King County sheriff’s detective under investigation for social media posts

A King County sheriff's detective is under investigation for social media posts that seem to make light of the deadly crash involving protesters on Interstate 5.

In the hours following the early Saturday morning crash, Detective Mike Brown with the King County Sheriff's Office posted a meme on Facebook, which shows people getting hit by a truck and the words "All Lives Splatter."

“This has taken priority with me. And I’ve asked the undersheriff to make sure that our internal investigation command understands this is their top priority right now,” said Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht.

Johanknecht said her office received multiple complaints Sunday night. Monday morning, she ordered that the internal investigation be expedited. Johanknecht said the investigation will include other sheriff’s office employees who may have participated by reacting or commenting on the posts. She wouldn’t say how many posts were under investigation. Although Brown’s page has now been taken down, KIRO 7 found another post where he wrote, “I see a couple of people got infected with Covid-19 from the hood of a car on I-5 last night.”

On Tuesday, Gov. Jay Inslee took to Twitter to issue a statement in response to the posts. In his tweet, he indicated Brown is his cousin.

KIRO 7 asked Johanknecht if she was worried the posts could further erode public trust because they appear to either engage or celebrate violence.

“I don’t want to speak specifically about the posts now. Like I said, it’s a longer story to tell you about how our internal investigations take place, the involvement of oversight with them and interviews, so I don’t want to quantify something that’s currently under investigation and, thereby, potentially damage our ability to do a proper investigation,” said Johanknecht.

Johanknecht did, however, share that Brown is currently assigned to executive protection detail. He has been with the sheriff's office for more than 40 years.

“That’s awful. It is,” said the Rev. Harriet Walden with Mothers for Police Accountability when she learned about his tenure with the sheriff’s office.

Walden slammed the posts and believes there's more to it.

“The heart is the center of your character, and that is his character. So now, let’s find out how many complaints he has. The door’s open,” Walden said.

Although the investigation is expedited, Johanknecht wouldn’t give a timeline as to when it will be complete. However, she promises a thorough investigation, which also includes the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight.