"It is not under control.” CDH meeting ended abruptly on request of Boise mayor, police chief due to protestors

Protestors outside CDH
Posted at 5:38 PM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-09 10:58:39-05

BOISE, Idaho — Boise Police and Boise Mayor Lauren McLean requested the Central District Health meeting be postponed due to protests outside CDH and board member's homes.

Due to large crowds outside of CDH offices and at least three board member's homes, CDH Director Russ Duke said Mayor McLean and Boise Police requested the meeting end over safety concerns.

"I am deeply disturbed by what I saw. People at that meeting cheered, they were glad that I shut it down," Boise Mayor Lauren McLean said during a council meeting. "At the end of the day, I made the decision to protect the children home alone, that were facing protestors banging on their mother's door. To protect the agency and the staff in the room with hundereds of people outside. To protect our officers who will do the work they need to do to follow up and make the decisions they must and the threats of violence that we saw tonight. This is not who we are, Boise."

McLean urged Idahoans to remember "we only have a couple months left of this really tough year."

Board members, including representative Diana Lachiondo and Dr. Tedd Epperly said there were large crowds "not under control" outside of their houses.

Rep. Diana Lachiondo left the meeting to call the police and to go to her home, where she said protesters were banging on the door while her young son was home alone.

The board moved to meet at a later date, to be determined by the chair.

"The actions of protestors at the private residences of public officials is reprehensible. It is nothing more than a bullying tactic that seeks to silence. Our right to free speech should not be used to intimidate and scare others," Gov. Brad Little said in a statement posted to social media. "There is no place for this behavior in Idaho. I urge calm among Idahoans so we can get through the pandemic together, stronger."

Boise police say one person was arrested by a CDH representative for trespassing after they refused to leave voluntarily. BPD took custody of the individual, identified as 53-year-old Yvonne St Cyr of Boise, and they are now at Ada County Jail, according to police.

"Due to the totality of the events, there was concern that officers would not be able to maintain public order," according to a statement from BPD. "Officers priority was to deescalate the situation and not create an environment where officers had to use increased force. We also had to ensure we had resources available to adequately respond to needs across the city."

CEO of Primary Health Medical Group David Peterman had just started giving an update to board members when Duke announced the request to call it off.

The board was met with a lot of push back, many calling the potential order unfair, so the board revised the draft to ease the public and control the spread of COVID-19 at the same time.

The draft for Ada, Boise, Elmore, and Valley counties includes a face mask requirement and limited gatherings of 10 people or less. Visits to long-term care facilities would be allowed based on specific parameters.

The revised order also dropped the ban against both youth and adult sports that cannot accommodate social distancing.