Boise traffic video goes viral, gets a million views. Was it really a citizen’s arrest?

·4 min read

A video of a woman’s confrontation with two Boise drivers went viral over the weekend, garnering more than a million views in a matter of days.

Many viewers couldn’t agree on whether she was attempting to carry out vigilante justice or in need of help.

The video shows a maroon Subaru driving erratically on West Overland Road near the Wye Interchange. The vehicle stops in the middle of the road and a woman gets out of it. The woman, wearing a clothespin necklace and two pairs of glasses atop a hat reading “Blessed,” begins waving her arms and yelling at the drivers behind her to turn off their cars and put their hands in the air. Then she begins to bang on the outside of one car.

Twitter user Fifty Shades of Whey, whose account has 198,000 followers and lists its location as New York City, seemed to think the woman was attempting an arrest.

“This woman in Idaho tries to perform a citizen’s arrest in the middle of the street,” Whey captioned the video.

About 9,000 people have since retweeted the video, with some Idahoans adding their own thoughts on the alleged citizen’s arrest.

“Gosh, I just *can’t wait* for this to be the Idaho norm,” said Mike Satz, executive director of political advocacy group Idaho 97 Project, in a tweet.

Video shared with misleading caption

Boise resident Daniel Mejia was the one who captured the video posted by Whey. Mejia, who originally posted it on the Treasure Valley Crime and Community page on Facebook, did not agree with Whey’s assessment.

Mejia told the Statesman that around 7:45 p.m. Friday, he watched the maroon Subaru ahead of him brake and turn, forcing Mejia’s vehicle and another driver in a truck to come to a stop.

He said he had “no clue” what could have provoked the Subaru driver or what she was trying to do. Mejia quickly got into the other lane and began to film from inside his vehicle.

“I was confused and concerned, just because I didn’t know what (she) was doing and why she was giving us those commands,” Mejia told the Idaho Statesman. “I was also concerned just because of her sudden hand movements. I wasn’t sure what her (intentions) were.”

In the video, Mejia’s vehicle can be seen driving off just as the woman begins banging on his car. He said he then called 911.

Boise Police Department Public Information Officer Haley Williams told the Statesman that she had not received any information about a citizen arrest. Whey did not respond to the Idaho Statesman’s request for comment.

Police cite ‘medical emergency’

By the time officers got there, the woman and her vehicle had moved off the roadway. The department’s Behavioral Health Response Team also responded, and “the incident was quickly determined to be a medical emergency,” according to Haley Kramer, Boise police communications manager. The response team comprises civilian members who partner with police to respond to people who may be in crisis.

“Evidence indicates the subject suffered from a medical emergency while in her vehicle, resulting in a crisis,” Kramer told the Statesman in an email. “After exiting her vehicle and running into the road, she experienced another medical emergency. The subject was transported to the hospital for treatment.”

Because the woman was no longer in the road and was suffering from medical issues, a police report was not created, said Williams in a phone interview.

Williams said police had not seen the video at the time and did not know if the department would take further steps based on it, but response team members plan to remain involved.

Williams said she could not release the woman’s name because she was not arrested.

After seeing the video, the woman’s son reached out to Mejia to let him know the woman was recovering at the Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center.

“As far as we know, she’s in St. Al’s hopefully recovering from whatever bs she was on,” the son wrote in a Facebook message on Sunday, according to Mejia.

According to the Ada County Sheriff’s Office, Mejia made the right decisions on Friday.

Public Information Officer Patrick Orr said members of the sheriff’s office advised those in potentially dangerous situations to call 911 immediately. After making that call, those who are able to remove themselves safely from the threat —”emphasis on safely”— can move to a safe place where they can “be a good witness,” according to Orr.

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