A detective in Washington state was placed on administrative leave Tuesday after video of a controversial traffic stop surfaced in which he’s seen pointing his gun at a motorcyclist without identifying himself.
The man on the bike, Alex Randall, was wearing a helmet camera when he was pulled over on Aug. 16 by the King County Sheriff’s detective.
“This video shows the boldness of the King County Sheriffs Deputies and lack of fear of repercussions in threatening and intimidating an unarmed citizen with excessive use of force,” Randall wrote at the beginning of his YouTube video.
Randall was sitting at a traffic stop when the detective came up behind him with his gun drawn.
“How ya doin?” the detective asks, startling Randall.
“Oh shit, what’re you doing to me?” the motorcyclist says.
“What do you mean what am I doing?” the detective said. “You’re fucking driving reckless. Give me your driver’s license or I’m going to knock you off this bike.”
“I will pull over. I am unarmed,” Randall said, as the detective demanded to see some identification. Randall asked the detective if he could turn his vehicle off, but the detective continued to demand identification, eventually reaching into his pocket for his wallet.
“That’s my wallet,” Randall said. “I’m not armed.”
“I’m sorry, you have a gun drawn on me so I’m a little panicked,” Randall said.
“That’s right, cuz I’m the police!” the detective said. “When you’re driving and you’re going to place people at risk at 100 miles an hour plus on the god dang roadway.”
Randall asked if he could turn his bike off and take off his helmet, and from there things cooled down. The detective holstered his weapon, and that’s when he said he was with the King County Sheriff’s Office.
At the end of the video, Randall wrote that “the statement that I was going ‘100+ miles per hour’ is a fabrication and exaggeration.”
“I believe this man simply felt I was riding too aggressively and decided to use his authority to scare and lecture me,” he wrote.
In a Facebook post early Tuesday morning, King County Sheriff John Urquhart said he was pulling the unnamed detective off the streets pending an investigation.
“With the caveat that I have not yet heard the other side of the story, I was deeply disturbed with the conduct and tactics that were recorded,” Urquhart said.
“In every encounter I expect my deputies to treat others with respect,” he continued. “Our manual requires that firearms not be drawn and pointed unless the deputy believes their use may be required. Generally that means the deputy believes the safety of him or herself is in jeopardy, or a member of the public. Drawing your weapon on someone when investigating a misdemeanor traffic offense is not routine. All of these issues will be covered in a full investigation. In the meantime, the detective involved will not be working with the public.”