Disturbing Video Shows Wash. State Sheriff’s Deputy, With Gun Already Drawn, Confronting Motorcyclist During Traffic Stop

A King County, Wash., sheriff’s deputy is on administrative leave after shocking video footage surfaced that showed him confronting a motorcyclist, gun already drawn, in what people are supposed to believe is some sort of “traffic stop.”

King County Sheriff John Urquhart told King5 that he didn’t want the deputy, who remains unidentified, on the streets until the incident is investigated—although I’m not sure this deputy belongs on the street ever again, period.

Urquhart acknowledged that the video was upsetting and that the deputy’s use of force likely violated department policy.

The motorcyclist, identified by the news station as Alex Randall, recorded the video while on his motorcycle Aug. 16.

“This video shows the boldness of the King County Sheriffs Deputies and lack of fear of repercussions in threatening and intimidating an unarmed citizen with excessive use of force,” Randall wrote under his video post on YouTube.
In the footage, Randall can be seen pulling up to a stoplight on his bike, waiting for the light to turn, when suddenly, out of the corner, this deputy walks up with his gun drawn, held close to his chest and pointed at Randall. The deputy does not show a badge or identify himself, and a clearly frightened Randall immediately puts his hands in the air.

“What are you doing?” Randall asks in the video.

“What do you mean, what am I doing?” the deputy responds. “You’re fucking driving reckless. Give me your driver’s license or I’m going to knock you off this bike.”

“I will pull over, I am unarmed,” Randall says, clearly not comfortable with having a weapon trained on him (because it is freaking psychotic).

The deputy, who still hasn’t identified himself or shown a badge, by the way, again demands that Randall show his identification. Randall tells the man that he is going to turn off his bike and get off his bike, while asking for permission to remove his helmet, since he cannot hear properly.

The impatient deputy then takes it upon himself to reach into Randall’s pocket and remove his wallet, flipping through it for his ID before pulling it out on his own.

“I’m sorry. You have a gun drawn on me, so I’m a little panicked,” Randall says.

“You’re right, because I’m the police,” the deputy says. “That’s right. When you’re driving and you’re going to place people at risk at 100 miles an hour-plus on the God-dang roadway.”

Randall again asks if he can turn his motorbike off and remove his helmet, at which point the officer says, “Absolutely.”

After the deputy secures Randall’s ID, he all of a sudden becomes amiable and chatty, telling Randall that he should not be driving in such a way and saying that reckless driving is an “arrestable offense” and he could have Randall’s bike impounded.

Shortly after that, the video ends.

Sheriff Urquhart released a statement Monday, saying:

Late Monday afternoon I was sent a video of a traffic stop of a motorcyclist by a King County sheriff’s detective. With the caveat that I have not yet heard the other side of the story, I was deeply disturbed with the conduct and tactics that were recorded.

I have ordered the detective be placed on administrative leave as of Tuesday morning pending a full investigation of the facts.

In every encounter I expect my deputies to treat others with respect. Our manual requires that firearms not be drawn and pointed unless the deputy believes their use may be required. Generally that means the deputy believes the safety of him or herself is in jeopardy, or a member of the public. Drawing your weapon on someone when investigating a misdemeanor traffic offense is not routine. All of these issues will be covered in a full investigation. In the meantime, the detective involved will not be working with the public.

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