Mike Lowrey, far left, and Bo Rupert, far right, are seated before Lewis County District Court Judge Wade Samuelson.
By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – A Centralia police officer is seeking an anti-harassment order against a 20-year-old local man, who has been calling him crooked and corrupt on social media.
“He posted pictures of my family on Instagram, after he posted I should be executed,” Officer Michael Lowrey said.
“I think he’s taken it too far.”
Twenty-year-old Bo D. Rupert is currently prohibited from contacting Lowrey or Lowrey’s four children, based on a temporary court order put in place last month.
The two men have gone before a judge in Lewis County DIstrict Court twice, but an anti-harassment hearing has not yet been conducted because Rupert requested the two different judges remove themselves from the case.
Rupert contends Lowrey has, while on duty, taken part in stopping him from videotaping public employees, unlawfully demanded his identification, and on various occasions when their paths have crossed in public, called him vulgar names.
The final straw, according to Rupert, was a day in which he claims Lowrey got a teenager banned from a local business, after the teen told the officer he wanted to speak with his uncle, and said his uncle was Rupert.
“Pretty much I had all I was going to take off him, after that,” Rupert said. “My pictures on Instagram and the amount of worry it made him feel, measured up to nothing compared to how I felt about my nephew.”
Lowrey, who has been a Centralia police officer for about 15 years, is making the request as a private citizen, his lawyer Shane O’Rourke said after the most recent hearing, held Monday morning in Lewis County District Court in Chehalis.
O’Rourke said his client is aware that as a public servant, he has to tolerate a certain level of unpleasantness from some members of the public.
“Mr. Rupert is well known for engaging in a particular type of behavior,” he said. “His attempts to antagonize go beyond what you deal with on a day to day basis.”
O’Rourke said police officers are still, first and foremost, citizens and don’t have to be subjected to that.
It is a rare and unusual occurrence, as far as he’s aware, O’Rourke said, for a police officer to ask for such a court order.
The temporary order allows for contact between the two for legitimate police business, he said.
Court documents show the 42-year-old officer made the formal request on Feb. 13. A temporary order was put in place the same day, but did not require Rupert to stay 1,000 feet away, as requested.
Lowrey checked boxes on the petition for order for protection from harassment and stalking form indicating Rupert’s ongoing behavior caused him to feel seriously alarmed, annoyed or emotional distressed.
Lowrey said on Monday it’s not getting videotaped on the job that’s bothering him. He wrote in his request that with the current backlash against law enforcement, he believes it endangers his family when Rupert posts photos of him, off duty, with his young daughter, along with comments that he is corrupt.
In a declaration in support of Lowrey’s petition, Centralia police Sgt. Stacy Denham writes that in his career of more than 20 years, he’s dealt with all kinds of individuals who don’t like police, and go out of their way to discredit officers simply for entertainment.
“All of these individuals pale in comparison to Bo Rupert,” Denham writes.
He notes Rupert’s numerous convictions for false reporting, calling it an incredible addiction to trying to get others in trouble. He writes that Rupert’s new means of attack is to follow officers around and videotape them, berating them with profanities in an attempt to get a rise out of them.
Denham described Rupert’s activities as escalating into yelling at Centralia Police Department staff through the glass and calling all officers inside a laundry list of unacceptable slurs.
Among the screenshots from social media in the petition is a Facebook post by Rupert in which he wrote:
“The police must be returned to their original purpose to protect and serve WE THE PEOPLE, any that are not and refuse to do so should be executed for treason!!!!!!! Starting with Mike Lowrey, Sgt. Stacey Denham, and Phillip Reynolds”
Rupert, who said he lives part time in Chehalis and part time in Centralia, says he’s a volunteer for a police accountability group called “Peaceful Streets Lewis County”, the local chapter of a national organization which video records police officers and other government employees while they perform their public duties.
In his general affidavit submitted in response to the case, Rupert writes that he usually picks two nights each week to film, listens for calls over a police radio scanner and arrives on scene staying a safe distance away. He states he also often advises people of their rights and records the interactions.
He claims in writing an instance outside the Centralia library in which Lowrey called him a name, stepped out of his patrol car and said if there were not people around, he would “kick his (blank) ass.”
“It was that moment when I decided from then on I was going to expose his corruption and the content of his character,” Rupert wrote.
In an interview after Monday’s hearing, Rupert acknowledged the Facebook post, paraphrasing it from memory to say, “I wrote to a Facebook status ‘Treasonous officers who create insurrection against the constitution should be executed,’ and I named the officers doing that.”
“I never said I was gonna pickup a gun and shoot Officer Lowrey,” he said.
Rupert said if Lowrey is successful in getting the temporary order made more permanent, he will appeal, because it could have other consequences.
“You can bet I’m not going to let someone use the court system, the legal system, to abuse and oppress people,” he said.
The anti-harassment order hearing is scheduled for March 30, when a pro-tem judge both sides agree upon is to be brought in.