Former Cop Cynthia Whitlatch Appealing Her Firing to Discredited Review Board

Comments

1
Whitlatch is the poster child for SPD's failed reform. What should be an open-and-close case is epic saga of costly proportions.
2
is _an_ epic*
3
Oddly enough, The Stranger seems consistently amazed that police unions do exactly what unions everywhere are supposed to do: represent the interests of their rank-and-file, both as individuals and collectively.

Unions do not exist to promote progressive politics (though they may find common cause with progressives). They do not exist to advance community interests in their workplace. They exist solely to protect and promote the interests of workers.

Where they represent workers in danger of being fired, the function they perform is analogous to that of a defense attorney in a criminal case. Presumably, that's not a controversial job either.

So I really don't understand why police unions get singled out for doing what unions do. Frankly, it makes you sound like Koch mouthpieces.
4
@3) You fail to realize that the police are not hired by privately unionized companies. The public & its government hire them / pay them, the job is recognized as having uniquely high standards due to the nature of the public work, and as critical public sector employees different rules apply. SPOG knows all this. They are singled out because they fight ruthlessly to get failed public servants back to their jobs of defeating public interest - which is counter to their stated purpose. Private sector union policies do not equate to the public sector, and for excellent / critical reasons.
5
My beef is with Ansel's use of the word "discredited". I'm sorry, did you mean "controversial review board"? Or "cop-friendly review board"? Or "questionably neutral review board"?
One of the many things about good journalism is that it entails reporting the facts in an objective manner and clearly separating the news from one's opinions on it. If you refuse to make that distinction, congratulations! You're no better than FOX News.
6
@4: So you are against unions for teachers, as well as all other government employees that provides a needed service?

Because to be logically consistent, you therefore must be.

@5: Ansel and his ilk know damn well they do the same shit FOX News does (unless they are even dumber than we could imagine), but they think it is perfectly fine because they are the "good guys."

Just like every other asshole in the world who demands rules and standards applied to everyone else, but never to themselves.
7
@3: "police unions get singled out for doing what unions do" - Except that they don't do what other unions do. They don't attend Seattle's annual MLK march, unlike other unions (the former SPOG prez Ron Smith once told me that would be a "good idea" to join the march and then never followed through). They don't participate in social justice movements or the labor movement (Smith has thrown shade at teachers unions on Facebook). They echo unhinged right-wing/Fox News talking points and attack Obama. Their culture, their politics, and the way they relate to the wider world is unusual compared with other major unions.
8
#3:

Police unions are also singled out because, universally, they refuse to admit that racist police violence against people of color exists, or that excessive or unjustified use of force against the public exists, as well as the fact that police unions equate any acknowledgment that those problems DO exist with collective hostility to police as human beings.

Black Lives Matter has made it clear that they don't want anyone attacking police officers and has condemned all such attacks when they occurred. So has every other major organization working on the issue. This isn't 1969 and nobody is shouting "Off the pigs!"

NO one, other than a disturbed, paranoid, and minutely small numbers fraction of those who campaigns against police racism and police violence towards nonviolent demonstrators wants police officers to be injured or killed(the cases in which police were killed in response to protests about police racism turned out to be mentally unstable individuals who would likely have killed or harmed other people no matter what else had occurred or been said about anything in the areas where those killers lived and died). Most don't want the police abolished(although they would call for significant changes in how the police do their jobs).

SPOG and other police unions would lose nothing if, while defending the interests and rights of their members, they at least admitted that racist police violence is an issue that needs to be addressed and that some cops are guilty of it.
9
The first line of that second paragraph should read "No one, other than a disturbed, paranoid, and minutely small fraction of those who campaign against police racism and police violence towards nonviolent demonstrators..."
10
@7 Could you also respond to the accusations of bias in your reporting? Seriously, its in nearly every story that you've posted.

You might also be interested to know the police are at most public events, you know doing their jobs.
12
@4 I'm guessing you're also a crusader against corrupt, entitled teachers unions.
13
@11: The amount of things you don't know could fill another universe.

Try using Google, you will find case after case of teacher's unions covering for teachers who have been caught engaging in molestation, rape, assault, and various other unsavory behaviors.

Try actually attempting to find out about things before you proclaim what is fact. Because it really makes you look like an idiot.
14
@7 As I stated, unions do not exist to serve left wing politics. It's nice if they do, but it's not their core mission.

Likewise, solidarity is definitely a union tradition and an important tool in collective bargaining, but it's not an end in itself.

Unions exist to promote the interests of workers in a particular workplace, period.

@4 I agree, when dealing with public agencies, the community has a right to be involved. But that doesn't mean workers shouldn't have a voice too. That voice is their union. And just because you don't like what they have to say doesn't mean they don't have a right to say it.
15
@11 Police officers are a special case in that, while there are definitely cops who are bad actors, there are also by definition bad actors on the other side who can and will allege police malfeasance as a tactic for escaping their own legal problems. This is precisely why this issue is such a difficult one to solve.

Beyond that, as someone who has screwed up in the workplace myself in the past, I can tell you having someone else in your corner, even, especially, when you are in the wrong is also something that workplaces definitely need.

That is precisely what unions are for.
17
@6) I am pro-union you presumptuous idiot. You have zero critical thinking skills. Every one of your posts is a declaration of your stupidity. Next.
18
@13:

Part of a union's mandate is that it will defend their members in grievance arbitrations, and while they certainly try to balance the scope and seriousness of the complaint against the likelihood of success, it's really no different than how our legal system works in general: a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Normally such reviews are adjudicated by an impartial arbiter assigned by the NLRB whose decision would be legally binding on both parties and without recourse to further appeal. This is one reason grievances for unfair termination are very rarely initiated, because it requires an exceedingly high standard of proof, and if the adjudication goes against the complainant (which it does more often than not) they're SOL. But, it's very different from this situation where the review is being handled by a local board stacked with members from the complainant's own union who have an obvious conflict-of-interest; just one reason, among many I presume, critics want it dissolved.
19
@16: Yes, as I have a working brain. It is not my job to hold your hand through the myriad of things you are either incapable of following, or too lazy to do so, but here is the first result that popped up for me:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-…

A teacher was caught and sentenced to prison for repeatedly raping a young student. The union went to court to attempt to preserve his severance package, and refused to do anything about several teachers who wrote letters urging the school to keep the serial rapist employed.

Here is another article which gives a good rundown of many cases in New York where union-backed and enforced arbitration practices kept several known abusers of children employed:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB1000087239…

There, that took like twenty seconds and I only took articles that were on the first page of my search results. So stop being so damn lazy/stupid and do something for yourself from now on, little buddy.

@17: So you have no real logical consistency or philosophical integrity for your argument. You are pro-union, except for one group of public employees. I was just checking, no need for to get so angry. No one ever said you can't enjoy your own cognitive dissonance, so go nuts, but you can't make the immature demand that no one call you on your lack of any real argument other than your feels.
21
@4, "which is counter to their stated purpose".

What does that mean? How do you know what the SPOG "...stated purpose " is? Are you a member of the Guild? An executive board member?

If not, then how can you say they're not acting in the best interest of their members? Whether a union is public or private doesn't change their core mission. Which is what the union decides is in the best interest of its members.
22
She's got a point. With all the other racist cops getting a pass, why shouldn't she?
23
@19:

Perhaps you should have done a bit more research yourself.

The grievance in the Michgan case was withdrawn by the union once it was determined the district's settlement with other teachers over severance fulfilled their legal obligation to protect their members' contractual rights.

In the WSJ article, it's pointed out many of the cases didn't even involve teachers, but rather staff and administrators (who aren't protected by union contracts BTW), and of those that did, the arbitrator did not find sufficient evidence to warrant the charges, again, that pesky "innocent until proven guilty" thing we all agree to in this country. In addition, several of the examples cited are nearly a decade old, and in at least two cases the arbitration went against the teachers. However, it's also significant to note that in on case, that of Steven Ostrin, accused in 2007 of inappropriate conduct with a student, not only was his grievance upheld, but he was later acquitted of criminal charges, something the subsequent NY Post article failed to note.

The links posted by @20 are also questionable. In the first example, the teacher's union did not initiate any sort of grievance; it was the teacher themself who requested an appeal of their termination to an independent "tribunal" consisting of one teacher, one administrator, and one layperson from outside the district, and it was this body that reinstated them, as the article linked clearly indicates. It's also significant to note this teacher was also acquitted of any criminal charges..

In the second example, again, according to the article, no grievance was filed by the union, and the decision to reinstate the teacher was made (unanimously) by the district's School Board, not an outside arbitrator.

In the case of the Wisconsin teacher fired for looking at "explicit images", his grievance was upheld in both circuit and appellate courts and a final appeal by the district was denied by the State Supreme Court; a pretty strong indication his grievance, that he was unfairly fired when other teachers received lighter reprimands for similar offences, had merit.

The Albuquerque teacher accused of committing fraud in 2013 from business activities unrelated to his teaching was also reinstated by the district superintendent, and not based on any grievance filed by the union. To this date the teacher, William Kalinowski, has still not been convicted of a crime.

The final link indicates the teacher was reinstated by a state-appointed (not NLRB appointed, indicating the review wasn't filed by the union, but by the teacher personally) arbitrator, because the district failed to follow proper procedures in its investigation of the allegations, including failing to interview the students themselves. This teacher has also not been charged with any crime.
24
It's true that unions are essentially agents for members, and as such are obliged to defend members (at least those who have not been convicted of a crime). That's part of the failure of government unions, in my opinion: They should negotiate for wages, working conditions, benefits, etc, but when a member gets caught breaking the rules, it should be up to the governmental agency they work with to dole out the discipline. There are numerous HR policies in place to make sure the employee will get a fair hearing, and the amount of time and energy the union wastes on bad employees is demoralizing to the members who do their job.

SPOG should dump finks like Whitlatch and concentrate on the productive members, but they are obligated to defend her. Even if they didn't want to (and they probably do, since they have a victim complex) they would have to.
25
@24:

I don't know how things work in the Public Sector, but my union would have to very careful review any grievance before deciding to take it to arbitration. Some of that may be due to the fact that, if we lose, we can't go to the public trough to recoup the cost, or better still, just charge it off to whatever governmental agency signed the CBA. But, just based on some of the cursory research I did for my previous comment, it's also pretty obvious that a lot of HR policies, at least in the education sector, are not all that clear to begin with, which naturally would leave a lot of leeway for interpretation, so there's no reason for unions to not aggressively dispute disciplinary actions under those circumstances.
26
I can't speak for the professional unions (the trades, etc) but in my rather unnecessary union, they take on everything. Ironically, the employees who are the least productive, and complain most about the union, are the first ones to run to it when any attempt to correct their behavior is undertaken.

We have civil service protections. I don't understand why we have this additional layer of involvement, but we do.
27
Officer Whitlatch should win her appeal and be reinstated.

For everyone who's actually seen the video of the police encounter, two things become immediately apparent:

1) There's no video record of whether Wingate swung the golf club at Whitlatch or not. It is neither proven nor disproven. However, Whitlatch seems completely sure that it was caught on video when she is asking Wingate to put down his weapon for the first dozen times. It sure doesn't sound like a bluff to me -- it sounds like a police officer (incorrectly) confident that the camera has her back.

2) Wingate is a fucking tool from the start. When you're holding a weapon and a police officer wants to talk to you, it's common courtesy to set it down temporarily for everyone's safety. It's like during a traffic stop when you keep both hands on the wheel. Let the officer maintain control of force no matter whether the stop is legit or bullshit.

Wingate tries to get away with this crotchety old man routine, but that's no excuse. It would have been a simple matter for him to set his club down and then try to reason with the officer. He makes no attempt to do so. I put myself into Wingate's position and assumed he was falsely accused. I would have set the club down at the first direction and then continued asserting to the officer that I hadn't done anything wrong, and that she had been mistaken about what she had seen. Had Wingate done that, Whitlatch would probably have sent him on his way.

I'm glad to see that apparently the City Attorney has decided to take the civil suit to trial. Wingate doesn't deserve a nickel. And in contrast to the bleating from the anti-police posters on this blog, Whitlatch demonstrated enormous restraint in not just tasing the man for refusing her lawful disarmament order for the 15th time. Wingate could have been taken down pretty hard, but instead he kept running his mouth as he was frisked against the cop car.

I have no patience for police who brutalize citizens and think they can get away with it, and I also have no patience for citizens like Wingate who think they can hold on to a weapon when contacted by a police officer, only to file suit later for hurt feelings when they are eventually disarmed.
28
She has a lot of things going for her.

1- Shes a member/former member of the SPOG cop union thugs

2- Shes white.

3- Shes openly racist.

Most judges in Washington will give a blank check of acceptance to and one of those categories. 3? She can start counting her cash. Remember, Ian Birk murdered a native man, lied in the reports, went on the lamb and still got a slap on the wrist sentence WITH pay.

At some point, law enforcement because less accountable and similarly operational as the old klan in every city in America.
29
" At some point, law enforcement because less accountable and similarly operational as the old klan in every city in America. "

That should be "at some point, law enforcement BECAME less accountable and similarly OPERATED at the old Klan in every city in America".

Cellular comments aren't what they're made to be.
30
The collective bargaining agreement currently in force between the City of Seattle and the Seattle Police Officer's Guild, protects police officers from police brutality charges and places all the financial burdens onto the taxpayers of Seattle.

It's unfortunate to the victims of police brutality, and to all the taxpayers of Seattle that this collective bargaining agreement between the city and the Police Officer's Guild attracts a few bad apples that have cost us taxpayers millions of dollars. After all, beat your wife and you lose your gun, lose your gun and you lose your job.

So all this clause does in the collective bargaining agreement, is draw police officers who feel threatened by their wives, and police officers who can't handle the stress of their occupations, from as far away as the LAPD, to take out their frustrations on a handcuffed and restrained prisoner, or, on two young ladies, who made the mistake of opening their car window to ask a police officer for instructions, only to be pepper-spayed by that police officer.
31
Now is the time to let them work without a contract. Let them walk. The Guild agreement between the city and the self-proclaimed Seattle Police Officer's Guild is more of an organized crime family, not an organized labor agreement.

This agreement is designed to protect the police from police brutality complaints. It preserves a perpetrator's job security and specifically allows the union to make a decision as to whether an officer will be disciplined or not. It takes it away from the police chief and the mayor, they have no say in it. Allowing the police chief and mayor to make a unanimous decision, would provide better protection to the public, and provide a check and balance system. Only the ones who do not tow the union line will be disciplined because only the union is allowed to discipline its members.
32
The surest way to reduce excessive force complaints, is to renegotiate the collective bargaining agreement between the city, and the Seattle Police Officers Guild. This collective bargaining agreement is centered around protecting police, from police brutality complaints, and putting the costs as a burden to the taxpayers. Anyone can download a copy of the current collective bargaining agreement between the city and the Seattle Police Officers Guild and clearly see what the main tenements of the agreement is.
33
In reviewing the collective bargaining agreement, between the city and the United Steel Workers Union, local 9241, that's right, that's what I said, the Tukwila Police Department is represented by the United Steel Workers Union, local 9241. Article 15, specifies that the Employer retains the right to conduct rules and disciplinary actions against its police officers, if they are suspected of misconduct that would be grounds for termination. This is how most union agreements are. The city should renegotiate the current collective bargaining agreement with the guild, to be same as all other union contract agreements.
34
@3 Thus the need to circulate a petition to abolish all public service employee unions in Washington State.
35
@7 The Seattle Police Union isn't even a union. It is a guild. It is more of an organized crime family, than an organized labor organization. These people aren't even artisans.

The contract should be let to expire. Let them work without a contract. We shall see which ones are here to provide a public service and, which ones are here to line their pockets.
36
@19 Right on. That's why its important to circulate a petition to abolish public service employees in Washington State. To prevent the protection of incompetent workers in agencies like the SPD, DOC, CPS, and teachers unions to name a few, and to provide greater efficiency in all other state departments.
37
@19 Right on. That's why its important to circulate a petition to abolish public service employee unions in Washington State. To prevent the protection of incompetent workers in agencies like the SPD, DOC, CPS, and teachers unions, to name a few, and to provide greater efficiency in all other state departments.
38
Norm dear, you do realize that you are just talking to yourself, right? Also, you're repeating yourself. Are you having some sort of episode?
39
Catalina, you transvestite, what makes you think people give a hoot about you. You are just a SPDGuild shill.
40
@39: Talking to Mrs. Vel-DuRay like that isn't the wisest choice here on SLOG. Don't be such a prick.
@36: HAY GUISE THE POLICE ARE BEING JERKS SO LET'S BUST ALL TEH UNIONZ
Yeah no thanks.
41
Catalina Vel-DuRay, transvestite mannequin. I rather like the sound of that. I've always thought the word "transvestite" is under-appreciated in camp circles.

And what, dear heart, make you think I am a "Guild Shill"? If I am, I think I'm probably not a very good one. I haven't exactly been that warm to the idea of government unions (but then again, I'm not as crazy against them as you are. You're sort of coo-coo that way)