King County detective fired over Facebook posts about protesters struck on Seattle freeway

King County fired a detective who had been under investigation for Facebook posts that authorities said ridiculed protesters who were struck by a car on a closed freeway, one fatally.

Detective Mike Brown had been with the sheriff’s office for more than four decades and was most recently assigned to a protection detail for King County Executive Dow Constantine. The King County Sheriff’s Office said it was notified of the posts — including one that reportedly said "All lives splatter" — in July of 2020 and forwarded the matter to its internal investigations unit for an expedited review.

At the time, Brown was relieved of all police powers during the investigation.

According to the Washington State Patrol, Dawit Kelete drove his car around vehicles that were parked on Interstate 5 to protect a demonstration of Black Femme March, part of the Black Lives Matter movement, on July 4. He struck two and then sped away, investigators said. Video showed protesters screaming and scattering as the car approached.

Summer Taylor, a 24-year-old veterinary clinic worker, was killed. Diaz Love, 32, from Portland, Oregon, was in serious condition.

Kelete’s lawyer, John Henry Browne, said the crash was a "horrible, horrible accident" and was not intentional.

Screenshots of the Facebook posts shared on social media showed jokes about the protesters catching COVID-19 from the hood of a car as well as about the shooting death of a man near the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest in Seattle.

Johanknecht met with Brown on Nov. 9, 2020 which is allowed under a collective bargaining agreement.

Following a review of Brown's posts, Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht said he "badly damaged confidence and trust in the Sheriff’s Office."  She went on to say: "Several of your posts endorsed and advocated unnecessary/excessive use of force and violence. They demonstrated extreme indifference to life and racial equity."

Johanknecht found that Brown could no longer serve effectively as a law enforcement officer and his employment was terminated on Feb. 12, 2021.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.