The ACLU of Alaska is preparing to file a suit against Nome after the City rejected an initial offer of settlement for half a million dollars on behalf of Clarice “Bun” Hardy. That news came in a press release early Monday afternoon.
“Presently our understanding is that Nome’s position is that if we want compensation or justice for Ms. Hardy, we will have to see them in court.”– Steve Koteff, Legal Director ACLU Alaska
Right now, ACLU is preparing a civil suit for Hardy, but there are not immediate plans to bring the suit on behalf of other Alaska Native women. However, Koteff says the ACLU has heard from “many” residents about concerns they have with policing in Nome, particularly concerns that Alaska Native women are not taken seriously or protected by police. According to Koteff, not all of those concerns will result in legal action.
On Friday (October 11th), Clinton Campion, an attorney representing the City of Nome, responded to the ACLU rejecting claims that the city “deprived Clarice Hardy of her equal protection rights”.
Campion’s letter claims that at most, there was a failure of a police officer to do their job in handling the report but rejects that NPD deliberately acted with indifference to the claims of Alaska Native women.
The ACLU calls Nome’s decision “disappointing” and Steve Koteff says Ms. Hardy has waited long enough for justice.
“While we do not have a timeline, we do not expect to add to that delay.”
They are prepared to go to court on Ms. Hardy’s behalf but Koteff says the ACLU is happy to continue discussions with the City about compensation for settlement.
Neither the investigator, Nick Harvey, nor then police Chief John Papasadora, whom were both involved in Ms. Hardy’s case, are still employed by the Nome Police Department. Interim City Manager John Handeland has declined to comment at this time.
The letter from Nome states their attorneys continue to investigate information about Ms. Hardy’s alleged assault, her interactions with Lieutenant Harvey, and says they welcome more discussion with the ACLU.
The Nome Common Council met in executive session with the City attorney last night to discuss the matter further.
Image at top: A photo of Clarice “Bun” Hardy, taken by Hardy and used with permission (2019).