Anti-government leader Ammon Bundy refuses to appear in court with mask, gets arrested
Ammon Bundy, a leader in the anti-government movement, was arrested Monday after he failed to appear for his trial on trespassing charges because he was outside the courthouse protesting a mask mandate to enter the building.
Bundy was charged with trespassing in August after he and a group of his anti-government followers barged into the Idaho Statehouse in protest of COVID-19 related restrictions.
On Monday, Bundy and others were outside Ada County Courthouse, where his trial was to take place, protesting a Idaho Supreme Court rule that requires masks be worn inside the building.
When Bundy was not inside for his court date, a judge issued an arrest warrant for failure to appear.
According to Ada County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy then approached Bundy and Aaron von Schmidt, another man who also was to appear for his trial on trespassing charges, and informed them of the warrant.
The men refused to go with deputy voluntarily, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Anti-government activist Ammon Bundy, wearing a cowboy hat, yells through the closed Ada County Courthouse door at law enforcement officers inside Monday, March 15, 2021, in Boise, Idaho. (Photo: Rebecca Boone, AP)
Bundy dropped to the ground and refused to move, the statement said, while some protesters locked arms and tried to obstruct deputies from arresting the men.
Authorities eventually arrested Bundy and Schmidt. Another man, Casey J. Baker, was arrested on a felony count of battery on a law enforcement officer as well as a misdemeanor count of resisting and obstructing an officer. Another man was also cited for misdemeanor resisting and obstructing officers.
During the skirmish, a man who was not involved but got caught up in the crowd was knocked to the ground and hospitalized with heads injuries, Ada County Sheriff’s Office said.
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Online court records Tuesday morning showed Bundy, Schmidt and Baker remained in custody. Bundy and Schmidt were being held on a $10,000 bond while Baker was being held without bail. Bundy was representing himself in the trial. It was not immediately clear if the other men had attorneys.
Bundy was previously arrested after a group of unmasked people entered the Idaho Statehouse over multiple days. On the first day, the group entered the House gallery and shattered a glass door. The next day, Bundy and others staged a sit-in in an empty meeting room that a crowd had earlier shouted lawmakers out of. He was arrested on a trespassing charge. Bundy was arrested for a second time the next day when he entered the state Capitol again.
Bundy rose to prominence in the anti-government movement for his role in armed standoffs with federal officials at a wildlife refuge in Oregon and over his father’s cattle ranch in Nevada
For 41 days in 2016, Bundy led an armed group of anti-government extremists in an occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. He was later acquitted on charges stemming from the standoff. In 2014, Bundy, his brothers and his father were in an armed standoff with Bureau of Land Management officials who had seized one of their cattle over unpaid grazing fees. Bundy was in federal custody for almost two years but a judge declared a mistrial in the case.
After the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bundy focused his efforts on protesting mask mandates and restrictions tied to the coronavirus.
Anti-government activist Ammon Bundy is wheeled from the Idaho Statehouse in Boise, Idaho, on Wednesday, following his second arrest for trespassing in two days. Bundy was arrested Tuesday in a committee room and charged with trespassing. (Photo: KEITH RIDLER/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
A report released by the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights and the Montana Human Rights Network found that Bundy had formed a group named “People’s Rights” that was tied to anti-mask and anti-vaccine misinformation.
The report called the group dangerous and said it included a multi-state network of armed far-right groups aligned with Bundy’s anti-government message and groups spreading conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Contributing: The Associated Press
Follow USA TODAY’s Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller
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