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