William Wingate Sues Officer Cynthia Whitlatch and the Seattle Police Department Alleging Racial Discrimination


70-yo man on a July day, and they refuse to give him water. That was something I wondered about when this was reported: she accosted him shortly after 1:00 pm and it's about 2:30 when he went into the van. All that time he was in the summer afternoon heat, and now we know they didn't give him water then or later.
Sad that our tax money is going to have to pay for this lawsuit, but this man was wronged, and his arrest was a travesty. And it wasn't just Whitlatch, it was everyone else in her chain of command and the prosecutor that went along with it.
@2, I'm not sad at the prospect that this gentleman will clean up serious bucks after being mistreated and humiliated by that racist piece of crap w/ a badge. Maybe the city will get serious about better screening and training of cops if they have to lose a big chunk of money from the budget.
Money matters, and this will make the city police department think twice before acting like brutes.
@4, SPD consumes roughly a quarter of the city's ~$1Bn general fund every year, and spends the lion's share of it on staffing.

Compared to what we pay our cops every year, a couple hundred grand would be a rounding error.

Maybe you don't live in Seattle. Otherwise, "they" and "the city" are you and me. "The budget" is our taxes. I am sad that my money is going to pay for the despicable behavior of an officer. That doesn't mean the victim shouldn't be compensated.
True justice would be to doc every cop's pay to finance the payouts. The percentage of their paycheck goes up according to their level of responsibility.

Basic message: when you train, tolerate, and protect the bigots, you'll have to pay for it.

It would be, except you wanna guess how much Seattle paid out for police misconduct verdicts & settlements between 2005 and 2012? Total?

Just shy of $4.5 mil.

Now you wanna guess how much SPD employees took home in salary and overtime during those same years? Total?

About $1.5 billion.

Meaning, if we spread the cost of police misconduct verdicts & settlements evenly across the force, we'd be talking about a hypothetical penalty of less than one third of one percent of annual compensation.

That'd totally show 'em.
@8, really ?
John T Williams was 1.5 million and and Brian Torgerson was 1.75... or is that why you cut off at 2012 ?
@7 great idea, if you want to have absolutely no one accept a job at the SPD .. and those remaining taking zero risks in their duties.

I get what you're saying, Yo. But I don't really see a path to meaningful police reform that doesn't involve hitting them in the pocketbook as hard as possible for bad behavior. Dreadful SPD behavior will improve when we make the costs of not improving it too high for politicians and leadership to bear. Democratic pressure and protest can help, but it won't be enough. If you want a better, less abusive, more professional and accountable police force, you should cheer on lawsuits like this pretty unequivocally.
@7 "True justice would be to doc every cop's pay to finance the payouts."

That's pretty close to the opposite of true justice. I wouldn't necessarily be opposed to such a scheme for leadership--those with command accountability. But justice requires honoring contracts made. A world in which workers negotiate a contract, and execute the terms of their contract, and see the contract violated because someone they had no control over screwed up isn't a contract at all. There are few things more antithetical to justice than collective punishment.
@2, Reverse Polarity wrote, "it wasn't just [Officer Cynthia Whitlatch #6229 of Seattle Police Department], it was everyone else in her chain of command and the prosecutor that went along with it."

Agreed. Here's a list I previously offered:

  • Benjamin E. Archer #6938, who provided backup at the time of the incident

  • Chris Coles #6940, who wrote the incident report

  • Joe L. Lam #4767, who screened the arrest and approved the incident report

  • Lam's supervisor, who undoubtedly knows that Lam allows his subordinates to engage in fraud and abuse

  • All other SPD employees who have supervised Whitlatch, particularly he or she who allowed Whitlatch to train other cops for 13 years

  • All other partners who observed Whitlatch's on-the-job behavior, such as the one who stood by while she harassed the Metro bus driver who asked her to move her car from the bus lane

  • The OPA investigators who reviewed complaints about the Wingate incident, the complaint about Whitlatch's racist publications, and any other complaints about Whitlatch, resulting in completely ineffective outcomes

  • Those staff who, upon finding this shitstorm brewing [in late January], seemingly neglected to present O'Toole with a complete history of Whitlatch's employment history, complaints, and investigations.

  • Kathleen O'Toole, who neglected to demand the aforementioned history of Whitlatch

  • Mayor Ed Murray, who stepped into office and kicked some of SPD's best people to the curb simply because they were associated with former Mayor Mike McGinn, and who appointed a former SPOG vice president as interim chief

  • Murray's advisers on police matters, who like Murray, apparently know and/or care more about playing politics than about the internal workings of our police department
Individual police officers should be forced to pay for their own insurance against lawsuits, akin to the ridiculous malpractice premiums doctors are forced to pay.
@14: Yes, either they or their union should be required to do so. The cost of police misconduct should not be shouldered by the public.
@6, I'm an expatriate New Yorker living in Seattle and even though it's my taxes too, I'm still very cool with it. If the city and taxpayers don't like it, demand severe punishment to and better behavior from the SPD toward its citizens, particularly people of color who they seem to have a jones for screwing over.
@15: Yeah, that kill off any incentives for young men and women to become police officers.
Whitlach needs to go, the last thing Seattle needs right now are officers who act like her. I could have handled that situation better than she did and I have no police training whatsoever. In fact, I suspect most people could have handled that situation better than she did, too.
@17, not to worry. I'm sure there are plenty of brave slog readers chomping at the bit to sign up to be cops and show us how it's done.
@17 You mean like how having to carry malpractice insurance has stoppeed anyone from becoming a doctor or mandatory liability insurance means nobody drives cars any more?
Whitlatch being on paid leave is like giving her a vacation. She should be on unpaid leave while the investigation is happening; if she's exonerated, she gets back pay. At the very least, she should have her "administrative leave" paid at a considerably reduced rate compared to her duty salary. The contract with the union could make that change. Call it an inducement for better policing. Or are performance bonuses not permitted public servants these days?
@13: Well if rookies just out of the Academy and meds whom just completed their residency made the same salary, you might have a point. Your auto insurance comparison is ridiculous.

Still better yet: Torte reform!
@20 You are overlooking how a Dr, as a partner in their practice... differs from, say, the nurses who are employees of the practice... Or cops, who are employees of the city.

That said, the officer is not without some liability in the incident.
@23 you are very willing to disassemble your own arguments when actual logic smites your nose.
I'm really glad Wingate is suing that bitch.
@23, you want to reform tortes? I don't think those excellent desserts need any reform at all.

Assuming you mean tort reform, apparently you want to take away peoples' freedom to sue in a court of law. I thought conservatives were all about freedom.

The data I have cuts off in the middle of 2013, so for consistency's sake I only counted through EOY 2012.

I forgot to mention that those $4.5mil in payouts from 2005-2012 were spread over 62 incidents. So, averaging them out, we get around $72k per. Which makes big settlements like Williams and Torgerson very much the exception.
@27: I prefer a multi-layered approach to torte reform, with a delicate icing between the layers. :)

In regard to tort reform, don't you think this is a bipartisan thing? You can have a right-wring developer suing a parched town over water rights for a golf course, or a left-wing feminist suing an abortion clinic for a botched abortion (e.g. the baby made it into the world) - all in all it's all a cash cow for attorneys and contributes to the glacial pace or our judicial system.

Suing is indeed a right. But there should be ramifications for both the plaintiff as well as the defendant.

@29 Right and making it both harder and less profitable to hold the police and by extension the Government liable for abusing our Civil Rights will reduce police misconduct.

Yep works for me.
@12 That's a very good point. The reason I propose it is because cops have already adopted themselves into a collective. It's called the Blue Wall of Silence. It is what puts and maintains the bigots in uniform. Cynthia Whitlach didn't pop out of nowhere, demonstrating her bigotry in a single incident that no one saw coming. It was pretty obvious what kind of person she was, and none of her co-workers, bosses, or trainers did anything about it.

They have accepted themselves as a single unit, therefore they should be punished as a single unit.

@10 That is exactly the fucking point. There isn't a single cop on the force now that's worth the badge. The so-called "Good Cops" are the cowards who protect the thugs and the bigots. It's called Aiding and Abetting and every single cop on the force is responsible for it. Did you hear about the cops in MO who all resigned because a black mayor was elected? Good riddance.

@8 Have some fucking imagination. You calculate the award according to what you penalize each cop, not use their wages to fill a pre-set sum. The base award starts at 4% of the low-level cops' yearly salary, going up to 8% for the Captains. You want to give up 4% of your annual salary each time your coworker goes on a bigoted rant? You gonna stand up for them, protect them, look the other way?
@30: It is not only about private party vs. government, it is also about private party vs. private party
It never ceases to amaze me how liberals only get their feathers ruffled over government intrusion only when it upsets their provincial dispositions.
@32 Right I agree and through tort reform we can make it harder for the public to collect damages from the police when the police abuse them for no reason. If the police are freed from the fear of being held to account for their behavior their behavior will improve. I completely agree the soundness of your reasoning.
@33: You always seem to twist my words to justify your means.
@35 "Twist" your words, nah. I deny that. On the other hand I did make an assumption that may be incorrect.

I assumed that you GayApologistDudeforallthingsRepublicanandRainy were calling for Tort reform to make it harder to to recover damages from from the Police for their misconduct. It is possible that you are calling for Tort reform to make it easier to hold the Police to account for their misconduct.

So if indeed Raindrop you actually want to use Tort reform to increase Police accountability enlighten me, how would you go about it?
You kinda wonder why the OPA is even bothering investigating. Like (literally) 99.98% of investigations they have reviewed, they will come to the conclusion that the cop was in the right. And its not a shock when you consider, of the 5 OPA staff members 3 are cops/excops, 1 is a random private business owner and 1 is a former Seattle Public Schools teacher from the 'bad era' of SPS when administrative racism ran rampant.

Thats an AMERICAN problem. Cop unions + their political bullying and bottomless funds via federal grants + public servant state protections = Its near impossible to issue a 'for cause dismissal' for cops in Washington state.

They can spray a bus filled with homeless low income minority children with bullets, and so long as they use the magic words "I thought my life was in danger" not only can they almost never be fired, if they are fired they can sue for back pay up to 1 year and attorney fees...and most of the time THEY WIN....which is more explanatory of just how bad judges and prosecutors are along next to cops in Washington....and America in general.
@1 Allegedly didn't give him water
@36 and @39. It's not a problem with cops but with any government employee. The due process clause of the Constitution grants public employees rights that the private sector employees lack. It costs over $200,000 to fire a teacher. We have fire fighters working for the Seattle Fire Department that have off-duty charges of DUI that are driving truck on-duty. My uncle spent five years firing an employee of his at the Corps of Engineers. You have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt to a civil service or other administrative body that the employee in question didn't do something that they were supposed to or did something they weren't. In addition, you have to prove the punishment matches the act or omission and that the punishment you are proposing matches that of other employees found to have done the same thing or something similar If you lose, the employee appeals up the chain or into court.
@39. Here's a novel idea, how about not resisting arrest or assaulting the officer if you don't want to get shot? Pretty simple really.
@42 here's a novel idea, don't post comments on webpages that make you look like a total jackass. I'd share this idea with raindrip too but he clearly doesn't care how stupid he makes himself look.
I was pulled over by Whitlatch in 2011 on Capitol hill, while riding my motorcycle. Speeding she said. She behaved poorly for such a trivial traffic stop, lecturing me, yelling, giving conflicting orders to me regarding taking my helmet off, getting off the bike, etc. If she were the citizen in this instance and If I were the cop witnessing her, and I was working under SPD's apparent "standard" of cop behavior . . . I would have smashed her arrogant face in with the butt of my pistol. Here's a real question: Why aren't the 2nd-Amendment types rising up violently with their firearms in response to such overt tyranny?
@42 So JonnoN are you going to catch the red-eye to Baltimore? You don't want to mess out on all the free stuff