- James Bible, attorney for pepper-sprayed teacher Jesse Hagopian, speaks at a press conference today at City Hall.
The Seattle Police Department has had a rough day. First, there were the revelations of how its officers arrested an elderly black military veteran while he walked through Capitol Hill last summer. This morning, SPD sought to portray how it handled that case—a deputy chief later apologized to the man—as a "win" for the department.
The policewoman who yelled at William Wingate to drop his golf club, which he was using as a cane, is Officer Cynthia Whitlatch.
In the afternoon, we asked whether these crazy, racist Facebook posts came from her. Brian Davis, a black gay man who lives in Seattle, said he was so alarmed by the posts that he submitted a complaint to the Office of Professional Accountability about them.
In both cases, from what we know so far, the only consequence for Whitlatch was that she was "talked to" by her supervising officer.
Also at City Hall today, Garfield High School teacher Jesse Hagopian held a press conference and released video of himself and several bystanders being indiscriminately pepper-sprayed by Seattle police.
I've asked the Seattle Police Department, including Chief Kathleen O'Toole directly, as well as Mayor Ed Murray, for comment on today's news. But I haven't heard anything back yet.
"The silence from the mayor's office and from Chief O'Toole concerning SPD's actions in both the MLK pepper-spraying matter and the false statement in the Wingate matter is deafening," said Seattle/King County NAACP economic chair Sheley Secrest at today's press conference.
Secrest addressed Mayor Murray directly. "Don't attend an NAACP Black Lives Matter march and rally one day saying that you stand against injustice in Ferguson," she said, "and then sit idly by when the truth is revealed that injustice sits squarely in Seattle."