Local retired librarian injured by police

Bruce Radtke, a retired Bellingham librarian, reported to be assaulted by police for handing out leaflets

Bruce Radtke, a retired Bellingham librarian, reported to be assaulted by police for handing out leaflets


Ellem Murphy submitted this news.  

Bruce Radtke, a retired Bellingham librarian, suffered injuries on Wednesday, August 12 during a violent takedown and arrest by an Olympic National Park ranger, who was assisted by two plainclothesmen, one of whom identified himself as a police officer.   

Radtke, along with three other volunteers loosely affiliated with STOP (savetheolympicpeninsula.org, an organization which had been given permission to leaflet in the park) had been passing out the leaflets to visitors near the Hurricane Ridge Visitors Center.  The leaflets contained information about the Navy's plans to conduct electromagnetic warfare training in the park.   

When Radtke took issue with the Park ranger's statement that he needed to have a permit and the ranger's demand that he show ID and surrender the leaflets, he was grabbed, thrown to the ground, and arrested.

Radtke spent the night at Clallum County Jail and was arraigned in Federal Court in Tacoma the following morning on the charge of assault.  A bench trial is scheduled for October 19th at the Tacoma Federal Court.

Publisher note:  Bruce, as all of us who know him can attest, is a gentle person and a law abiding citizen.  This story just so smacks of being only too true and of being another example of excessive police force used against those who anger the authorities. Bodily injury is a very serious result, especially for the elderly.  

Plain and simple, Bruce Radke would never assult a police officer.  This smells of false charges.  

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Comments by Readers

Ellen Murphy

Aug 18, 2015

“The Hurricane Four” are somewhat limited in commenting due to awaiting legal counsel, but I will say this. On the scene immediately after the episode, I saw an unarmed small to medium elder man on the ground, and I saw above him a very large much younger man in ranger uniform with a gun in his holster. I wasn’t hard for me to understand who had been assaulted.


Ellen Murphy

Aug 18, 2015

Now that the flyer’s online, I would like to add that the best thing we can do right now is to take action to save the park and its flora and fauna and awesome majesty, by writing to the people and places on the back of the flyer. Let’s prove that by attempting to shut dissent down, they have immeasurably increased its voice.


Doug Karlberg

Aug 20, 2015

Freedom of speech has never been “given” by any government.

Freedom of speech always had to be taken by the peope, sometimes by force.

All governments are constantly try to take back, the right to freedom of speech.

Witout freedom of speech, we are all but just serfs or slaves to those in power.

Freedom of speech is an impediment to those in power, or those who desire to be in power.

Regardless of your personal point of view, together we all have a stake in this, and if we do not protect it with, we all lose.

So do our children.



Carol Follett

Aug 21, 2015

It is ironic that the public service supposedly organized and supported with our taxes to defend democracy, i.e. the military, would attack our own country to test terrible weapons in the first place.
In the second place, how ridiculous is it that a national park ranger would assault citizens practicing those democratic freedoms distributing information for public comment on a government action affecting the very location they were distributing the information, about another public service agency, i.e. the NEPA, which is requesting public comment?
I have the good fortune to know Bruce and am sure he would not have even given a look that would have merited such abuse!
I think the plainclothesmen Ellen mentions add a freighting dimension to this and would be less surprising in a fascist country than a democratic one. The way to protect democracy is to practice it. Thank you Bruce, Ellen and the other three.


Dianne Foster

Aug 26, 2015

This whole thing is like a horrific Nazi movie.  Only it’s not on TV,  it’s here in real life. Thank-you Ellen for pursuing peace.  Does Bruce need help in any way?

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