Adams County sheriff on no charges from shooting for his deputies
Five chaotic minutes on the night of Nov. 1, followed by nine agonizing months of waiting for answers.
On Friday, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson announced they will not press charges against Brian Wood and Cody Roland, the two Adams County Sheriff’s Office deputies who shot and killed Council rancher Jack Yantis.
So what’s going to happen next?
Deputies Brian Wood and Cody Roland: The two deputies have been on paid administrative leave since the shooting. Sheriff Ryan Zollman said both deputies want to return to work, but decisions about when and if have not been made.
“They are not coming back to work tomorrow,” Zollman told the Idaho Statesman. “There will be a process they have to go through before that decision is made. They have to be psychologically cleared. That is a standard protocol throughout all law enforcement. … It will be weeks before that decision is made, which will be based on many factors.”
Cody Roland, asked for comment via a Facebook message request, replied: “So you can spin it, sensationalize it, twist the wording, then put it out there as a completely inaccurate article like you’ve done for 8 months? Nice try.”
Wood did not respond to a request for an interview.
Yantis family: “They are disappointed,” said attorney Chuck Peterson. The family declined an interview.
Peterson said he was not surprised by the prosecutors’ decisions.
“There are four witnesses,” he said. “Two of them say one thing happened. Another two say something else happened. … Proceeding in a criminal case in view of the differing accounts of what happened up there would have been difficult, but I certainly do not think it would have been impossible.
“Besides, isn’t that what juries are for? To make those tough calls? The standard of proof in front of a grand jury is probable cause, not proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The family served notice in April that it intended to sue the two deputies and the sheriff’s office, claiming wrongful death and other civil rights violations. Peterson said the decision on criminal charges does not change the family’s lawsuit, which likely will be filed in federal court.
The family has been waiting for the police investigation report, which is crucial to its civil case. “We will review the report and decide where we go in terms of protecting the Yantis family civil rights,” Peterson said.
“We had hoped there would be body cams and dash cams so we could see what actually happened,” Peterson said. There were not.
Sheriff Ryan Zollman: He plans to review Wasden’s report and hold a community meeting next week. Zollman, who is up for re-election in November, said he will ask an outside agency to review his deputies’ actions “to verify that there have not been violations of policy.”
Idaho State Police, FBI, Wasden and Olson: Their criminal-investigative work is done, but that likely will come into play during the civil case.
“I hope that in the time to come there can be some healing in that community and the citizens can gain some confidence in their local government and law enforcement officials,” Wasden said.
Statesman reporter Katy Moeller contributed.