OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — Oklahoma County DA David Prater dropped a terrorism charge against Eric Christopher Ruffin Friday in exchange for pleading guilty to third-degree arson which is a felony.
Prater had charged Ruffin and four others with terrorism after the May 30 protest over the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
The protest started at N.W. 23rd and Classen and moved to Shartel downtown in front of the Oklahoma County Jail and the Oklahoma City Police Headquarters extending over into the early hours of May 31, 2020.
I’m not a terrorist,” Ruffin told Free Press after the hearing. “People really think that I’m like a baldfaced terrorist and it’s kind of like I work in mental health. I help people on a daily basis. I work for the same state as prosecuted me.”
Ruffin did work in a state mental health facility in Oklahoma City but lost that job when the felony charges were filed against him.
“There was so much that was going on that night,” Ruffin said. “Everything got out of hand.”
But, he didn’t directly cause any of the destruction, although he did plea to arson in the third degree, which is for helping to promote it.
“I’m taking a rap for all of those individuals that didn’t get caught. I’m the person that they are crucifying, basically,” said Ruffin.
During the court appearance where the plea agreement was accepted by all parties, Ruffin received a three-year deferred sentence under supervision of the Department of Corrections and is due back in court in 2024.
Ruffin and Isael Antonio Ortiz were charged with two counts of terrorism and one count of third degree arson.
The charge against Ortiz was amended to rioting by request of Prater in a hearing Thursday. Ortiz is bound over for trial and is due back in court for a preliminary hearing in May.
A third person, Malachai Davis, has been charged with one count of terrorism and one count of malicious injury and destruction of property. He is bound over for trial and will appear at a preliminary hearing in June.
The charges were dropped against two others when they were found to be 17 at the time.
During that protest, Ruffin was on a Facebook Live video recording a group of people who damaged property close to the Oklahoma County Jail including setting fire to a Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office (OSCO) van.
The van was parked across one of the Jail employee parking lot entryways because the gate was stuck open at the time.
Ruffin, who is Black, told us on that night he had “about 50,000 followers” on his Facebook Live and was making audible responses to comments and questions he could see being posted.
Ruffin’s comments from the livestream were used to establish probable cause in the arrest affidavit filed with the court June 26, 2020.
The affidavit gives several short quotes in making the case for Ruffin’s arrest then directly refers to the moments the van was being set on fire.
The affidavit by an OCSO deputy reads, “As wanton destruction is taking place on the OSCO vehicle Ruffin states ‘…Niggas is fucking up their shit in front of their face and them niggas ain’t doing shit, that’s what happens when you got numbers outside…'”
Ruffin told us Friday that he was not making any of those comments to the persons doing the damage but in response to comments he was seeing on his Facebook Live.
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Last Updated April 24, 2021, 2:59 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor