The King County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO) announced Tuesday, July 7, 2020 that it has received “an unprecedented number of public inquiries” about allegations against a King County Sheriff’s Office employee for posting an offensive meme and statements on Facebook.

This complaint has also been received by the Sheriff’s Office which has opened an investigation. OLEO says it is not permitted to comment on pending investigations; however, it says it “will fulfill its duties to monitor and review the investigation to ensure that the investigation is thorough and objective.”

In the meantime, OLEO has requested a meeting with Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht to discuss overarching community-voiced concerns about the organizational culture at the Sheriff’s Office. OLEO says it wants to address community mistrust and help ensure the Sheriff’s Office is working to improve the community’s confidence in leadership and belief in the organization’s core values.

“Community members expect law enforcement agencies to fulfill their commitment to public service – which means creating a culture that builds trust and belief in their legitimacy and commitment to fair and humane policing,” said Deborah Jacobs, OLEO Director.

OLEO recently published a Community Guide to the King County Sheriff’s Office Complaint Process to help the public understand how the investigation of complaints are handled by the Sheriff’s Office Internal Investigations Unit (IIU). It also highlights the role oversight plays in advocating for thorough, objective and timely investigations.

The Community Guide to Sheriff’s Office Complaint Investigations can be downloaded here.

Learn more about OLEO and the complaint process here.

Interestingly, the officer who allegedly made the offensive comments is a cousin to Gov. Jay Inslee, and has also served as a driver/bodyguard to King County Executive Dow Constantine.

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