King County sheriff’s detective seen in video holding gun on motorcyclist is identified
SEATTLE — A King County sheriff’s detective who is being investigated after a video surfaced of him pointing a gun at a motorcyclist was identified Wednesday as Richard Rowe, 53, who has worked for the sheriff’s office for nearly 19 years.
The sheriff’s office said Rowe, who has been placed on paid administrative leave while he is under investigation, is currently assigned to the Woodinville Police Department. The city of Woodinville contracts with the King County Sheriff’s Office for police services.
King County Sheriff John Urquhart learned of the video on Monday night. After viewing the video, he ordered the incident to be investigated and the detective to be placed on administrative leave.
"There will be a full investigation of his actions, including a review by the Prosecutor's Office for criminal charges if warranted," the sheriff's office said.
SEATTLE -- A King County sheriff's detective has been placed on administrative leave after a "very troubling" video was published on YouTube of the officer holding his gun on a motorcyclist during a traffic stop, King County Sheriff John Urquhart said.
The sheriff said an investigation into the incident is underway.
Alex Randall, a motorcyclist from Shoreline, on Monday posted the video on YouTube of his August 16 encounter near the Seattle-Shoreline city line. In the video, Randall rides to a stop behind other vehicles at a red light. That's when a man with a gun walks up beside him and points the gun at him.
"I put my hands up, (said) don't shoot," Randall said. "I'm staring at the weapon at his finger, trying to see if he's gonna shoot me, basically."
Randall told Q13 News in a phone interview that he didn't believe he was doing anything wrong. He said later that Urquhart had called him to personally apologize for the detective's behavior.
The video shows the detective, who Urquhart did not name and identified only as a detective in Woodinville, walk up to the stopped motorcyclist without identifying himself and with his gun already drawn and pointing toward Randall for allegedly speeding and reckless driving.
Urquhart said the YouTube video came to his attention at about 5 p.m. Monday. He said he had placed the detective on administrative leave, effective Tuesday morning. The sheriff said he had called to apologize to Randall.
"I haven't heard the other side of the story, but I don't like what I see," the sheriff told Q13 News. "There's nothing standard about approaching a driver with a pistol out. That should not have happened."
Urquhart said he had not talked to the detective to get his side of the story yet, but that he found the video "very troubling" and emphasized it is never OK to pull a gun on an unarmed person during a traffic stop when the officer doesn't feel threatened.