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King County Sheriff’s Deputy placed on leave for social media posts about protesters

A protest sticker is posted on a handrail above I-5 on July 4, 2020, in Seattle, where two protesters on the highway were critically injured after a car barreled into them earlier in the day. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

A King County Sheriff’s Deputy has been placed on leave for “concerning posts” that surfaced on social media over the weekend. The posts from Mike Brown appear to mock demonstrators who were hit by a driver on I-5 over the weekend — one of whom died, the second who remains in serious condition.

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One of the social media posts from Brown’s Facebook page is a graphic that reads, “All Lives Splatter” and depicted people being run over by a car.

King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht said there will be an internal investigation, and other Sheriff’s Office employees who may have interacted with the posts on Facebook will also be investigated.

The matter was immediately forwarded to the Internal Investigations Unit, according to a news release Monday from the King County Sheriff’s Office. The employee was placed on administrative leave and all his police powers have been suspended.

Brown has been with the sheriff’s office for more than four decades and was assigned to a protection detail for King County Executive Dow Constantine. He is also Governor Jay Inslee’s cousin. The governor Tweeted about the situation Monday.

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“We value all members of our community and are committed to serving everyone equally, with dignity and respect,” 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.”

Also commenting recently was the King County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO), citing “an unprecedented number of public inquiries” concerning the allegations against Brown.

“Community members expect law enforcement agencies to fulfill their commitment to public service – which means creating a culture that builds trust and belief in their legitimacy and commitment to fair and humane policing,” OLEO Director Deborah Jacobs said in a news release.

The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.

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