Detective placed on leave over Facebook post mocking Seattle protesters hit by a car

Protesters Summer Taylor, 24, and Diaz Love, 32, were hit by a car Saturday after the vehicle drove onto a closed interstate. Taylor died of their injuries.

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By Minyvonne Burke

A detective with the King County Sheriff's Office in Washington state was placed on leave after he made comments mocking two protesters hit by a car in Seattle — one of whom died of their injuries.

The detective, Mike Brown, reportedly posted a photo on Facebook of a vehicle hitting a group of people, according to NBC affiliate King-TV in Seattle. The image was captioned "All lives splatter" and "Keep your (expletive) off the road." NBC News has not seen the Facebook post.

The sheriff's office opened an investigation into the photo. Brown was immediately placed on administrative leave and "all his police powers have been suspended," the department said in a press release.

"On Sunday July 5th, the King County Sheriff’s Office was made aware of some concerning posts made by one of our deputies on Facebook. We took immediate action and forwarded the matter to our Internal Investigations Unit," the release stated.

The sheriff's office said they are also investigating whether other employees liked or commented on the Facebook post.

"We value all members of our community and are committed to serving everyone equally, with dignity and respect," Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht said in a statement. "I will take swift action to thoroughly investigate when the conduct of Sheriff’s Office members fails to reflect our core values and violates Sheriff’s Office policy.”

Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement on Twitter that Brown is his cousin and he was "deeply disappointed" in the Facebook post.

"The language is unacceptable and just flat wrong, particularly from a law enforcement officer, as we try to heal the divisions of our community," he said.

Summer Taylor, 24, and Diaz Love, 32, were hit by a car early Saturday morning after the vehicle drove onto an interstate that had been closed due to another round of protests sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

Love, from Bellingham, was hospitalized in serious condition. Taylor, from Seattle, was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries and died Saturday night.

The driver, Dawit Kelete, 27, from Seattle, was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, according to the Associated Press. It's unclear if the collision was a targeted attack, police said.