MADISON, Wis. — The Segway riding protester and failed congressional candidate who became one of the prominent faces of left-wing angst in 2011 faces multiple charges of maintaining a drug trafficking place and other drug-related offenses.
Ryan was officially charged on Wednesday, according to the Dane County District Attorney’s office, and was scheduled to make his initial court appearance Thursday.
Ryan, who picked up the nickname “Segway Boy” after he began riding a Segway electric vehicle around the Capitol (about the time he claimed to have a terminal illness), became one of the more colorful vagrant faces of the left’s Capitol protests of 2011.
He and his fellow protesters routinely followed Republican lawmakers around, taunting them during Wisconsin’s bitter recall season of 2011 and 2012. Ryan was one of the occupiers of the state Capitol during the 2011 demonstrations against Gov. Scott Walker, the Republican-controlled Legislature and their Act 10 legislation that reformed Wisconsin’s longstanding public-sector collective bargaining law.
He ran an unsuccessful primary campaign against U.S. Rep. (and now Speaker of the House) Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, in 2012. His campaign seemed to consist of an abiding belief that voters would confuse his last name with the incumbent’s and he would take the primary by default. The challenger was routed.
Less than two months after the August 2012 primary, Jeremy Ryan was charged with felony domestic abuse by stalking and disorderly conduct domestic abuse. Both charges related to Ryan’s relationship with a live-in girlfriend at the time, according to Media Trackers.
The 2012 arrest report stated:
“Officer Baumgart reports he explained to the defendant he was going to be placed under arrest, and the defendant pleaded with Officer Baumgart to be allowed to retrieve some cash from his bedroom so he could post bail. Officer Baumgart reports that Officer Palmer took the defendant to his bedroom to retrieve the cash. Officer Baumgart reports the defendant walked down the stairs carrying a safe. [Victim] stated, “that’s where he keeps his weed.” Officer Baumgart reports he asked the defendant to open the safe so he could see what was inside. Officer Baumgart reports he observed a large amount of US currency inside. The defendant estimated that there was $1,000 inside this safe. Officer Baumgart reports he estimated that there was most likely between $2,000 and $3,000 in US currency inside the safe. Officer Baumgart reports he could also smell the distinct odor of unburnt marijuana coming from the safe itself.”
Ryan has had many run-ins with the law over the past five years, including multiple charges of disorderly conduct, according to court records.
In June 2015, the professional protester was among six Capitol demonstrators awarded a combined $45,000 in damages for the “emotional distress, loss of liberty and damage to reputation” they apparently suffered.
Ryan, Jenna Pope, Valerie Walasek, Lauri Harty, Anne Hoppe and Kathleen Hoppe each received between $1,000 and $5,200 in damages, according to court records. The story was reported by the MacIver Institute. Taxpayers also were asked to cover all of plaintiffs’ legal fees, ranging from $2,500 to $4,900 each.
The protesters filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Department of Administration, claiming wrongful arrests during the Act 10 protests. Dane County Judge Frank Remington agreed with their “plight.”
“The plaintiffs felt powerless” before they began their protests of Act 10, and “demonstrating in the Capitol gave them a feeling of mission and empowerment,” the lawsuit stated. “The feeling was taken from them when their expressive activity was terminated by the Defendants before its time, each time they were cited and required to stop their efforts, and each of them is entitled to be compensated for the loss of this valuable feeling.”