012915 William Wingate, man who was busted by overzealous Seattle cop just because he was carrying a golf club, leaves a Seattle law firm office. (No ID on the attorney,)
A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of William Wingate, a 70-year-old man who was arrested in July by a Seattle police officer who accused him of wielding a golf club he used as a cane as a weapon.
After spending just over 24 hours in the King County Jail, Wingate — who had never been arrested before — was released and all charges were ultimately dropped. The Seattle Police Department also apologized to him in Januaryand returned his golf club.
The suit was filed last week in King County Superior Court after a claim against the city seeking at least $750,000 in damages went unanswered for more than 60 days, according to court documents. A claim for damages is a required precursor to a lawsuit.
Named in the suit are the city of Seattle and Cynthia Whitlatch, the officer who arrested Wingate.
Wingate was targeted because he is black, according to the suit, which notes that Whitlatch, who is white, used her personal Facebook page last summer to make racially derogatory comments about African Americans, specifically men, around the time of Wingate’s July 9 arrest.
Wingate is seeking damages for race discrimination, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violation of his civil rights, according to the lawsuit.
Since his arrest, Wingate has been treated for depression and post-traumatic stress and is fearful of police officers he doesn’t know, the lawsuit says.
The suit notes Wingate served in the military and the Air Force Reserve before retiring in 1997, and drove a King County Metro bus for 35 years, during which time he “developed a collegial relationship” with Seattle police officers.
Wingate was arrested as he was walking to The Facts Newspaper office in Seattle’s Madrona neighborhood to pick up copies to deliver to fellow church members in an assisted-living facility, according to the lawsuit filed by attorneys Susan Mindenbergs and Vonda Sargent.
A call to Mindenbergs on Monday was not immediately returned. However, her paralegal later called to say a news conference is scheduled for 4 p.m. May 4 at Mindenbergs’ Pioneer Square law office and the attorney won’t comment on the lawsuit before then.
Kimberly Mills, a spokeswoman for Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday. The city typically does not comment on pending litigation.
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