Ammon Bundy, the far-right anti-government militant who led the 2016 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and is currently running as an independent candidate for the Idaho governorship, was arrested on March 11 for protesting the police seizure of a severely “malnourished” 10-month-old baby.
Bundy and a supporter were arrested on a charge of misdemeanor trespassing after they refused to leave the grounds of St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center. Later, Bundy declared that the infant, which was later returned to its parents, had been "medically kidnapped" and was thus the victim of "medical tyranny."
In a tweet, Bundy identified the child as his "good friend Diego's grandson."
In an official statement, Bundy's campaign referred to his arrest as "an ambush arrest with no legal grounds" and called on Idaho residents to "unite against medical tyranny and take back our rights.
The child was determined to be “suffering from severe malnourishment” and at risk of injury or death. The family had refused to allow police officers to conduct a welfare check after they canceled a medical appointment.
Child Protective Services (CPS) said the child had been found malnourished twice in one week. The child was taken into police custody after its parents attempted to flee only to later be pulled over at a traffic stop.
Bundy, who is standing trial for two charges of misdemeanor trespassing and one charge of resisting or obstructing officers after he was arrested twice in one day at the Idaho Capitol in April 2021, was swiftly criticized, with many suggesting that he was advocating for the right of the parents to starve their child.
Bundy became well known nationwide after he led a group of armed right-wing extremists into occupying the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon for over a month between January 2 and February 11, 2016.
In October 2016, a jury's quick acquittal of seven militants, including Bundy, on charges stemming from the armed occupation raised cries of racial bias and white privilege.
The all-white jury took just six hours to find all of the defendants not guilty on all conspiracy charges despite the fact the armed takeover was live streamed to the world and authorities discovered huge caches of weapons and ammunition on the property.
At the time, critics noted the irony of images of native protesters being maced and attacked over their peaceful protest at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation that same day.
There was never a question that the group had occupied the refuge: Federal prosecutors took two weeks to present evidence, which included a display of more than 30 weapons seized after the standoff. According to an FBI agent who testified during the trial, authorities recovered 16,636 live rounds and nearly 1,700 spent casings at the scene.
Bundy, who led the nearly six-week occupation with his brother, Ryan, spent three days testifying, during which he continued to protest federal land ownership. He even participated in interviews during the standoff in which he called for more people to support the occupation.