The arrest of Sara Brady, 40, was captured on Facebook live. Videos of what transpired circulated widely online.
Video footage showed a woman later identified as Brady speaking to police officers, one of whom told her to “exit the playground area.”
“We’re not trespassing,” Brady responded. As she continued speaking, the officer said: “You have five seconds.” He counted down and when she did not leave, he handcuffed Brady.
None of the officers were wearing gloves or masks.
As Brady was led to a police car, a woman shouted: “Her kids are here!”
Brady was charged with one count of trespassing, a misdemeanor.
“I feel like I was singled out because I was the only person that was arrested,” Brady told CBS2. “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.”
The city of Meridian shut all playgrounds and outdoor exercise equipment down on March 23 in an attempt to curb the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a novel coronavirus that emerged from mainland China last year.
Brady’s arrest sparked a protest of dozens of people at Meridian City Hall.
Police officers said she was arrested because she wouldn’t obey officers telling her to leave the playground.
“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. She was arrested for trespassing,” the Meridian Police Department said in a statement.
“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,” it added.
Brady plans to fight the charge, according to the Idaho Freedom Foundation. It said Brady was participating in “a playdate protest” at the park where the playground is located.
The arrest came after a mother in another part of Idaho was cited for allegedly violating Gov. Brad Little’s stay at home order. The mom is facing jail time.
Brady has previously garnered media attention for fighting a school district over immunization exemption for her 5-year-old son, a fight she won after the district revised its first decision.