SEATTLE, Wash. -- A King County Sheriff’s deputy will be placed on administrative leave Tuesday after a video surfaced that shows the deputy confronting a motorcyclist with a gun during a traffic stop.
King County Sheriff John Urquhart said he didn’t want the deputy on the streets until the incident was investigated.
Based on the footage he saw Monday afternoon, Urquhart said he found the video to be upsetting and the deputy’s use of force likely violates department policy.
Alex Randall recorded the video while riding his motorcycle on August 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 on YouTube.
The footage shows Randall pulling up to a stop light. The deputy walks up to the left side of the motorcycle with a gun pulled close to his chest pointed at Randall. He does not show a badge or identify himself.
“What are you doing to me?” Randall said.
“What do you mean what am I doing?” the deputy said. “You’re (expletive) 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 said.
After a brief exchange, the deputy reached into Randall’s front pants pocket and took out Randall’s wallet to get his ID.
“I’m sorry. You have a gun drawn on me, so I’m a little panicked,” Randall said.
“You’re right, because I’m the police,” the deputy said. “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.”
After looking at Randall’s ID, the deputy put his gun away. He identified himself as with the King County Sheriff’s Office and told Randall he could be arrested for reckless driving.
In a post at the end of the YouTube video, Randall claimed he was not traveling 100 miles per hour, writing that the deputy’s comment was “a fabrication and an exaggeration.”
Sheriff Urquhart posted the following statement on Facebook Monday night:
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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