Sound Stories. Sound Voices.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
You are on the KUOW archive site. Click here to go to our current site.

VIDEO: Guy pulls over motorcycle, points gun. Doesn’t mention he’s a cop

Screenshot of interaction between motorcyclist, Alex Randall, and King County Sheriff Detective Richard Rowe, August 16, 2017.
Screenshot from YouTube video by Alex Randall
Screenshot of interaction between motorcyclist, Alex Randall, and King County Sheriff Detective Richard Rowe, August 16, 2017.

Update 8/31/2017: The King County Sheriff's deputy placed on administrative leave after drawing his gun on a motorcyclist earlier this month has been identified as 53-year-old Richard Rowe. He's been with the sheriff's office for nearly 19 years.

The sheriff's office is investigating the incident.

Original story 8/30/2017:

Motorcyclist Alex Randall had his helmet camera turned on when he was waiting at a stop light. In the video recording, a man approaches Randall and points a gun at him. The man is a sheriff's detective, but he's wearing plain clothes and doesn't immediately identify himself.

The detective tells Randall that he was driving recklessly, asks him for his driver’s license, and tells Randall if he moves his bike, “I’ll knock you off.”

Randall asks why the detective has a gun pointed at him, says he is unarmed, and asks multiple times if he can remove his helmet and turn off the motor because he can’t hear the detective.

Randall says he wasn't issued a ticket after the stop.

The King County Sheriff's Office has started an investigation into the incident, which will include a review by the county's Office of Law Enforcement Oversight. Deborah Jacobs directs that office and specified that she could not comment on ongoing investigations.

However, Jacobs said it resembles a concerning type of complaint she gets, in which officers may disrespect civilians, sometimes without identifying themselves as law enforcement.

Jacobs: "Especially for non-white communities, African Americans in particular, you know [they] come forth with these kind of experiences and I don't think that they're taken seriously, and I hope that this video can serve as evidence for those who doubt that this kind of thing does happen."

Jacobs says she hears complaints from people that an officer drew a weapon on them and they didn’t know why, and that their stories are often not believed if there's no video. She says her office receives about 700 complaints about King County employees a year, many of which are ultimately dismissed.

The county investigation into the motorcycle stop could take up to six months. A sheriff’s spokesperson says the involved deputy is 53 years old and has been with the department for almost 19 years. The complainant, Alex Randall, and the deputy are expected to be interviewed by investigators by next week.

King County Sheriff’s Office policy does not explicitly require officers to file a report when they draw a weapon on a civilian. A use-of-force report is required when officers use deadly force, physical force, a Taser, chemical agent or pepper spray, among other things.