Ask, and Sara Brady received.
“Arrest me for being difficult. Do it!” she told a police officer at a park in Meridian, Idaho. The officer complied, taking the 40-year-old into custody, according to a local CBS affiliate, for violating city orders by trespassing on a playground that was closed as part of the effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. She was reportedly charged with one count of misdemeanor trespassing.
The arrest, which spread across social media, led to protests at Meridian City Hall.
“I feel like I was singled out because I was the only person that was arrested,” Brady would later explain to 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.”
Police say the park had been clearly marked with caution tape and signs of its closure.
A Facebook Live video goes on for more than 40 minutes and captures a crowd of people shouting at police officers. Here’s a clip of the arrest:
Apparently, police had asked Brady to leave several times prior to the moment captured in the clip, but she refused.
“These are very trying times and the Meridian Police Department supports the public’s right to assemble for peaceful protest,” the MPD said in a statement. “However the right does not include damaging public property or ignoring closures of City property and facilities.”
The arrest triggered uproar among the likes of this former NRA spokesperson:
Brady, as the woman behind the Facebook FB, +7.55% group “Idahoans for Vaccine Freedom,” has made the news cycle before in the Meridian community. Wonkette on Wednesday described her as “the Rosa Parks of exposing children to deadly viruses.”
Several states, led by Georgia, are taking steps to ease restrictions even as the coronavirus continues to take a toll across the country. The U.S. has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world, with more than 825,000, including 45,075 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The global confirmed-cases tally has climbed to 2.6 million.