Ed Snook and Curt Chancler
June 30, 2010
Jackson County, Oregon - In our last issue (Volume 2 – Issue 1, located at www.usobserver.com) we reported on an incident of alleged “Abuse by an Officer” that happened on February 20, 2010, involving Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Ranger William Finch, from the Medford, Oregon BLM Office, Jackson County Deputy Sheriff Jimmy Gylenskog and the Easley family. Our first article, which I prompt everyone to read, described in detail, the physical and mental abuse leveled at Michelle Easley and her family. We have since discovered that Ranger Finch is also deputized by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, to perform specific duties.
After the US~Observer published this story it created a firestorm of people all over America, contacting the Observer by phone, letters, and emails. The positive responses and support for the Easley family has been incredible and the separate accounts of abuse by Finch have inundated our office. Some who contacted us had questions, which I will address next, before I get into the meat of this article.
We had several emails asking why Dennis Easley would put his hands behind his back if he did not think Finch and Gylenskog were law enforcement. I asked Dennis the same question. He said he knew that it was possible they could be law enforcement so he started to comply, but when they would not comply with his demands that they show him their ID first, it made him think they were not cops. Then he decided to call their bluff, because there were numerous witnesses there and he did not think they would do anything bad to him in front of them. And, they were riding dirt bikes, so he couldn’t imagine them hand cuffing him and taking him away cuffed on the back of a dirt bike. Dennis stated, “BLM Ranger Finch was a wild card I had not counted on; I had no idea that BLM had a lunatic on the payroll.”
Something else that we did not put in the first article was that two of the eye witnesses there that day were Lana Walker and her sister Jennifer Mobbs. They had previously endured an experience with two men, one of which was impersonating a Medford Police Department Officer (MPD). They were stopped in 2002, at about 9 p.m. in Medford, Oregon, when what they thought was a police car with red and blue flashing lights pulled them over and asked for Jennifer’s drivers license. The impersonator who came to the window was wearing an MPD uniform. He took Jennifer’s paper work back to his car and after a little while he came back and told the girls he had stopped them for speeding. That’s when things went south for the bad guys, because the Mobbs’ sisters knew they were not speeding. When they started debating the supposed cop his answers did not jive. The impersonating cop became very nervous and when the girls asked, “Are you really a cop” he bolted back to his car and sped away. The girls followed, and the cop impersonator turned into the apartment complex where Jennifer lived. The girls knew there was only one way in and one way out so they blocked the driveway, called the real MPD cops and after a short foot chase, the real cops arrested the not so real cops. They were subsequently found guilty and taken to jail.
I want to bring our readership up to date on this story and correct a statement I made in the article concerning Sheriff Winters. My last article stated, “I spoke to Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters about the incident last week and he said he would look into it and get back to me, at press time I had not heard back from him.” Now, that being said, I had told Sheriff Winters that I would get him a witness list and a list of people that have had a bad experience with Ranger Finch. I forgot that he was waiting for me to deliver the list needed for him to do his investigation, however I am working to rectify the forgotten list. (Jackson County Sherrif's office 541-774-6800)
THE MEAT OF THIS STORY
The people that have had a bad experience with BLM Ranger Finch are not only growing at an incredible rate, their statements are painting a very ugly picture of the enforcement arm of BLM. It is clear from the numerous interviews we have conducted that Ranger Finch’s superiors had been told of Finch’s dangerous and unacceptable interactions with the public in the form of complaints that were made by Finch’s victims.
BLM DIRECTOR DON ROBINSON SUPPORTS FINCH’S ABUSE
My first interview was with the plant manager of a respected local business that works with BLM on a regular basis. He said in 2008, he had a bad experience with Ranger Finch, but had never reported it. Then someone he knew told him of their experience with Finch and he told them you need to file a complaint with BLM. But the man said no, that he had to be in the woods and was concerned that Finch would retaliate against him if he complained. So the manager decided to call BLM and tell them of his concerns about Ranger Finch’s dangerous escapades. The manager stated, “I told Don Robinson the director of the enforcement arm of BLM that Ranger Finch was a rude, unprofessional bully, that had no respect for the people he served and if BLM did not do something to get Finch under control, he was going to hurt or kill someone. To my surprise, right off the bat, he was just like Finch, he said, ‘well some people just need their ass’s kicked’. I told him you are BLM not CIA, you do not need to be kicking anybody’s ass; that is not your job. Besides, the people you’re trying to kick their asses are the people that pay your wages. I believe you need to start respecting the people you serve instead of trying to kick their asses. I noticed that Finch is always touching his gun and strutting around. It seems like he always wants to make sure you know he has a gun and he is in charge and you are not. One of these days their Ranger Finch is going to confront the wrong people and his bully boy tactics and putting his hand on that gun could get someone killed or injured.”
This manager’s accounting is truly amazing and shows that we are not only dealing with Finch’s abuse, but that of his superior Don Robinson as well. Everyone we have spoken to about Ranger William Finch has had nothing positive to say about him. We have hours of taped interviews of people telling the Observer of their experiences with Ranger Finch.
SOME EXAMPLES OF STATEMENTS REGARDING FINCH’S ABUSE
First Witness: “Finch will give you a citation for something you did not do because he knows you will probably just pay the citation rather than fight it; in fact BLM counts on it. Finch acts the way he does because he knows the powers that be at BLM appear to condone his behavior.”
Second Witness: “Ranger Finch and Jackson County Deputies have walked right into my camp with no probable cause, at 9 or 10 p.m., shining their flashlight around while my girlfriend and son were asleep in the tent and asked, what are you doing up here and who is in the tent? I told him my girlfriend and my son, and then Finch told me he needed to see my ID and check our bikes for Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) stickers.” This witness had ridden his bikes all over Oregon and has had contact with other BLM Rangers around the state and has never encountered anything like Ranger Finch. “Another thing that bothers me is Finch likes to get right in your face and twice I know I have smelled alcohol on his breath.” When asked how he would describe Ranger Finch to someone, he thought for a moment and said, “The only way I can describe him is to say he is a dick.”
Third Witness: He felt that BLM Ranger Finch was a predator with a badge and was going to wind up hurting more people. He forces them into being aggressive and then wants to arrest them for being aggressive.
Fourth Witness: Ranger Finch did not come down by the river and check the men, but instead he hung around the trail where the women and kids go to the bath room, asking women and kids for their ID and fishing license. He said he and some of the men did not like Ranger Finch sneaking around with binoculars in an area where women and kids were going to the bathroom. “We caught him laying on the ground looking through his binoculars in the area where everybody goes to pee.” He continued, “we asked Finch, what the hell is wrong with you man. I believe when Ranger Finch is alone he won’t confront a man, but he will confront women and kids.” He said he believes “Finch is just not right.” This witness spoke to his uncle about Ranger Finch and some of his antics, because his uncle was in law enforcement in another county. He said his uncle already knew about Finch and told him to make a formal complaint against Ranger Finch, because BLM did not like negative publicity. “So we called BLM and spoke to Ranger Jock Hanson and he proceeded to tell us that when people call in to complain about a Ranger, they are usually part of the problem. Ranger Hanson was obviously working to protect his buddy Finch, but I filed a formal complaint anyway.”
Fifth Witness: He was 63 years old and states, “I had been fishing Hay’s Falls for over twenty years and in that time I have seen a lot people from law enforcement come and go, but Ranger William Finch is in a class all by himself. Finch is just a jerk and has no respect for the public. Or, maybe when he puts on the gun and badge he feels he can do what he wants. I was standing just off the pee trail relieving myself when Ranger Finch with his binoculars walked right up on top of me; Finch spun around and went the other way. I followed Finch and told him I did not think what he was doing was his job and I resented it. Finch stepped forward until he was right in my face and said why, do I make you nervous? I thought he knows I am annoyed with his earlier behavior and now he is trying to intimidate me and provoke me. So I told him, you know I was taught to be respectful to law enforcement, but in some cases it is not warranted. I stepped back, looked at his name and told him, I am going to call your superior because I think you are way out of line. I called his superior Jock Hanson and told him about the incident. About a week later Hanson called me back and told me he spoke to Finch and Finch told him that he might have been a little short with me. Hanson told me he had reprimanded Finch and told him he could not take that kind of an approach with the public. I told Hanson I thought law enforcement’s job was to protect and serve, but thanks to Ranger Finch I did not feel protected or served. In fact I felt annoyed and agitated.”
Sixth Witness: “I cut firewood up near John’s peak. I find standing fir snags and get permits through BLM to fall them on the road and take them. I fell one back in January and somehow Finch found out about it and the harassment began. He started leaving threatening letters on my doorstep, stating that if I did not get a hold of him he was going to arrest me. He dug up my entire life on the internet. He went to the site where I cut the tree down and took over 50 pictures of everything from tire tracks to sawdust and one of the pictures was my load permit from BLM. I told him that all he had to do was take the number on the permit back to BLM and he would have known that I was legal. Finch said, I could have but I didn’t. I thought what an asshole. He chooses to waste the tax payer’s money – wasted, countless hours of time. He chooses instead to harass and threaten me for no good reason.
About a month later I was near the same place to fall a tree that my cousin had a permit for. Soon after it hit the ground I heard a dirt bike coming and I jokingly told my cousin, dad, uncle and buddy that is probably Finch coming to give all of us tickets. Sure as hell, it was him with some kids, he was in plain riding gear and riding what I would guess was his own dirt bike. He immediately went for my cousin screaming, I am Ranger Finch and waving his badge and I want to see your permit for this tree. My cousin already had heard about Finch and he knew what Finch had done to me. My cousin told Finch, there is someone here that does not like you very much. By that time I was covering a lot of ground fast to get there. This time I got in his face and I asked him if he remembered me and told him I did not appreciate him threatening and harassing me for no reason. My dad told him he was a pine cone cap and he needed to move on because we had work to do. Someone told him he needed to move on or risk an ass kicking.”
We have been informed that Ranger Jock Hanson has been transferred since the publication of my last article and our calls to Director Don Robinson have not been returned – He’s probably working over-time, trying to manufacture evidence to help cover-up for Finch and himself. Again, I would prompt our readership to go to the US~Observer website and read my first article titled, “BLM Ranger Uses Excessive Force.”
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We have plenty more to report, however I believe this gives our readership enough factual information to fully realize that Finch is dangerous, unprofessional and should not be wearing any badge. Please call BLM’s state Director Ed Shepard at 503-808-6026 and let him know that we will not tolerate Finch’s abusive actions any longer. Also tell them that Director Don Robinson needs to go in the same direction as Ranger William Finch – OUT! Let’s hold these dangerous and worthless public employees ACCOUNTABLE. If you have more information on BLM Ranger abuse, contact Edward Snook at: 541-474-7885
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Edward Snook is 20-plus year investigative journalist, with a college major in criminal justice and the publisher of US-Obsrver newspaper. 541-474-7885