SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Anti-mask protesters stood in front of the home of Utah epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn on Thursday evening after her personal information was leaked online.
Dunn said it was "scary and wrong" that anyone would feel comfortable sharing her personal information and protesting outside her home.
"It's taken a really big toll on my family and myself," Dunn said when asked about the protest during the governor's weekly COVID-19 briefing. "I think it's really unfortunate we live in a state where people feel that it is OK to harass civil servants."
About a dozen protesters stood across from Dunn's home Thursday morning and evening. Two of Dunn's neighbors, Laura and Tripp Hopkins, said the neighborhood had rallied around her by turning on their sprinklers and parking their cars on the street to deter protesters.
"It's really shameful that people would do this to intimidate someone who's working so hard on behalf of the citizens of our state, who has children, who has a family," said Laura Hopkins. "It's irresponsible, it's totally uncalled for and it makes me very sad."
One of the protesters, Greg Karl of Heber, said the governor and state health department acted unconstitutionally when they implemented recent mask mandates in over 20 Utah counties.
"We have better things to do," he said. "The reason we are here is because she does not engage, return phone calls or emails or nothing. She's a public official. She has the responsibility to answer our questions."
Gov. Gary Herbert called on any organizers planning protests at Dunn's home to cancel. In a statement posted on Twitter, he said law enforcement officials have been working to protect public health officials from "bad actors, harm, and harassment."
"It's one thing to protest an elected official like myself, but it is completely out of bounds to protest at a state employee's home," Herbert wrote.
At the press briefing, he criticized those who went to Dunn's home, adding that protesting there was "probably not the best use of their time."
"I know we're asking a lot of the people of Utah to be patient," he said. "We know that their time is valuable. I would hope that they would put that in a constructive effort."