10/13/2008: "Rumors and Ranker"
An email containing copies of a 1995 arrest record that charged Kevin Ranker with “disorderly Conduct, Interfering with a Public Event, and Resisting Arrest,” has been making the rounds in Whatcom and San Juan County.
The charges resulted when three people were arrested in 1995 for illegally entering a “family parade” to protest the jailing of Murnia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted in a controversial case involving the murder of a police officer.
Olympia Police Officer Hayes’ official record of the event states “Ranker refused to move. I now told Ranker he was under arrest. I grabbed Ranker by the arm and he attempted to pull away. I was able to force Ranker to the ground and handcuff him. Ranker stared to yell that I was hurting him. I then escorted Ranker out of the parade rout as he yelled he was being arrested for freedom. Ranker and his two fellow protesters were transported to Olympia Police Dept, where they were booked for interfering with parade. Ranker also had an additional charge of resisting arrest.”
Not exactly true, maintains Ranker, who explains it was the result of mistaken identity.
We interviewed Mr. Ranker twice, and were told that “all the charges were dropped. My attorney pointed out there was conflicting stories. They had me confused with someone else when they made the arrests and then later when they wrote up the report they thought I was someone else…I just got a ticket for jay-walking…”
According to a clerk at the Municipal Court in Olympia, Ranker was indeed arrested, booked, charged, posted bail, and then the charges that were reduced to “walking in the roadway.” Ranker was convicted and fined $50.00.
Sam Taylor of the Bellingham Herald recently ran a blog in the Herald noting the existing emails, but did not explain what they contained, and then stated the accusations were “mostly false.” A new Herald Taylor blog then listed some of the email charges , and went on to contradict the official police reports.
In a second interview, Ranker told The Island Guardian he was carrying a skateboard, not a sign. Ranker repeated that his attorney met with the Prosecutor in the case and argued “we think there must have been some confusion.” Ranker explained that “when the Cops come in and grab a bunch of people and then afterwards write up a report…I think there was some confusion there.”
Ranker said “was it foolish to enter the parade? Absolutely, I should have left…I was way over on the far side of the street, police came in, people got arrested..” There were a total of three people arrested, one of which was Ranker. The police reports included in the emails are Ranker_Arrest-1.pdf (281\k file) and Ranker_Arrest-2.pdf (877\k file)