Notorious far-right rancher and independent Idaho gubernatorial candidate Ammon Bundy was arrested Saturday protesting the police seizure of a severely “malnourished” 10-month-old baby at risk of death, local law enforcement reported.
Bundy and a supporter were arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing when they refused to leave the grounds of St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center where the baby was being treated, Meridian police said in a statement.
A Bundy campaign statement called it an “ambush arrest with no legal grounds.”
Bundy and supporters famously engaged in an armed standoff with law enforcement in 2016 when they seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon to demand ranchers be allowed to occupy federal lands. An Oregon jury later acquitted Bundy of crimes linked to the occupation.
Bundy claimed on Twitter that the baby was “kidnapped” by police, and called it “medical tyranny.” A blog site linked to Bundy’s campaign said the baby is a grandson of a prominent right-wing pastor in the state.
Police, who did not identify the baby, said in a statement that the child had initially been admitted to the hospital March 1 for “severe malnourishment.” The baby was released to its parents after treatment.
“During a follow up appointment earlier this week it was determined the child had again lost a significant amount of weight. Then the parents canceled the next follow-up appointment and could not be located,” noted the police statement. “Meridian Police were contacted and advised this child’s condition could lead to severe injury or even death if not treated.”
When the parents stopped cooperating, police, armed with a warrant, went to the family home to collect the baby for treatment, the statement said.
The baby was finally taken into custody when the parents, who had fled with the child, were pulled over in a traffic stop, according to police.
The Idaho Statesman reported that the baby’s mom live-streamed her conversation with police before the baby was rushed to the hospital.
“Why can’t I be with him while you’re doing the medical work?” she asked, the Statesman reported.
The police officer reportedly responded that the baby was in “imminent danger.” “I really don’t want to make this worse on you,” he added. “I’d like to get him the help that he needs right now. … He goes with us in the ambulance and you leave. If that doesn’t happen, then we arrest you.”
Bundy was reportedly released from custody later Saturday. He’s scheduled to stand trial this week on three charges from a previous trespassing case involving a protest at the Idaho state Capitol.