Jesse Wineberry, a candidate for the 9th Congressional District, says he was racially profiled by police, among other incidents, following a mischaracterization in a Seattle Times editorial endorsing his opponent.
Jesse Wineberry, a Democrat running for Congress in the 9th District, says he was racially profiled by Seattle police in a recent incident outside Safeco Field.
In a Thursday news conference, Wineberry also said some of his campaign signs have been destroyed and he received a racially charged phone call — all after a Seattle Times editorial mischaracterized a statement he made in an endorsement interview.
Wineberry said he was detained by police July 20 on suspicion of traveling alone in a stolen rental van.
After complying with orders to get out of the minivan, Wineberry said he was placed into handcuffs and read his Miranda rights. Cellphone video taken by a spectator and obtained by his campaign shows Wineberry standing outside the van and surrounded by five police officers while his wrists are placed into handcuffs.
Wineberry said the minivan had been reported stolen after a misunderstanding with the rental-car company. He said that unbeknown to him, his campaign staff had failed to extend the rental agreement for the van.
After being detained, Wineberry said police transported him to the department’s south precinct. He was released several hours later, after investigators “put two and two together,” he said. But before leaving the precinct, Wineberry said he filed a complaint against the department, alleging he was racially profiled.
“I think I was stopped because of the vehicle,” he said “I think the way I was treated was because I was African American.”
In a released statement, Seattle police said Wineberry was “uncooperative” during the traffic stop, adding that department officials are reviewing his allegations in keeping with its bias-free policing policies. Police released a dashboard-camera video of the incident Thursday night, though most of the action appears off camera.
The police stop was the latest in a series of events that began after a statement he made was mischaracterized in a Seattle Times editorial published online July 14 and in print July 22, Wineberry said.
The editorial endorsing Rep. Adam Smith, the incumbent Wineberry is challenging, incorrectly stated that Wineberry had questioned the ability of a white man to represent a district whose constituents are predominantly racial or ethnic minorities. Smith is white.
In fact, Wineberry said he could do a better job of representing disenfranchised groups than Smith.
“I was disgusted and dismayed,” Wineberry said of the error. “The reason I’m challenging Adam Smith is that I think we can do better, not because of his race.”
In a news release, Wineberry accused The Times of “race-baiting” in the editorial.
Kate Riley, The Seattle Times editorial page editor, said after reviewing notes and a recording of Wineberry’s candidate interview, the editorial board concluded his comments had, indeed, been mischaracterized.
“We hate mistakes,” Riley said. “We want to be transparent. We want to be fair. As soon as we discovered the mistake, we corrected it.” The editorial was corrected online Wednesday and in print Thursday.
Since the editorial was initially published, Wineberry said several of his campaign yard signs have been destroyed, and his office has received at least one racially charged, threatening phone call.
Wineberry called the sequence of events “bizarre.” When pressed if he believed there was a connection between the editorial and the incidents he said, “The timing is eerie if unintended.”