An unidentified gunman, later revealed to be a King County detective, sticks up a motorcyclist at gunpoint. Screenshot via YouTube user Squid Tips, aka Alex Randall

Cops and Conduct

County Sheriff Identifies Detective Who Threatened Motorist at Gunpoint

Richard Rowe, 53, is a county Detective assigned to the Woodinville Police Department.

The King County Sheriff’s office has identified the detective who pointed a gun at a motorist during a traffic stop without initially identifying himself as a police officer. Richard Rowe, 53, is a detective with the Sheriff’s office assigned to Woodinville Police Department, according to a Sheriff’s press release. Rowe has been with the Sheriff’s office for almost 19 years. According to the Tacoma News-Tribune, he earned a little more than $100,000 for his work last year.

The incident occured in Shoreline, at 145th and 5th, on August 16. A spokesperson for the Sheriff’s office said the location of the stop was within Rowe’s jurisdiction as a county law officer, even though he is assigned to Woodinville.

YouTube user Squid Tips (identified as Alex Randall by KIRO 7) published the video on Monday. According to the video’s title, the actual stickup occurred on Wednesday, August 16. In text included in the video, Randall says that he has filed complaints with the Sheriff’s Department, the Office of the Ombudsman, and the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO). “The 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,” he wrote.

In response to the video, on Tuesday morning King County Sheriff John Urquhart posted on his personal Facebook page that “I have ordered the detective to be placed on administrative leave as of Tuesday morning pending a full investigation of the facts.

“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,” he wrote.

Urquhart told KIRO 7 that he plans to use the video as a training tool for new recruits, so they “know specifically what they’re not allowed to do.”

Sheriff’s department has begun an investigation into the incident. Afterward, that investigation will be reviewed by the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight.

cjaywork@seattleweekly.com

This post has been updated.

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