Protesters block Meridian Road after playground trespassing arrest

Posted at 2:58 AM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 19:25:55-04

MERIDIAN, Idaho — Meridian Police made a misdemeanor trespassing arrest Tuesday night after a woman reportedly refused to leave a park playground in Meridian.

According to police, officers arrived on the scene and saw that signage and caution tape announcing the playground's closure had been removed. Police say they observed multiple individuals gathered on the closed playground, informing those gathering that the playground was closed.

Meridian Police said they made several attempts to help the woman, 40-year-old Sarah Brady, adhere to the rules, but ultimately were forced to arrest her for trespassing, as she was non-compliant.

As Idaho News 6 has reported, most people are complying with Governor Little's stay at home order.

The Idaho Freedom Foundation, a conservative lobby group, made waves on social media Tuesday with what appeared to be a series of planned events aimed at provoking the state's enforcement of the stay at home order.

About 100 protesters blocked Meridian Road near City Hall, in protest against the arrest at Kleiner Park.

Police say no citations were made during the protest, but officers did ask protesters to not block the road.

Idaho News 6 legal analyst and former republican state lawmaker Luke Malek says the playground was closed legally and constitutionally based on Idaho code. Malek says while he understands the concerns around protecting freedoms, it is hard to argue the public does not have a way to address the topic.

"The Meridian City Council still takes public comment on this kind of stuff," said Malek. "The Parks and Recreation still has open meetings in the City of Meridian, so there's a lot of different paths to getting feedback without staging a protest and staging a media opportunity for this to go nationwide."

It is important to note that the park was open and the playground was closed because health experts believe the coronavirus can live on surfaces like playground equipment for days or weeks. Officials say it is a temporary measure to keep the public safe during a stay-home order.