The video of an Idaho woman being arrested by police for taking her children to a closed playground in the city of Meridian during the Coronavirus lockdown has gone viral across social media.
The video, taken by a bystander on their phone, shows an officer telling the mother to exit the playground, to which she objects. “We’re not trespassing,” the woman said.
Based on the conversation heard, the officer singled her out among many in the park for no clear reason other than they were on an empty playground while other families, who were “not social distancing” occupied other areas of the park.
Refusing to leave, the woman challenged the officer to arrest her, to which he handcuffed and escorted the woman to his squad car, where she was brought back to the station and charged with criminal trespassing.
Ironically, the commotion caused by arresting the woman, though the officer said in the video she was only being detained, attracted a large crowd of onlookers pleading with the cops to let her go and asking why she was being arrested for bringing her kids to a playground.
The video blew up because of the harsh enforcement of stay-at-home orders across the country, which many Americans think goes way too far. While many can accept socially distancing – staying 6 feet apart and avoiding confined crowds – closing down parks, open spaces, and in some cases mandating unemployment for workers has spurred protests across Michigan, New Jersey, and many other states. One New Jersey woman was charged for violating the state’s stay-at-home order after organizing a protest against the measure.
The woman from Idaho, later identified as Sara Brady, is just the latest in a long list of state crackdowns against people looking to be free from confinement.
According to the Washington Examiner, “Brady was arrested and charged with misdemeanor trespassing and booked into jail Tuesday afternoon. She has since been bailed out.” Despite the very real threat of being criminally charged, “her arrest inspired a group of around 100 people to protest at Meridian City Hall.”
“I feel like I was singled out because I was the only person that was arrested,” Brady told KBOI. “I wasn’t the only person standing on the bark. 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.”MSN
In a statement addressing the controversy, the Meridian Police Department said, “these are very trying times and the Meridian Police Department supports the public’s right to assemble for peaceful protest, however, the right does not include damaging public property or ignoring closures of City property and facilities.”