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Alex Randall

The plainclothes King County officer who pulled a gun on an unarmed motorcyclist during a traffic stop in August has been suspended for five days without pay and additional training.

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King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht announced Detective Richard Rowe’s punishment during a press conference at the Sheriff’s Office headquarters, according to reporters in attendance. Johanknect wrote in a report that she cut down Rowe's suspension to five days from the recommended 10 because of mitigating circumstances, including stress that Rowe and his family went through due to media attention.

The suspension stems from a traffic stop on August 16 that was captured in a widely-shared video by motorcyclist Alex Randall. In the video, taken from Randall’s point of view, Rowe can be seen approaching the motorcyclist from behind with his gun drawn. He does not immediately identify himself as a law enforcement officer.

"Oh shit, what are you doing to me?" Randall asks.

"What do you mean what am I doing?" the detective says. "You're fucking driving reckless. Give me your driver's license or I'm going to knock you off this bike."

"I will pull over. I'm unarmed," Randall says.

Detective Rowe can be seen pulling Randall’s wallet out of his pocket. When Randall tells Rowe that he feels “a little panicked” about the gun drawn on him, Rowe says, “That’s right, because I’m the police.” The detective then accuses Randall of reckless driving, but lets him go and issues a citation.

Rowe was placed on paid administrative leave after Randall posted the video.

An internal investigation of the incident sustained complaints that Rowe violated policies regarding courtesy, conduct and identifying oneself as a police officer, but found that he did not use excessive force. Sheriff Johanknecht agreed with the first to findings, but exonerated Rowe on the identification claim.

"I believe that how soon you are able to identify yourself formally depends upon the situation and can't be judged based upon a set or predetermined time," Johanknecht wrote.

In her report, Sheriff Johanknecht also distanced herself from her predecessor, Sheriff John Urquhart, who publicly condemned Rowe's behavior as soon as the video surfaced. “What I’m gonna do with that video is I’m gonna share it with every single new recruit that comes into the sheriff’s office," Urquhart said at the time.

Johanknecht wrote that she disagreed with Urquhart's decision to speak on the matter before the incident was investigated. "I believe his comments were inappropriate, premature, and technically wrong," she wrote.

Urquhart lost to Johanknecht in the November election after a former deputy accused him of groping him in 2014. A prosecutor declined to press charges in the case.

As Sydney Brownstone reported, Rowe has received three driving or road rage related complaints over five years. Two were deemed minor violations, while the other was classified as a non-investigatory matter.