements in the exterior design” as part of a set of recommendations from an advisory board convened by the developer “to learn more about community priorities for the site.”
“It is important that the story of Liberty Bank is told so that Seattle knows how a multicultural community came together and created an institution that allowed individuals to achieve economic independence and success,” Michelle Purnell Hepburn, daughter of Liberty Bank founders James C. and Mardine Purnell, said in the announcement. “The advisory board is very happy with the outcome of this process and is pleased with the work of Capitol Hill Housing.”
Liberty Bank Advisory Board members (L-R): Michelle Purnell-Hepburn, Derryl Durden, Merle Richlen, and Jocquelyn Duncan at the celebration on March 4th (Image: Joshua Okrent for CHH)
Protesters targeted a Saturday night campaign kickoff and Sunday morning brunches around Capitol Hill in a series of actions inspired by the #blacklivesmatter movement.
Saturday, a small group drew a huge police response to 19th and Madison’s Mount Zion Baptist Church when the protest group attempted to disrupt the campaign launch party for King County Council member and noted Seattle black leader Larry Gossett. Gossett, whose district includes Capitol Hill and the Central District, joined the rest of the county council earlier this month in unanimously approving an ordinance to build a new youth detention center at 12th and Alder. Continue reading →
Justice isn’t color-blind, at least in King County.
According to a special report published last month, black youth in KC are roughly six times more likely than white youth to face a judge in juvenile court. And while the number of youth referred to juvenile court has been falling for years, the bulk of that benefit has gone to whites.
Speaking on behalf of the more than fifty judges on her bench, she says, Judge Susan Craighead is calling for a series of “listening sessions” with key players in the juvenile justice system. This includes representatives of government institutions which are “upstream” of the court—police, schools, and child welfare services — but also the families and communities most impacted by juvenile courts.
“We feel like we need all hands on deck to try to figure out what more can we do with this problem,” Craighead told CHS. Continue reading →
“Walking While Black” Always Dangerous Until Proven Otherwise
On Saturday, February 7th at 2:00p.m., you are invited to bring your Woods, Irons, Wedges and Putters and join us at Cal Anderson Park Shelterhouse, 1635 11th Avenue, for “Walking While Black” Always Dangerous Until Proven Otherwise
WE WALK to finish the interrupted walk of a 69 year old Black Veteran/Civil Servant who on July 9, 2014, grabbed his putter and set out on a brilliant summer day. A day that would forever change both he and this city we call home.
Seattle Police have not announced a timetable for a report from commander Capt. Pierre Davis about Officer Cynthia Whitlach’s actions in arresting Wingate, her social media activity, and the East Precinct brass decisions not to more seriously discipline the officer for her actions. The Stranger reports that the FBI has been asked to assist in a wider SPD investigation around the officer’s actions.
“As a Chinese person, seeing fake Chinese decor in a club that is not owned by Chinese people makes my heart sink,” Panda writes. “No one should have to see their own race caricatured in a venue that hosts so many great touring bands.” Continue reading →
SPD’s report on the July 2014 incident puts on a happier face: “SPD Commanders first became aware of the incident in October 2014 after receiving an inquiry from former Washington State Representative Dawn Mason in which she raised questions as to the necessity of the arrest and charges. The 69-year-old man had already accepted a plea offer in this case. Dawn Mason worked with Chief Kathleen O’Toole and Deputy Chief Carmen Best to broker an organized discussion between residents and police about this case specifically as well as the relationship between the department and the community in general.”
Tuesday, in advance of “a media outlet” reporting on video released “as a result of a public disclosure request,” SPD posted this update its Blotter blog with a line you don’t see every day in police announcements: “Deputy Chief Best personally met with the man, returned his golf club, and offered an apology for his arrest.”
Wednesday, The Stranger’s Ansel Herz reported on this video of Officer Cynthia Whitlach’s July 2014 arrest at 12th and Pike of William Wingate, a black, 70-year-old veteran who happens to take very long walks while carrying a golf club as a kind of multi-purpose walking stick:
On the video, Officer Whitlach can be heard insisting that the recording would show Wingate swinging his golf club at her and hitting a stop sign with it. According to the SPD, there exists no video to back up this claim. (SPD did not make Whitlach available for comment.)
“The allegation that he swung at the police car,” said city council member Bruce Harrell, who subsequently got involved in the case, “wasn’t corroborated by any other facts and was not caught on any video. What was caught on video was him minding his own business with the golf club at his side.”
Whitlach, standing behind her car, shouts at Wingate to drop his golf club 17 times, and claims that “it is a weapon.”
“You just swung that golf club at me,” Whitlach yells.
“No, I did not!” exclaims Wingate.
“Right back there,” Whitlach says back. “It was on audio and video tape.”
Wingate ended up in jail and charged with unlawful use of a weapon for the incident on the same block as East Precinct’s 12th and Pine headquarters. According to muni court records, he agreed to a conditional continuance. In September, a judge dismissed the case at the “satisfactory completion” of the agreement. Continue reading →