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Records reveal more reactions to Labrador's dismissal of Meridian park mom case

Meridian Police Chief Tracy Basterrechea told front office staff in a memo to expect “more ignorant and belligerent phone calls."
Credit: AP
FILE - Idaho Attorney General candidate Rep. Raul Labrador delivers his acceptance speech on Nov. 8, 2022, in Boise, Idaho.

MERIDIAN, Idaho — Meridian Police Chief Tracy Basterrechea told front office staff in a memo to expect “more ignorant and belligerent phone calls” after Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador dismissed the case against Sara Brady.

The memo, sent to all personnel, was obtained via a public records request to the Attorney General’s Office. Meridian confirmed its authenticity and said it had received a small number of calls, split evenly "in support and dissatisfaction."

Brady, a Meridian woman, was one of several parents who took their children to a playground at Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park in April 2020; the park had been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Brady and others argued with Meridian police officers about the constitutionality of the closure. Brady then turned, put her arms behind her back and asked the officer to arrest her.

Basterrechea and Meridian Mayor Robert Simison condemned Labrador's decision in statements sent the day the first-year attorney general moved to dismiss Brady's case.

“REMEMBER, you do not have to subject yourself to any type of verbal abuse and can just hang up on the caller,” Basterrechea wrote in the memo to front office staff. “We absolutely support Sgt. Fiscus and his decision to arrest Brady. The prior attorneys and the courts have all confirmed the merits of the case against Brady.”

As late as Friday, Dec. 30, Basterrechea wrote that the Attorney General’s Office told Fiscus and Roger Norberg with the Parks Department that the office would be getting a subpoena for the case.

The Idaho Press is not publishing Fiscus's full name to protect his privacy amid possible threats to his safety. Fiscus was targeted by protestors outside his home after he arrested Brady. 

“The only thing that changed from Friday to today, is Raúl Labrador is the new Attorney General,” Basterrechea wrote.

On the day it was announced, four people emailed the Idaho Attorney General’s Office — three in support the decision and one against, according to the public records request.

Tim Neilson from Eagle wrote an email with the subject line “Good For You!”

“Love the decision and your statement on Sara Brady,” Neilson wrote. “Government overreach at it’s worst. Thank you!"

Another, Bonnie Smith of Meridian, wrote that she had renewed hope for Idaho.

“Praying you can do something to help Ammon (Bundy) and Diego (Rodriguez) with their illegal charges. And of course Robert Jones,” Smith wrote.

Former Idaho gubernatorial candidate and anti-government activist Ammon Bundy is facing a trespassing charge for refusing to leave St. Luke’s in Meridian last March. Child Protective Services had brought the grandson of his political acolyte, Diego Rodriguez, to the hospital after determining the baby was malnourished.

St. Luke’s later sued Bundy and Rodriguez.

Jones was sentenced to six months in jail in September for misdemeanor disturbing the peace, according to the Idaho Statesman. Jones, a Bundy follower, protested outside of a former Central District Health board member’s home, the Statesman reported at the time.

Brady has posted on social media about Jones’ case, in support of Jones.

On Jan. 5, only one Idahoan emailed the Attorney General to express disappointment.

“We all have an obligation to obey the law and to face the consequences when we don’t,” Ken Henningsen wrote. “Political grandstanding should have no place…please do more to support our local law enforcement and to uphold the law fairly and equally for all Idahoans.”

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