KPD: Ballad's vandalism claim against protester is 'unfounded'

Rain Smith • Nov 6, 2019 at 10:42 AM

KINGSPORT — Due to questions about the ownership of a strip of land outside Holston Valley Medical Center, city police have closed a criminal complaint against Ballad protester Dani Cook.

The claim of vandalism was made by Ballad Health Security Director Ken Harr. In a report filed Monday with the Kingsport Police Department, Harr said that protestors’ tents and tarps have killed grass outside the hospital on West Ravine Road. He said Ballad had to spend $1,300 to re-sod the area, which included a ditchline allegedly dug by Cook.

Harr said the protestors have moved to an adjacent area, where the same type of damage is now occurring.

On Wednesday morning, KPD Detective Martin Taylor filed a supplemental narrative on the complaint. It states that after consulting with Ballad’s corporate office, “there were some concerns as to the actual owner of the property in question.”

The Sullivan County District Attorney’s Office was also consulted and determined that any damages incurred did not rise to the level of the original claim of felony vandalism.

“If Ballad Health determines it is the rightful owner of the property listed as damaged, a Ballad Health representative would be required to file the appropriate misdemeanor charges in Sullivan County General Sessions Court,” reads the supplemental report. “At this time, I am closing the case as UNFOUNDED for criminal activity.”