The ACLU of Alaska filed a motion to compel after exhausting other efforts to collect information necessary to bring closure to Alaska Native woman dismissed by police after rape.
ANCHORAGE – Efforts to vindicate the callous mistreatment of Clarice ‘Bun’ Hardy, a former Nome woman whose cries for help went ignored by the Nome Police Department, have again been hampered. As such, the ACLU of Alaska, ACLU Racial Justice Program, and Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Miller & Monkman, LLP were forced to file a motion to compel with the federal court to collect information pertinent to resolving Hardy’s case.
The May 18, 2021 filing comes about four years after Bun, a then-police dispatcher for the City of Nome, was sexually assaulted and then dismissed, multiple times, by the leadership of Nome’s police — then-chief John Papasodora and then-lieutenant Nicholas Harvey.
For the last five months, the City of Nome has raised multiple unreasonable objections, refused to cooperate with standard legal proceedings of a civil suit of this nature, and failed to meet mutually agreed-upon deadlines.
“How many times will Nome fail Ms. Hardy? These callous actions, and inactions, on behalf of the City of the Nome, continue to demonstrate to Clarice that she is not worthy of the equal protections promised to her, as it is promised to all people, under the law. This painfully strung-out stalling by powerful players part of Alaska’s criminal legal system is proof that the system needs systemic change, now,” ACLU of Alaska Legal Director Stephen Koteff said.
Hardy was raped in her home in March 2017. She filed a complaint with Lt. Harvey, who she considered a trusted colleague, but her complaint never even received a case number. Months went by without an update, which led Hardy to follow-up with then-Chief Papasodora. Again, police took no action. She was devastated but was told the case would be forwarded to Alaska State Troopers.
It never was.
“Ms. Hardy’s case is about accountability, accountability of a powerful system that for too long has failed the BIPOC community. We are confident we will prevail, but we must remember that is not complete justice. Complete justice would be if Clarice never had to live with the trauma of rape, and the trauma of seeking help from the Nome Police Department, which had the authority and responsibility to help her, only to be dismissed,” said ACLU of Alaska Executive Director Joshua Decker. “But the criminal legal system has already failed her, so we’re using the civil rights laws to end this horrific saga and hold the powerful actors in this powerful system accountable, so we can help put an end such injustices in Alaska’s communities.”
Hardy v. Nome specifically asks the court to issue injunctions that order the City of Nome to cease any discriminatory practices by law enforcement and to take steps to ensure all reports of sexual assault are investigated thoroughly without regard to the victim’s race or gender, and to train law enforcement to adequately investigate reports of sexual assault in an effective and thorough manner.
The City of Nome will have until June 1 to file written opposition to the motion to compel, after which Hardy’s counsel will have an opportunity to respond before the court decides.
The American Civil Liberties Union is our nation’s guardian of liberty. For 100 years, the ACLU has been at the forefront of virtually every major battle for civil liberties and equal justice in this country. Principled and nonpartisan, the ACLU works in the courts, legislatures, and communities to preserve and expand the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. The ACLU of Alaska, founded in 1971, is one of the 53 state ACLU affiliates that strive to make the Bill of Rights real for everyone and to uphold the promise of the Constitution—because freedom can’t protect itself.