Boise Pride security guard acquitted of battery charge after altercation with protester

A Boise Pride Festival private security guard who said he was “falsely” charged and improperly detained by the Boise Police Department has been acquitted of a misdemeanor battery charge.

A jury Tuesday acquitted Charles Rehdorf, a high school teacher who lives in Caldwell, of a battery charge he received after an altercation last summer with a protester at the Boise Pride Festival, an annual celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. Rehdorf was initially charged with “willfully and and unlawfully” using force or violence against a person protesting the festival, according to a charging document.

Rehdorf has also filed a tort claim against the city and the Boise Police Department over the incident,alleging officers were negligent while on scene and did not assist the guard when he asked for help.

“Chuck is happy to have been exonerated in court,” Rehdorf’s attorney Max Williams wrote in an email to the Idaho Statesman. “Justice was partially served today, but there’s still work to be done to restore Mr. Rehdorf’s good name and reputation. … We have some questions that need to be answered by the Boise Police Department and the city about what happened that day at Pride Fest last year.”

Tort claims filed against city

Both Rehdorf and the protester, Martin Bettwieser, have filed tort claims against the city over the altercation.

Rehdorf’s tort claim — which people file when an alleged action harms someone with a civil, rather than criminal, wrong — asks for $150,000 in damages. In Idaho, lawsuits against government agencies generally must be filed first as tort claims to give the agency a chance to resolve the issue.

Rehdorf said Bettwieser brought signs, including one that read “Democrat Against Pride,” inside the festival grounds. Rehdorf had been told by the event’s organizers the protester was not welcome at the event, the claim said.

Rehdorf said two Boise police officers who came to the scene did not help him remove Bettwieser, who he thought was trespassing.

Other attendees eventually surrounded the protester and began screaming and “arguing loudly with him,” according to the claim. Rehdorf said he thought the situation was getting “increasingly dangerous” and attempted to move Bettwieser, who began yelling at him.

Rehdorf said he thought he could get injured and so tried to move Bettwieser without knowing he was standing on the edge of the sidewalk. When he tried to move him, Bettwieser “fell off the curb and hit the asphalt road,” causing him to bleed from his head. Rehdorf also lay on top of Bettwieser to subdue him, his claim said.

Boise officials have not yet responded to Rehdorf’s tort claim, Williams said.

Bettwieser’s tort claim asks for $500,000 in damages for personal and emotional injuries sustained from what he says is the Police Department’s failure to protect him.

By phone, Bettwieser told the Statesman he was the victim of a “violent attack that was unprovoked,” and that Rehdorf’s acquittal would set a “dangerous precedent” and allow what he called “extremist groups” to “exhibit violence against someone who has a different opinion as theirs, even from a peaceful protest.”

In emails, spokespersons for the Police Department and the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office said they respect the judicial process in the criminal matter and declined to comment further.

“We appreciate the jurors’ time and attention in this case, and respect their decision,” said Emily Lowe, the county prosecutor’s spokesperson.

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