By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports
A Boise woman arrested and later acquitted by a judge following an abortion protest filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday against several Idaho State Police officers.
Avalon Hardy filed the lawsuit naming ISP officers Michael Kish, Troy Debie, Kyle Card, and Steven McClain for their alleged actions. The lawsuit dates back to a June 28, 2022 arrest during an abortion protest.
Hardy’s lawsuit claims there were both anti-abortion protesters and pro-choice protesters outside of the Idaho State Capitol building, four days after the U.S. Supreme Court released its opinion in the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. Some protesters were shouting at each other, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit claims Kish, a plain clothes officer, observed the bustle in the crowd and did not intervene except to hold Hardy back. Hardy’s complaint claims the crowd was tightly packed and getting jostled was common and nearly unavoidable. But Kish and other officers arrested Hardy by force.
ISP’s affidavit at the time of the arrest state, Hardy “began to shove Sergeant Kish repeatedly with her hands.” Hardy’s counsel states that is false and alleges that Kish also did not identify himself as a police officer.
“Police arrested only two people at the protest that day, both of them women of color protesting in support of abortion access,” the lawsuit claims. Hardy is Black.
Hardy was charged with felony battery of an officer, but at a preliminary hearing, where prosecutors must justify the charge with evidence, the prosecution amended the charge to misdemeanor battery. Later, at trial, the court acquitted her without submitting the case to a jury, finding insufficient evidence.
The lawsuit claims wrongful arrest, use of excessive force, malicious prosecution, and deliberate fabrication of evidence, among other issues.
Hardy, represented by Wrest Collective law firm, demands a jury trial.
Idaho State Police has not yet filed a response in court and did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Idaho Reports.