780 AM | 96.1 FM 

“YOURS FOR WESTERN ALASKA”

(907) 443-5221

ACLU claims City of Nome is withholding information, Nome wants Hardy’s lawsuit dismissed

Green marble and stone building with heavy metal doors
The entrance to the Nome post office and former local court house. Photo: David Dodman, KNOM (2019)

The Alaska Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, has requested the U.S. District Court of Alaska hold the City of Nome in contempt of court and pay attorney fees on behalf of Clarice “Bun” Hardy. Meanwhile, on Jan. 21, the City of Nome asked the court to dismiss Hardy’s case altogether.

The ACLU represents Hardy in a lawsuit against the City of Nome, former Police Chief John Papasadora and former officer Nicholas Harvey.

Hardy and the ACLU filed an equal protection lawsuit against the defendants in February 2020, alleging that Hardy’s case is an example of a systemic bias against Alaska Native women in Nome. Hardy originally reported her sexual assault to NPD in 2017 when she was working as a 911 dispatcher, but in the years that followed, received no indication that her case was ever investigated.

The city has deliberately withheld information and prejudiced Hardy’s case by doing so, according to a motion made by the ACLU on Jan. 14. Based on court documents filed in Hardy v. Nome, the information withheld for nearly a year is, “so incriminating to both the City and two other defendants that they would have altered the way Hardy [the Plaintiff] pursued discovery and presented this case.”

Those documents include a memo dated March 2, 2019 from Mike Heintzelman with the Nome Police Department to Lt. Nicholas Harvey, notifying him that he was put on administrative leave, then four days later informing Harvey he was accused of violating five NPD policies.

Other documents point to how poorly the state of NPD was under former Police Chief John Papasodora, as described by Chief Bob Estes in the fall of 2019.

The ACLU claims the City has given no explanation for why it failed to produce these numerous documents when first requested to do so.

ACLU also cited KNOM’s reporting on Hardy’s case and the numerous unresolved sexual assaults that were reported to NPD in the past. For KNOM’s five-part-series published in 2021, the radio station filed public records requests to the City of Nome for documents that were relevant to the series. When Hardy’s attorneys requested some of the same documents that were given to KNOM, the City of Nome stated it didn’t believe it had those documents in its possession, according to the ACLU.

The City of Nome filed its own motion Friday claiming Hardy lacks standing in this case, because she failed to show she was injured as a result of her superiors at Nome Police Department not investigating her case, according to Law360. The City also said the statistics ACLU cited, along with claims of discriminatory incidents by the defendants is not enough to deny the motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

Clint Campion, the attorney representing the City of Nome in this case, told KNOM he had no comments beyond what was filed in the motion last week.

The City, along with fellow defendants Papasadora and Harvey have until Feb. 1 to respond to the ACLU’s motion to hold them in contempt of court.

The ACLU’s latest motion also specifically asked 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.

Image at top: The entrance to the Nome post office and former local court house. Photo: David Dodman, KNOM (2019).

Share this story

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

Recent Posts

MS Westerdam Passengers Recall Icy Approach to Nome

Holland America’s MS Westerdam has arrived in Nome. The cruise ship that holds over 1,900 passengers is anchored just off the coast of Nome, too big to dock in the port. Small tenders that hold about 80 passengers each are ferrying visitors to and from the shore throughout the day.

Read More »

First-Ever KNOM Radio Music Fest Draws a Crowd, Drives Donations

Performer Selma Casagranda serenaded audience members with a few of her original songs. Casagranda is from Seward and one of four finalists from KNOM’s 2023 American Idol search. Audience members joined the King Island dance group for an invitational dance. One of KNOM’s 2023 American Idol search finalists, Martin Paul

Read More »

June 20: Rick Thoman’s Climate Highlight for Western Alaska

The following is a transcript from Rick Thoman’s weekly “Climate Highlight for Western Alaska” provided to KNOM Radio. Thoman is a Climate Specialist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The largest wildfire on the Seward Peninsula since 2019, the Goldbug Fire,

Read More »

Westerdam: First Visitors Expected Around 8 a.m.

Holland America’s MS Westerdam cruise ship will anchor just outside of the Nome Harbor the morning of June 21, bringing with it a wave of tourists to Nome.  According to City of Nome Harbormaster Lucas Stotts, the ship’s passengers will first arrive by tender around 7:45 a.m. The last tender

Read More »

More

Newsletter:

Work for Us:

Jobs

Contact

Nome:

(907) 443-5221 

Anchorage:

(907) 868-1200 

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.