RAWLINS – Following the arrest of John Rutherford, the current Rawlins Fire Chief and Carbon County Fire Warden, officials have remained relatively silent when pressed on the matter.
Both Rawlins City Mayor Robert Grauberger and Carbon County Commission Chairman John Johnson declined to comment. Johnson said he wouldn’t comment until after he talks to the rest of the commissioners next month, while Grauberger noted he wanted to wait for court procedures before addressing the occurrence.
The Rawlins Police Department was also contacted regarding the arrest; however, they immediately referred to City Manager Scott Hannum. Hannum also said he didn’t want to comment until the legal process unfolds; however, he did report that the case won’t be handled by Carbon County court.
Instead, being Rutherford is the acting county fire warden, Hannum said, to avoid conflicts, the case will be handled by Sweetwater County. Although Rutherford had a hearing earlier this week, Hannum said his next court date is unknown.
When the Daily Times was able to reach Rutherford on Tuesday, despite expressing enthusiasm to speak he kept relatively silent, only saying, “I was told, ‘Don’t talk to press.’ So, at this point I don’t have a comment.”
Rutherford’s representing attorney, Kurty Kelly of MacPherson, Kelly & Thompson, LLC, also declined to comment.
Rutherford, who operates the Hole in the Wall bar, 621, W. Spruce St., was taken into custody by Rawlins Police Officer Thomas Gamblin, who’s currently running for Carbon County Sheriff, following a dispute that took place inside of the bar a little after 11:30 p.m. Friday.
According to Gamblin’s probable cause affidavit, Rutherford was arrested for Interference with a Peace Officer after continually confronting Gamblin about his presence in the bar.
During a “walk through/bar check” in an effort to “check for minors,” “warrants,” and to keep a “proactive presence to dissuade” impaired drivers, Gamblin originally encountered a public tip, which stated that a female inside the bar was “acting strange,” he noted in the report.
Upon arriving at the bar, Gamblin reported that the tip came when one patron approached him outside and told him about the strangely acting female. Upon entering the facility and not spotting the women’s description, Gamblin reported that he approached the bartender, Carly Markert, and asked her about the female in question.
“The female who was in the bar last week and was trading sexual favors?” Markert responded, according to Gamblin. Makert said the female was possibly a prostitute.
Then, according to Gamblin’s report, he continued to search for the female. At that moment, Rutherford “yelled” at Gamblin and said, “Are you done with your inspection? Get out.”
Subsequently, Gamblin walked back to the bar to conduct further questioning. It was then Rutherford allegedly “came up behind me to my right and slammed his hand down on the bar and yelled, ‘You’re done with your inspection. Get the (expletive) out!’
“I turned around and told J. Rutherford to get the (expletive) out of the way from me or he was going to jail for interference!” Gamblin reported. “He stepped up toward me and said, ‘go ahead and take me to jail.’”
In following, Gamblin grabbed Rutherford’s right hand and pushed him away, he reported. Gamblin then yelled for Officer Chad Bracken to get “John away from me.”
According to Gamblin’s report, Rutherford had to be “physically restrained” by two other people – Josh Snider and Jeremiah Rutherford. In the process, John Rutherford yelled, “I want you to take me to jail. Go ahead, take me to jail.”
Afterward, Gamblin found the original female – suspected of acting strangely – and removed her from the establishment.
After dealing with the female, Gamblin reported in the court document that he contacted Chief Troy Palmer regarding the incident and advised him that Rutherford would be arrested.
Upon the end of the call, Gamblin reported he returned to the bar to arrest Rutherford for the violation.
“When I approached the table area where J. Rutherford was seated Stephanie Schofield stood up and stepped in front of J. Rutherford holding her arms out from her side at shoulder height and attempted to stop me from arresting J. Rutherford,” Gamblin reported.
Gamblin further reported that Schofield was told twice to move out of the way and warned that she too could be arrested for interference. Gamblin reported after the second time she did as she was told.
Gamblin reported that Rutherford, upon being removed from the table, being cuffed and escorted to the patrol car, again allegedly spoke out.
“We’re going to have fun with this one, Thom."
Rutherford was finally placed in the patrol vehicle and transported to the jail, where he was given a PBT that registered .23 BAC.
Rutherford could face a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for no more than one year, a fine of no more than $1,000, or both.