Justice Is Everyone's Business

Seeking to Restore Integrity and
Public Trust in Our Justice System

Justice will not be served until those who are
unaffected are as outraged as those who are.
—Benjamin Franklin

The Siege on Summer Street (Salem, Oregon 22 January 2019)

3. The Lone Ranger Rides Again

This is the third of a seven-part story.

Let us consider the role of the citizen we are calling "The Lone Ranger."  All of the following is based upon the police reports for the incident and the first level conclusions that may be drawn from the information therein.  Everyone's Business makes no assertions about the veracity of the police reports or the name of anyone described in the reports.  The police reports should given the weight deemed justified by the reader.  This article concerns only the figure portrayed by the police reports.

As told in the Introduction, on the morning of 22 January 2019, Ketchem was looking for a friend’s house, but went to a wrong address on Capitol Street, NE.  He and the homeowner at that address had a confrontation.  The homeowner pulled a gun on Ketchem.  (Everyone’s Business will call that homeowner "The Lone Ranger.")  Ketchem fled, but The Lone Ranger, still brandishing the gun, chased him down public thoroughfares. 

Oregon State Law is clear on this matter:

2017 ORS 163.190 Menacing

(1) A person commits the crime of menacing if by word or conduct the person intentionally attempts to place another person in fear of imminent serious physical injury.

(2) Menacing is a Class A misdemeanor.

Oregon law also states:

2017 ORS 166.190 Pointing firearm at another

Any person over the age of 12 years who, with or without malice, purposely points or aims any loaded or empty pistol, gun, revolver or other firearm, at or toward any other person within range of the firearm, except in self-defense, shall be fined upon conviction in any sum not less than $10 nor more than $500, or be imprisoned in the county jail not less than 10 days …

When the Lone Ranger chased Ketchem on public streets (or alleys) with a drawn gun, all the points of Oregon State Laws ORS 163.190 and ORS 166.190 were satisfied.  No one could argue he was defending himself, his family, or his property when he chased Ketchem.  And quite obviously, Ketchem was in fear of physical injury when he fled, a fear intentionally inflicted by The Lone Ranger.

Source:

  • Incident Supplement, Det. Anthony Vandekoppel (documenting the accounts of two witnesses), Pg. 3 of 6, Bates 00160; Pg. 5 of 6, Bates 00162.
  • Salem Police Department Response Report, Pg. 1 of 30, Bates 00030.
  • Incident Notes, 01/22/19 07:42:57, Pg. 2 of 3, Bates 00974.
  • Incident Supplement, Det. Daniel Tallan, Pg. 2 of 3, Bates 00189.
  • Incident Supplement, Det. Daniel Chase, Pg. 4 of 15, Bates 00225.

The events are not in dispute.  They are documented in the police reports and witnessed by neighbors.  Why has the Lone Ranger not been arrested charged with the crime of menacing?

False Reports

But as if that were not enough, the Lone Ranger initiated several false reports about Ketchem that turned the incident into "a total clusterfuck," as it was described by homeowner Graves.

The Lone Ranger accused Ketchem of likely entering his basement, having a gun, threatening to shoot the Lone Ranger, and firing the gun through the window after entering the Summer St. home.  Also (according to the Lone Ranger), Ketchem pointed the gun at him and yelled, "I have a firearm," which under the circumstances would be a clear threat.

Source: Incident Supplement, Det. Daniel Chase, Pg. 4 of 15, Bates 00225.

However, though the house was completely renovated, with every square foot of finishing removed, no gun attributed to Ketchem was ever found.

False reports to the police can be quite troublesome to law enforcement, and have been criminalized by the legislature, including a special provision when the false report results in calling out the SWAT team, as happened in this case.

2017 ORS 162.375 Initiating a false report

(1) A person commits the crime of initiating a false report if the person knowingly initiates a false alarm or report that is transmitted to a fire department, law enforcement agency or other organization that deals with emergencies involving danger to life or property.

(2) Initiating a false report is a Class A misdemeanor.

(3) (a) The court shall include in the sentence of any person convicted under this section a requirement that the person repay the costs incurred in responding to and investigating the false report.

(b) If the response to the false report involved the deployment of a law enforcement special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team or a similar law enforcement group, the court shall impose, and may not suspend, a term of incarceration of at least 10 days.

But the Lone Ranger has not been charged with any of that. 

Special Privilege

As a victim, the Lone Ranger was invited to attend Ketchem's bail hearing on November 26, 2019.  He told the court that the community was still traumatized by those events of almost a year previous and argued against lowering the bail, because Ketchem would be a continuing danger to the community and his own family.

The Lone Ranger did not take a witness oath before his testimony.  No one asked how he knew the emotions of the whole neighborhood, nor did anyone question the propriety of allowing hear-say in the hearing.  Instead, Judge Hart permitted him to advise Ketchem to plead guilty on all counts, and to opine at length on the sentence Ketchem should receive.  He speculated on the possibilities of Ketchem's rehabilitation from his alleged criminal career and alleged drug and alcohol problem.  What expertise could he have on those subjects?  Since the court did not qualify him as an expert witness, even the court does not know.

The Lone Ranger mentioned in the course of his testimony that he had been "involved with Marion County at various levels."  Perhaps that involvement lent him special status in the eyes of the staff in District Attorney Clarkson's office, including immunity from prosecution for criminal conduct.  He also seemed to have special status as adviser to the court on everything from invisible evidence and legal strategy of the defense to sentencing guidelines and drug rehabilitation.

The Lone Ranger's name is redacted.