Since early in the investigation into the Nov. 1 shooting death of Jack Yantis, there has been “Justice for Jack” — the movement, run through a Facebook page, that sought to support Yantis’ family and keep the shooting in the public’s mind.
Friday morning, members of that page reacted in disbelief to the news that state and federal prosecutors will not pursue criminal charges against the two Adams County sheriff’s deputies who shot Yantis. The evidence in the case, prosecutors said, did not manage to rise above the legal hurdle needed to file such charges.
“We do not agree with this decision by any means but we will abide by that decision,” Michael McLaughlin, administrator for the “Justice for Jack” Facebook page, said via phone Friday.
“To me, personally, I’m not speaking for ‘Justice for Jack,’ it’s a sad day when a man is called down to the end of his driveway (by) the very department that’s ultimately responsible for his demise... and when you go down to help, you are treated the way Jack Yantis was treated.”
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He’s also working to keep his page civil, and focused on its goals, he said.
“I’m asking everyone associated with Justice for Jack from using any type of negativity or harsh words — specifically we are not going to as a group any longer use the words Cody Roland, Brian Wood or Ryan Zollman or murder or killing, any terms used prior,” Yantis said. “We are now in 100 percent support mode for (wife) Donna Yantis and her family.”
What does that mean in practice? One example: Starting Saturday, members plan to visit the Yantis family ranch north of Council to leave flowers, cards, letters and other items in support.
“Donna Yantis not only had to support herself, her family, the ranch, her legal counsel, her medical bills... (she) has to do all of this out of her own pocket,” McLaughlin said. “But the state of Idaho gave (deputies) Cody Roland and Brian Wood a paycheck.”
McLaughlin spoke of respect for the investigators’ process, even if the result wasn’t what he hoped for.
“We have a court of law that we must abide by — we have a system we must have faith in, right or wrong, good or bad,” he said. “We have a system that’s based on the rule of law. ... We’re not a judge and a jury and an executioner. We should never think that we can put ourselves above the law.”
His group will retain its name, and it is not going to dissolve anytime soon, he said.
“We will remain there as long as Donna Yantis needs us.”