Downtown Homeless Person a Convicted Felon, Spent Time in Jail


Camas, WA — Carmen Copeland, a downtown Camas transient, who has been accused of desecrating US flags, squatting in public spaces, as well as yelling at and slapping pedestrians, has a criminal record dating back several years.

Copeland, 50, a Romanian native, has taken residence in public downtown Camas spaces for at least six months, and according to court documents, was convicted in a jury trial on November 3, 2020 of HARASSMENT – DEATH THREATS and sentenced to 85 days in jail.

Years previous, Copeland and her ex-husband, Mark Copeland, went through a nasty divorce. Mark was represented by attorney and former Camas City Council member, Deanna Rusch, who became the recipient of numerous death threats and harassment initiated by Carmen. In addition to the jail sentence, Carmen was issued a restraining order to never get within 1,000 feet of, and have no contact, with Rusch. That order expires November 4, 2025. 

According to her arrest documents, dated August 29, 2020, Carmen was arrested in Camas on charges of felony harassment against Rusch, who had been receiving numerous threats for years. 

The official arrest report says the following:

“On 8/27/20 at 0707 hrs, Chief Mitch Lackey of the Camas Police Department received an email from Carmen Copeland ([email protected]). 

“Carmen Copeland has had a long standing child custody dispute with her ex husband, Mark Copeland, who resides in Camas. Officers of the Camas Police Department, along with myself, are familiar with Carmen and this long standing child custody dispute. Deanna Rusch represented Mark Copeland during the divorce and won a judgement against Carmen. I called Rusch, who confirmed she knew Carmen and wasn’t surprised to receive such a threat.

“I contacted Copeland on 8/27/20 at 1907 hrs. I questioned Copeland about the email, and showed her the email on my phone. Copeland admitted to sending the email in question to Chief Lackey this morning. I asked Copeland why she threatened Deanna Rusch in the email. Copeland said she wouldn’t hurt Rusch and blamed the sentence “MAKE SURE DEANNA L RUSCH FAMILY LAWYER OF MARK WAYNE COPELAND AND JUDGE JOHN P. FAIRGRIEVE UNDERSTAND THAT SHE WILL BE CHOPPED TO HER DEATH FOR HURTING ME AND MY CHILDREN FOR SO LONG AND THEY ARE SEXUAL PREDATORS AND SEXUALLY DEVIATED GARBAGE JUST AS MARK WAYNE COPELAND” on the auto correct feature on her phone. I asked Copeland if she was intending to hurt either Rusch or Judge Fairgrieve, and she told me no, adding she was not a violent person.

“Later that evening, I contacted Deanna Rusch via email. I asked Rusch to explain her relationship with Carmen Copeland. Rusch told me Carmen has filed numerous civil actions against both her and her law office since she represented Mark in the divorce. Rush said Carmen has mental health problems and she isn’t sure what she is capable of. Rusch said since I had informed her of the threat, she has been afraid to go outside. Rusch said she has contacted co-workers, family, and neighbors to let them know about the threat. Rusch said she is considering obtaining a no contact order against Carmen and is genuinely afraid of her.

A criminal history check revealed Carmen Copeland has prior convictions for Criminal Trespass 1st Degree, and for violating a DV No-Contact Order.”

Camen’s prior criminal history includes:

  • Criminal trespass on October 2, 2018, for which she was convicted on December 6, 2019.
  • Domestic violence (court order violation) on October 2, 2018, for which she was convicted on December 6, 2019.

In divorce documents, Carmen was accused of child abandonment and neglect and having emotional or physical problems that impaired her ability to parent. Mark won full custody of their children, and Carmen was not granted any visitation rights until she sought psychiatric counseling. Carmen has also lost multiple appeals to her criminal convictions.

The divorce settlement left Carmen with a house, a vehicle, and financial resources. 

Downtown Camas merchants are very uneasy with the rising homeless and panhandling issues and the owner of 4 Ever Growing Kids, Amy Begley, presented their issues to City Council on Monday, pleading with the city to remedy these issues. 

City Council member Jennifer Senescu said at Monday’s council meeting she will work with police and encourage a staff report to find ways to resolve the present situation with Carmen. For his part, Mayor Steve Hogan apologized to veterans present at Monday’s council meeting for the desecration of the American flag incidents on Memorial Day, in which witnesses says Carmen removed flag, spit on them, and cursed them. 

Probable Cause Information.

2 replies
  1. dick stein
    dick stein says:

    I care. as a camas resident I am sick of this woman attacking me verbally. someone is going to beat her.


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