A Washington detective has been put on administrative leave after sharing posts on social media that appeared to mock protesters being hit by cars. The posts were shared after two people were struck by a car during a local Black Lives Matter protest.
According to local news station KIRO 7, Detective Mike Brown of the King County Sheriff’s Office posted an image of a bumper sticker on Facebook that read “All Lives Splatter; Get your ass off the road,” which showed protesters being run over by a car. Brown captioned “Gee...” on the photo.
In another post, he also wrote, “I see a couple of people go infected with COVID-19 from the hood of a car on I-5 last night.”
The post was particularly ill-received by some, since local protesters Summer Taylor and Diaz Love were struck by a car over the weekend during a Black Lives Matter demonstration called the Black Femme March. Taylor died from her injuries and Love is reportedly in critical condition.
King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht has since launched an investigation into Brown’s posts and said in a statement that the issue “has taken priority” with her.
“And I’ve asked the undersheriff to make sure that our internal investigation command understands this is their top priority right now,” she added.
On Facebook, the King County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the internal investigation began on Sunday (July 5) and has been expedited. The statement also said that officers who commented on or reacted to Brown’s post will also be investigated.
“We value all members of our community and are committed to serving everyone equally, with dignity and respect,” Sheriff Johanknecht said. “I will take swift action to thoroughly investigate when the conduct of Sheriff’s Office members fails to reflect our core values and violates Sheriff’s Office policy.”
On Tuesday (July 7), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee responded to the situation on Twitter, also revealing that Brown is his cousin.
“I’m deeply disappointed and totally reject the language of my cousin Mike Brown who made inflammatory comments about recent protests,” he wrote. “The language is unacceptable and just flat wrong, particularly from a law enforcement officer, as we try to heal the divisions of our community.”
See Gov. Inslee’s tweet and Brown’s post below.
I'm deeply disappointed and totally reject the language of my cousin Mike Brown who made inflammatory comments about recent protests. The language is unacceptable and just flat wrong, particularly from a law enforcement officer, as we try to heal the divisions of our community.— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) July 7, 2020
Oh my god. This is Mike Brown, who apparently works for the King Country Sheriff's Office. He posted this meme hours after two protesters were struck on the freeway a couple nights ago. This is one of the most offensive things I've seen in a long time. pic.twitter.com/4zm96vYhVo— Spek (@spekulation) July 6, 2020