Rural Alaska

Nome DA says no charges planned against woman who confronted Dunleavy

The district attorney for Nome said Thursday that he would not file charges against a woman taken into custody after police say she confronted Gov. Mike Dunleavy at an airport and refused to leave when asked.

John Earthman said by email that he told the court no charge would be filed against Brenda Evak. An effort to reach Evak Thursday wasn't immediately successful.

Dunleavy was in Nome Wednesday to promote his fiscal policy plan and participate in a late-afternoon meeting hosted by the conservative group Americans for Prosperity-Alaska. The incident at the airport occurred ahead of that event.

Nome police, in a statement, said when Dunleavy arrived at the airport, he started shaking hands and talking with people in the small terminal. They said Evak started yelling at him and “stomping her feet.”

[Protester confronting Dunleavy arrested at Nome airport before local budget event]

According to the statement, Evak pointed her finger and was "closing the distance" to Dunleavy while balling a fist. Officers with the Alaska State Troopers and Nome police stopped her from approaching and asked her to lower her voice and leave, requests the statement said she refused. Police said officers had to physically escort her from the terminal, saying she was "exhibiting physical resistance and endangering public safety."

The statement said she was charged with disorderly conduct and released from custody. It said a charging document was sent to Earthman to decide whether to pursue the matter.


Department of Law spokeswoman Cori Mills said it's not always that agency that files charges, adding charges can be filed directly by police or state troopers. Nome Police Chief Robert Estes said by email that the department would not do so. An Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman said the matter is between Nome police and the district attorney.

Witness Sue Steinacher described Evak as loud but said she didn't think she was aggressive. She told the Anchorage Daily News Evak was assertive "but continued to back away" as Dunleavy moved forward.

She told The Associated Press Thursday there were a lot of people at the airport.

"At what point her moving away from the governor was by her or by (law enforcement), I guess I thought it was her. But maybe the police by that point were more forcing her to back up," she said. "They were certainly forcing her out the door."

Dunleavy has been criticized for participating in events, in Nome and elsewhere, this week hosted by Americans for Prosperity-Alaska. The group, in initially promoting the events online, laid out terms by which attendees must abide, prompting questions of how open they would be and drawing protests.

Steinacher said she was told when she went to the meeting thatshe could come in without signing anything, which some had worried might be a requirement for entry. She said she shared that with people outside and some of them also went in.

Evak was among those who at some point came in and was called on for a question, she said.

Becky Bohrer, Associated Press

Becky Bohrer is a reporter for the Associated Press based in Juneau.