Parents who brought kids to playground for staged event were told to move on before arrest for breaking public health order
In Idaho, a mother identified as an anti-vaccine activist was arrested for reportedly breaking into a playground with other parents and children to protest against Idaho's anti-coronavirus restrictions.
"Officer, you don’t want to do that,” she says to a police officer who is arresting her for breaking into a playground and violating an emergency public health order.
Sara Brady, identified as a 40-year-old mother of two children at the playground, was arrested and charged with one count of misdemeanour trespassing, said the Meridian Police Department (MPD) of Idaho in a press release on Tuesday.
Brady is reportedly affiliated with the anti-vaccine groups Idahoans for Vaccine Freedom and Health Freedom Idaho.
The MPD arrest report says officers arrived at Kleiner Park in Meridian after receiving “several calls to Ada County Dispatch” about parents violating the coronavirus stay-at-home orders and breaking into the park.
The gathering has been identified by news outlets as a planned playdate protest.
Brady was part of a group of several families who put together what the Idaho Freedom Foundation has called a “playdate protest” to express their anger over Gov. Brad Little’s stay-at-home order.
“There are a BUNCH of us taking our kids to Kleiner Park in Meridian today at 3pm to tear the tape off the playground. ANYONE can join us, kids or no kids, let’s take a stand!”,
Video from the scene, shown in tweets in this blog post, shows a scene in which parents and kids are using an enclosed playground in what would appear to violate Idaho's social distancing orders.
In the video, you can see Brady sassing police officers who are asking her to leave the playground.
From Boise Public Radio:
But according to the MPD statement, “officers saw that metal signage and caution tape announcing the playground closure due to COVID-19, was removed”.
Ms Brady asked officers whether they would “arrest everyone for not social distancing over there”, while pointing to people off camera.
“Officer, you don’t want to do that”, a woman is heard saying as the 40-year-old mother was hand-cuffed by police. “Her kids are here! Her kids are here? What is going to happen? Who’s got her kids?”
Mothers gathered around MPD officers in a second video as they walked Ms Brady away from the scene.
One woman is heard yelling: “As a person, does this make sense to you? As a person — not as a police officer, as a person — does this make sense to you?”
The MPD statement added that “Meridian officers made several attempts to help Brady adhere to the rules. She was non-compliant and forced officers to place her under arrest to resolve the issue.”
Brady later told Idaho News she believes she was personally singled out.
"I wasn't the only person standing on the park. I definitely wasn't playing on the playground equipment. I wasn't swinging, never touched them. But yeah, I do feel like I was singled out and maybe it was because I asked too many questions."
A local prosecutor will determine if any charges will be filed.
More at The Independent.