Friday, January 27, 2023

Santa Rosa Man’s Attack of Police Officer Earns Him a Ban from Yellowstone National Park and Nine Months in Prison


The following is a press release issued by the Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Wyoming;

Grand Canyon and Yellowstone Fall at Yellowstone National Park [Picture from WikiCommons]

United States Attorney Bob Murray announced today that BENJAMIN J. BAGALA, age 27, of Santa Rosa, California pleaded guilty and was sentenced for three counts of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees and one count of depredation against property of the United States. He appeared via Zoom before United States Magistrate Judge Mark L. Carman and was sentenced to nine months imprisonment, with credit served for four days and must surrender on or before March 4, 2022. He also received one year supervised release with special conditions that include a ban from Yellowstone National Park; he shall not use or possess alcohol, shall not enter into bars, pubs, lounges, etc., and will continue with alcohol treatment as approved by the probation officer. Bagala was ordered to pay $2,865.42 in restitution and $100 special assessment.

According to the evidence, on September 25, 2021, at the Lake Yellowstone Hotel in Yellowstone National Park, Bagala was drinking heavily and began harassing guests, running through the halls, breaking things and eventually approached a security guard with threatening behavior. A law enforcement officer was called to the scene where Bagala’s action continued to progress and escalated to an attack on the officer. This law enforcement officer had to deploy his taser to safely gain control. Bagala was extremely intoxicated and displayed injuries from earlier activities, so an ambulance was called. Two additional law enforcement officers arrived to transport Bagala to the Livingston Hospital in Montana. One of the officers rode in the back to restrain him during transport. Bagala broke out of his restraints and fought with the officer. The other officer, driving the ambulance, had to pull over and assist. During this time, both officers received injuries from Bagala’s actions.

Lake Yellowstone Hotel reported $2,865.42 in damages including broken plexiglass shields, broken plates, broken doors and frames, damaged light fixtures, and blood splatter throughout the halls and lobby.

This crime was investigated by the National Park Service and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie A. Hambrick.



  1. Why is he angry? Would you be angry if someone raped you? Would you be angry if someone stole your car? Anger is a result of trauma. Read the stations of grief. They mirror the symptoms of PTSD
    10,000 WW2 and Korean War Veterans were given lobotomies for schizophrenia, a physality was built in Paso Robles to house the vegetables created by that cure.

  2. Just a drunk jackass. Nothing more. PTSD or not he got what he deserved. He should have got more time. I doubt he will ever pay a penny of that restitution.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
I like to think of myself as a journalist for the everyman. Journalism has become a craft practiced largely by the urban elite. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at if you know a story that needs to be told.

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