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U.S. Attorney: FBI investigation ‘appropriate’ in rancher death

The downed bull lies on the road and bleeds out just beyond the family’s ATV on U.S. 95. The emergency responders in the background are unidentified. The body of Jack Yantis was on the road to the left at the time.
The downed bull lies on the road and bleeds out just beyond the family’s ATV on U.S. 95. The emergency responders in the background are unidentified. The body of Jack Yantis was on the road to the left at the time. Provided by the Yantis family

U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson said Friday that she discussed the Nov. 1 officer-involved shooting outside of Council with FBI officials before the federal investigation was announced this week.

“Anytime something like this goes on, we talk to them regularly,” said Olson, who disclosed the investigation during a media “meet and greet” Thursday. “We talk to them about what an appropriate federal response should be.

“We decided it would be appropriate for the FBI to participate.”

Olson and U.S. Marshal Brian T. Underwood also addressed the topic in a guest opinion.

Longtime Adams County rancher Jack Yantis died on U.S. 95 in front of his house that Sunday after an encounter with two Adams County sheriff’s deputies. Yantis was called to the highway after his bull was hit by a car.

Idaho State Police are investigating what occurred that led the deputies, and reportedly Yantis, to fire their guns. No details have been released.

Members of Yantis’ family who were there told the Statesman that a deputy grabbed Yantis from behind and spun him around, and the other deputy opened fire. Then the other deputy began shooting, they said.

Olson said there are many reasons why federal officials decide to open an investigation, including allegations of excessive force by police.

She said excessive force violates the Fourth Amendment because it’s considered a form of seizure. The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizure.

Olson’s office disclosed the FBI investigation during an annual brownbag luncheon with local media. Her office will determine whether federal charges are warranted.

The Idaho Attorney General’s Office is serving as special prosecutor in the state investigation.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413, @KatyMoeller

March and memorial service this weekend

A peaceful protest march in support of the Yantis family is planned for noon Saturday at Council Elementary School, 202 Michigan Ave. in Council. Find out more about the march on the Justice for Jack Yantis Facebook page.

A public memorial service for Jack Yantis will start at 2 p.m. Sunday at Council High School, 101 E. Bleeker St.

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