ACLU seeks $500,000 in damages from city on behalf of Bun Hardy
The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska sent a letter to the Mayor and the Interim City Manager of Nome, demanding justice for former Nome Police Dispatcher Clarice Hardy. Hardy, the ACLU letter says, has suffered trauma, pain and suffering due to systemic inaction of the Nome Police Department failing to investigate her rape complaint.
Reportedly, Hardy was sexually abused in her home, reported the crime to her colleague NPD Lt. Nick Harvey and later to then-Chief of Police John Papasodora with the result that no investigation was done, no charges filed and no suspect developed or held accountable.
The ACLU made an offer to settle with the City out of court in the amount of $500,000. The ACLU seeks this amount for Clarice Hardy, but asserts that Hardy’s case is not the only one that has been left uninvestigated. “This systemic, decades long indifference toward Alaska Native women, on behalf of the Nome Police Department, has resulted in nearly crippling trauma for Hardy and countless others,” the ACLU press release said. Megan Edge, with ACLU, told the Nugget that at this time, ACLU only represents Clarice Hardy. She said that the offer stands until Oct. 11. According to the letter sent to the City, “the ACLU is prepared to seek justice for Ms. Hardy, and for the other Alaska Native women in Nome whom the NPD has refused to protect, by filing a civil action for damages and make whole relief to enforce the Equal Protection provisions of the Alaska and United States Constitutions against the Nome Police Department and the City of Nome.” The letter says that Ms. Hardy seeks to avoid protracted litigation of her claims. “To this end, Ms. Hardy would be willing to resolve her claims without court intervention for $500,000. Given the severe emotional impact NPD’s actions, and inactions, have caused her, as well as her inability to seek or hold remunerative employment as a result, this amount is fair compensation for Ms. Hardy’s pain and suffering as well as her foreseeable loss of wages.” The letter also said that Ms. Hardy had to move away from Nome as “it is a city in which she no longer feels safe.”
While the ACLU recognized the recent formation of a Nome Public Safety Advisory Commission as steps the City of Nome has taken to bring greater transparency, it also asserted that the past needs resolution. “The commission cannot repair damages done, nor does it have the authority to prevent such abuses by bad actors in the future,” the ACLU press release said.
Asked for comment, Interim City Manager John Handeland wrote in an email to the Nugget, “the City’s efforts to improve community policing, and sexual assault investigations in particular, have been well publicized. The City continues to welcome public input on this process, but will not comment on any particular matter or investigation.