Tuesday, March 22, 2016
In southern Utah, a ranger is jailed under questionable pretenses
In early December, a Bureau of Land Management ranger at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, in southern Utah, had a casual office conversation with a colleague about his frustration with how a holiday party was disrupting his day’s work. Two days later, he was in a Garfield County jail cell, purportedly for what he had said.
During the conversation in question, Ellison brought up improvised explosive devices, the weapon of choice for insurgents trying to do harm to U.S. military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The co-worker apparently was uncomfortable with the banter, and two days later, Ellison’s supervisor called him at home to let him know that he had to apologize. The supervisor also said he’d been informed two sheriff’s deputies were on their way to Ellison’s home.
Sure enough, the lawmen were soon at his door, and the ranger was arrested that evening. Ellison recalls that one of the deputies said the sheriff wanted to “make an example out of him.” He also says he was not informed of the exact charges — class B misdemeanor of threats and violence and infraction of disorderly conduct — until the next morning, as he was paying about $950 in bail.
Those charges have yet to be confirmed with the police report. Ellison says he asked multiple times to see the report, but the sheriff refused to provide it.
Sheriff James "Danny" Perkins was not available for comment at the time of this publication. A representative at the sheriff’s office told HCN last month that the police report could not be released because the incident is still under investigation. But both Ellison and Shea have been told the charges were dropped.