SEATTLE – A detective in the King County Sheriff’s Department in Washington has been suspended after he was recorded pulling a gun on a motorcyclist during a routine traffic stop on Aug. 16. Rider Alex Randall was wearing a helmet camera and had just pulled up to a stoplight on his Yamaha R1 when the officer in plain clothes approached him from behind with a gun held tight to his chest.
In the video, which was posted Monday on YouTube, the startled and terrified rider exclaims, “Oh shit, what are you doing to me?”
The detective responds, “What do you mean what am I doing? You’ve been fucking driving reckless. Give me your driver’s license or I’ll knock you off this bike.”
In a graphic added to the video, Randall reports that the officer did “not show a badge, provide a name or give me a citation.” He added that he “was not physically hurt, only scared and angry.”
The story soon made the local TV news. KIRO 7 interviewed King County Sheriff John Urquhart, who immediately placed the detective on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation.
The detective suspended was later identified as Richard Rowe, who was ordered to turn in his King County Sheriff’s Office identification card and badge, duty sidearm and all other department-owned guns, department cell phone/pager, vehicle keys, keys for any department facilities, and department-assigned laptop computer.
“That is not the culture I want. That is not the culture I will tolerate,” the sheriff told the TV station. He added that he plans to use the video as a teaching tool for new recruits in the future as an example of improper conduct. “I want them to know exactly what they’re not allowed to do,” he said.
The sheriff later called Randall to apologize for the detective’s behavior. The investigation into the incident continues as the video is now going viral.
(Updated Sept. 3)
– By Bud Wilkinson