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22 Apr, 2020 17:21

‘Americans won’t stand for it’: Outrage and protests as mother arrested for letting children play in park

‘Americans won’t stand for it’: Outrage and protests as mother arrested for letting children play in park

The case of a mother in Meridian, Idaho, who was arrested after police say she violated a city order by letting her children play in a playground has sparked a furious backlash and protests against Covid-19 restrictions.

Sara Brady was arrested and charged with one count of misdemeanor trespassing, following the incident at Kleiner Park in Meridian on Tuesday.

Video footage shows Brady being led away from the scene in handcuffs as several other women with young children plead with the police officers for an explanation for the arrest. 

“As a person, does this make sense to you? As a person, not as a police officer,” one can be heard asking as the mother is perp-walked out of the park on the sunny afternoon. 

Meridian police say they made several attempts to encourage Brady to adhere to the rules and she did not comply with their requests. She was part of a group of families that was taking part in a “playdate protest” over Idaho’s stay-at-home orders. She is now facing up to six months in jail and/or a US$1,000 fine.

The arrest prompted a protest outside Meridian City Hall on Tuesday evening, where demonstrators voiced their concerns about how the incident was handled by the police and expressed their opposition to Idaho’s Covid-19 measures.

Restrictive lockdown measures limiting people’s freedom of movement and sending unemployment rates to record highs have created tensions in many US states.

Footage of Brady’s arrest went viral on Twitter on Wednesday, with one video of the incident racking up more than one million views in two hours.

“This has gotten out of control,” activist Rogan O’Handley writes in one viral message. “Stop arresting free Americans for being outside with their families.”

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Conservative commentator Dave Rubin added: “This is absolutely bananas. The officers could ask her to leave, or tell her the park is closed (if it was), but arresting this mother is insane. Americans won’t stand for it much longer.”

Earlier footage from the scene, which was posted on Facebook by another playdate protester, shows police asking Brady and others to leave the playground. Brady can be heard telling the officer to arrest her, before turning her back to him while putting her hands behind her.

“Do it,” she said.

Speaking to local media after her arrest, Brady said she feels “singled out” because she was the only one arrested. 

"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," she said.

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