MERIDIAN, Idaho — This story first appeared in the Idaho Press.
Sara Brady, the Meridian woman who went to a closed playground in April 2020 and asked police to arrest her, filed a tort claim asking for $500,000 against the city of Meridian last month.
A tort claim is not the same as a lawsuit; it’s a notice that someone believes a wrong has been committed and is preserving a right to sue. This claim was sent to the city of Meridian, the secretary of state and Ada County.
“I was unconstitutionally and falsely arrested while lawfully standing in a public park exercising my constitutional rights,” Brady wrote in the claim. “I was then prosecuted for trespassing which cost me tens of thousands of dollars.”
She wrote that her damages include emotional distress and attorney’s fees.
On social media last month, Brady wrote that her legal costs were almost $50,000.
Brady was one of several parents who took their children to a playground at Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park, which had been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Brady and others argued with Meridian police officers about the constitutionality of the decision to close the park. Brady then turned, put her arms behind her back and asked the officer to arrest her.
Tensions were high throughout the state and country at the time, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. A few days before Brady was arrested, a protest against Gov. Brad Little’s stay-at-home order drew hundreds of people.
Brady’s arrest also set off protests in front of the home of the Meridian officer who made the arrest.
In January, Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador dismissed the charges against her, to the dismay of Meridian Mayor Robert Simison and Police Chief Tracy Basterrechea.
Simison called Labrador’s selective dismissal of the case and endorsement of illegal behavior “abhorrent” and “a breach of his oath of office to uphold the rule of law.”
Basterrechea said he hoped the dismissal of charges “is not the type of political grandstanding we should expect coming out of the Attorney General’s Office moving forward.”
This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press, read more on IdahoPress.com.
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