BOISE, Idaho — After getting an urgent call from her young son, Ada County Commissioner Diana Lachiondo left Central District Health's virtual meeting.
"My 12-year-old son is home by himself right now and there are protesters banging outside the door," she said. "I'm gonna go home and make sure he's okay."
At least three protestors showed up at Lachiondo's home in Boise as the meeting got underway Tuesday night. However, Lachiando was not home. She called in to the Central District Health virtual board meeting from her office at the Ada County Courthouse.
The protesters were live on Facebook for about 15 minutes, using air horns, banging on buckets, and playing clips from the movie Scarface in front of her home, likely believing the commissioner had called in from her home, which she had done at the board's previous meeting on Friday.
"You guys, sometimes I admit that I feel a little bit aggressive and pissed off," one protester yelled as she hit a bucket.
The Facebook video has since been taken down.
Her two boys were alone as the meeting got underway. Their grandmother was home with them but had gone to take their family dog on a walk when the protesters showed up.
"I just felt so helpless," Lachiondo said. "It was both my 12-year-old and my 8-year-old huddled together in my son's room and they were scared and I felt so helpless and I feel like I let them down for not being there."
"I'm a fourth-generation Idahoan. Born and raised here in Boise," she said. "My oldest, he went through a period of time when he was hearing things on the news or watching TV and he would be scared about robbers and I would always tell him this is a safe place, Boise is a very safe place and you don't have to worry, and that loss of innocence, not that it isn't a safe place, but we're being targeted, is scary."
On Wednesday, Boise Police said they had identified the three people in the Facebook video and had issued warrants for their arrest for disturbing the peace. As of Wednesday night, they had not been arrested.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Ada County Board of Commissioners issued a statement condemning the actions of the protesters.
"I was shocked and saddened to hear that for the second time this month community members angry about decisions made by elected officials would take their protests to those officials' homes," Ada County Commissioner Patrick Malloy said. "While I am a Constitutionalist and a conservative, I find it outrageous that citizens would think it appropriate to protest outside the private residence of any elected official. This same group of protestors would find it a violation of their rights if a government agency rallied outside of their home, but find nothing wrong with causing fear and anxiety for the children and other family members of elected officials."
"These actions do not further the community support of those protesting. Rather, they alienate those who might otherwise agree with the reason for the protests," Malloy added. "I absolutely support and would defend the rights of citizens to peaceably protest the government or individual elected officials when they have grievances. I have strongly disagreed with some of the decisions of these public officials, but these protests need to take place at an appropriate public location, and not at the private homes of elected officials."
Ada County Commissioner Kendra Kenyon said, "It is a sad day in our community when our elected public servants are harassed, intimidated, and threatened at their personal homes. I have hope that the good people in our community will continue to band together and focus on the positive. We live in a beautiful community that condemns bullying and intimidation, and we stand together against this abhorrent behavior."
In response to the proposed public health order the board was set to vote on Tuesday night, Lachiondo said, "No one is excited to have to be considering orders. I want people to just do the right thing voluntarily, just do the right thing voluntarily, I'm not excited about any of this but we're really stuck in a rock and a hard place here."
She also told KTVB that she is set to leave the health board in a few weeks, so she is doing her best until her final day.
"I am sad. I am tired. I fear that, in my choosing to hold public office, my family has too-often paid the price," Lachiondo added. "Though I was born and raised in Idaho and have chosen to raise my own family here, I increasingly don’t recognize this place. There is an ugliness and cruelty in our national rhetoric that is reaching a fevered pitch here at home, and that should worry us all."
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