MERIDIAN, Idaho — Ammon Bundy, independent candidate for Idaho governor and a leader of the “People’s Rights” movement, faces a misdemeanor trespassing charge in Meridian.
Ada County Jail records show Bundy, 46, was booked into jail at 1:15 a.m. Saturday, then released. Meridian Police had arrested him on suspicion of “first offense trespass – failure to depart.”
A statement from Bundy's campaign, posted on Twitter, says he was arrested in front of St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center “for the crime of disagreeing with the hospital and CPS.”
According to the statement, Bundy had arrived at the hospital in support of a family whose baby had been “medically kidnapped” due to a missed non-emergency doctor’s appointment.
The Meridian Police Dept. said in a news release issued later Saturday morning that police on Friday received an Idaho Health and Welfare referral about a ten-month-old child who had been admitted to the hospital on March 1 "after medical personnel determined the child was suffering from severe malnourishment."
The child was discharged into the care of its parents on March 4, after the child was able to gain enough weight. However, during a follow-up appointment, Meridian Police said, it was determined that the child had again lost a significant amount of weight, but the parents canceled the next follow-up appointment and could not be located. Meridian Police had been advised that the child's condition could lead to severe injury or even death if left untreated.
Meridian Police said Health and Welfare was able to contact the child’s father, who agreed to bring the child in for an examination, but then failed to show up. When officers attempted to contact the parents and check on the child at a home in Meridian, the people inside refused to let officers check on the child's welfare.
Meridian Police received a warrant to enter the home, but discovered the parents and the child had left before officers could check on the child. Garden City Police located a vehicle driven by the father of the child and conducted a traffic stop on Chinden Boulevard. That's when Meridian Police took the child into custody, then took the child to St. Luke's Meridian.
According to Meridian Police, Bundy "and several of his followers" showed up to St. Luke’s Meridian and refused to leave the property when asked to do so.
In addition to Bundy, officers also arrested Wendy Kay Whitaker, 69, Miranda Chavoya, 23, and Marissa Anderson, 21.
Police accuse Whitaker of attempting to interfere in Bundy's arrest and also refusing to leave St. Luke's property.
Chavoya and Anderson were arrested on suspicion of resisting or obstructing at the scene of the traffic stop in Garden City.
All of those arrested are out of jail at this time.
Saturday’s arrest may have been the first time Bundy was accused of trespassing at St. Luke’s, but it was not the first time Bundy has been arrested for trespassing.
Court records show a jury trial is set to begin Monday, March 14, for a case in which Bundy is charged with two counts of trespassing -- second offense -- following an arrest on April 8, 2021, at the Idaho State Capitol. He was found guilty of a first misdemeanor trespassing offense and sentenced to 40 hours of community service for refusing to leave an auditorium at the capitol during the August 2020 special session.
In July 2021, Bundy kicked off a campaign for governor of Idaho. At the time, he was pursuing the Republican nomination. However, he announced in February that he would instead run as an independent. As an independent, Bundy will not be subject to the upcoming May primary election. He is on the Idaho Secretary of State's unofficial list of candidates who have filed to run for office this year.
Monday, March 14 update:
Ada County Sheriff, Matt Clifford, posted a statement on Facebook expressing his support for Meridian Police's response to the situation.
"Given the same circumstances, our investigators would have likely arrived at the same conclusion and made the same decisions," Clifford said in the statement.
He went on to say he believes the investigators did not take their decision lightly, and that before declaring someone to be in imminent danger, investigators first ensure they have "clear and comprehensive evidence."
"There isn’t a single law enforcement officer in Ada County that wants to separate a child from a parent. We always want to preserve the ability for families to stay together if safely possible" Clifford said. "First and foremost, however, is the safety of the child."
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