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King County Sheriff's detective fired for controversial posts about Seattle protesters

The sheriff's office received an “unprecedented number of complaints” from the community about former Det. Mike Brown’s Facebook posts.

SEATTLE — A King County Sheriff's Office detective has been fired after making controversial posts about Seattle protesters and police violence on social media.

King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht terminated former detective Michael Brown Friday following an internal investigation and an "unprecedented number of complaints” from community members. Brown had been with the sheriff's office for more than four decades.

Brown was placed on leave in July during an investigation into eight Facebook posts the department received complaints about. The posts were made between June 1 and July 4, at the height of the Seattle protests against police violence and the creation of the Capitol Hill Organized Protest, also known as the CHOP.

Johanknecht said several of the posts “endorsed and advocated unnecessary/excessive use of force and violence” and “demonstrated extreme indifference to life and racial equity.”

One of Brown's posts showed a sticker with the illustration of people struck by a vehicle with the words "All lives splatter." It was posted shortly after a protester was killed and another injured after being struck by a car on Interstate 5 in Seattle. The interstate was closed for the protest.

Credit: KING
A screenshot of a Facebook post by King County Sheriff's Detective Mike Brown, who is on leave after the agency started investigating his posts that appeared to mock Seattle protesters who were struck by a car over the weekend.

According to Johanknecht’s Final Loudermill Results letter, the investigation found Brown’s "All lives splatter” post exhibited “callous disregard for life and the racial inequity message of the Black Lives Matter movement in particular.”

Another post appeared to mock the death of Lorenzo Anderson, a 19-year-old who was shot and killed during the CHOP.

Brown had an in-person hearing with Johanknecht to give his perspective on the social media posts. Johanknecht concluded that the posts, along with the negative response from the community, “badly damaged confidence and trust in the Sheriff’s Office.”

Although Brown was terminated from the sheriff’s office, he is entitled to challenge the termination through a union grievance procedure.

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