Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

King County sheriff fires deputy who posted 'All Lives Splatter' meme

King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht
Ted S. Warren
/
The Associated Press
King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht

King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht has fired a longtime detective for Facebook posts that mocked and endorsed violence against racial justice protesters.

The sheriff found Detective Mike Brown “badly damaged confidence and trust in the Sheriff’s Office,” The Seattle Times reported. Brown was formally fired Thursday, according to the sheriff’s findings following a due process hearing.

He had been a deputy for over 40 years who had been a member of the protection unit assigned to King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Johanknecht found Brown’s actions violated deputy performance standards related to social media policies and separately amounted to “Conduct Unbecoming,” a serious breach of the Sheriff’s Office’s core values that brings discredit upon the agency.

“Several of your posts endorsed and advocated unnecessary/excessive use of force and violence,” Johanknecht wrote in a nine-page memo to Brown detailing her findings. “They demonstrated extreme indifference to life and racial equity.”

Brown can challenge his termination through a grievance process. King County Police Officers Guild President Mike Mansanarez didn't immediately respond to messages from the newspaper on Friday.

Among the posts was a meme July 4 that depicted a vehicle striking a person and reading “ALL LIVES SPLATTER.” Brown posted the meme the same day a driver hit two protesters on Interstate 5 in Seattle. One of the protesters, Summer Taylor, later died.

After complaints emerged about the detective’s posts, Gov. Jay Inslee — who is a cousin of Brown’s — tweeted he was “deeply disappointed” with Brown’s “inflammatory comments.”

The Associated Press (“AP”) is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. On any given day, more than half the world’s population sees news from the AP. Founded in 1846, the AP today is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. The AP considers itself to be the backbone of the world’s information system, serving thousands of daily newspaper, radio, television, and online customers with coverage in text, photos, graphics, audio and video.