SEATTLE — The King County Sheriff's Office said Monday it has placed a detective on leave as it investigates Facebook posts that ridiculed protesters who were struck by a car on a closed freeway over the weekend.
Detective Mike Brown has been with the sheriff's office for more than four decades. He is also part of King County Executive Dow Constantine's protection team.
The King County Sheriff's Office said it was notified of the posts — including one that reportedly said "All lives splatter" — on Sunday and forwarded the matter to its internal investigations unit for an expedited review.
Another post on the same account appeared to mock the death of Lorenzo Anderson, a 19-year-old who was shot and killed during the Capitol Hill Organized Protest, also known as CHOP.
King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht said that other sheriff's office employees who participated in reactions or comments on the posts will also be investigated and could face disciplinary action.
“Our intent is to make sure that we gather and do a good investigation that we do it thoroughly and I think the community expects that of us,” Johanknecht said.
“I want to be clear we value all members of our community and we are committed to serving everyone with dignity and respect,” she said.
The sheriff's office and the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight are investigating. There is no timeline on completion. The final decision on discipline will come from the sheriff.
Johanknecht said posts like the ones that Brown is accused of posting can undo the good work of other deputies and staff members.
"I've had the opportunity before to express what good work a lot of the members of KCSO do and majority do every day. It just takes one event like this that it tanks the entire office potentially,” Johanknecht said.
Brown's day-to-day responsibilities included being part of the Executive Protection Team. He has been in this role for several King County executives.
However, when reached, Constantine's office declined to comment.
"This is a King County Sheriff's Office internal personnel matter and an open investigation. As such, the Executive's Office defers comment," the office said in a prepared statement.
It was not immediately clear if Brown had obtained a lawyer. The King County Police Officers Guild did not immediately return an email seeking comment.