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Board to hear appeal on East Precinct cop fired for racial bias

The Seattle Police Department’s Discipline Review Board is set to hear an appeal from the former East Precinct cop fired for racial bias in a 2014 Capitol Hill “walking while black” case.

An SPD representative tells CHS that the appeal from the Seattle Police Officers Guild and former officer Cynthia Whitlatch is moving forward and will likely be heard later this month.

Whitlatch was fired in 2015 for “sustained policy violations involving bias, abuse of police discretion, and escalation of a contact” in her July 2014 arrest of William Wingate, a black veteran in his 70s who happens to take very long walks while carrying a golf club, and had a run-in with the veteran officer on a summer day at 12th and Pike just a block from East Precinct headquarters. In 2016, a jury agreed that Wingate’s rights had been violated in a civil case brought against the department.

The appeal will be heard by “a three-member body stacked two-to-one with police officers,” the Stranger’s Ansel Herz wrote when he broke the news on the appeal last summer.

The police union and the Murray administration, meanwhile, continue behind the scenes negotiations on a new contract that is hoped to cap off years of changes under the federal consent decree ordered to overhaul the department in the wake of several excessive force violations by SPD officers.

UPDATE 3/31/2017: The discipline review hearing has been continued “with no date currently set for when it will occur.”


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