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Ammon Bundy arrested after refusing to obey Idaho Statehouse meeting rules

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amphotora/iStockBy IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News

(BOISE, Idaho) — Idaho state police troopers arrested states’ rights activist Ammon Bundy Tuesday and wheeled him out of the Idaho Statehouse, still in his seat, after he disrupted a special legislative session, police said.

His arrest, along with three other protesters, came a day after a crowd of unmasked protesters, some of whom were armed, broke glass, stormed the chambers and violated social distancing rules during the special session, according to authorities.

The Idaho State Police said in a statement to ABC News that Bundy, who was not wearing a mask, Aaron Von Schmidt, 42, and Jill Watts, 38, failed to leave the Lincoln Auditorium after the speaker of the House of Representatives, Scott Bedke, ordered the room cleared.

Bundy, who took part in a 41-day standoff with federal agents in Oregon in 2016, allegedly did not get up from his seat despite orders from the officers, according to the state police.

“He was placed in handcuffs and removed from the Statehouse still in the rolling chair where he was seated,” the police said in a statement.

Bundy, Von Schmidt and Watts were charged with misdemeanor trespassing, according to the state police. Bundy was charged with an additional misdemeanor of resisting and obstructing officers, the state police said.

Earlier in the afternoon, Bryan Bowermaster, 33 of Boise, was removed from the statehouse after he violated assigned seating guidelines and took the spot reserved for credentialed journalists, according to the state police. Bowermaster was charged with misdemeanor trespassing, according to the police.

Attorney information for Bundy and the other defendants wasn’t immediately available.

Idaho state leaders have been meeting for a special session this week to discuss and vote on several bills, including one that would end Gov. Brad Little’s state of emergency over the coronavirus.

Idaho currently has 30,475 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases and 326 confirmed and probable deaths, according to the state’s Health Department. There have been 9,361 new coronavirus diagnoses between Aug. 1 and Aug. 25, according to state data.

On Aug. 19, the state recorded 12 COVID-19 deaths, which broke the previous record of 10 set on July 27, the health data showed.

On Monday, the statehouse was the scene of a chaotic protest where several people, including Bundy, ignored rules requiring social distancing.

Protesters shattering a glass door, rushed into the House chambers, which was supposed to have limited seating, and shoved their way past state police officers, according to local reports. Some of the protesters were armed with rifles and the majority didn’t wear face coverings.

Republican House Speaker Scott Bedke allowed the gallery to fully open as long as the crowd stopped chanting and was respectful, and there were no arrests.

A spokeswoman for the Idaho State Police said in a statement an investigation is underway into any criminal behavior that may have occurred during the Monday protest.

“Troopers very aware that their own actions may escalate or deescalate a situation with immediate impact on the safety of all involved. The situation outside the House Chambers Monday broke out in a matter of moments,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.

“Troopers acted in such a way as to ensure the important business of the Legislature could continue under these extraordinary circumstances,” she added.

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