Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden declined Tuesday to discuss the investigation into the death of an Adams County rancher shot by police in the aftermath of a Nov. 1 car accident.
Meeting with the Idaho Statesman editorial board, Wasden would not comment on whether he knew details of the investigation or its timeframe for completion. Nor would he comment on whether authorities should have already disclosed the identities of the two Adams County sheriff’s deputies involved in the incident.
The unidentified deputies had responded after a Nampa couple driving on US 95 in Council suffered serious injuries in a collision with a bull in the road. The bull’s owner, Jack Yantis, was summoned to euthanize the injured animal but ended up being shot himself. Authorities, led by the state police, are investigating and have not disclosed details. The FBI is also reviewing the incident.
“This is really tragic. It’s tragic for everyone involved here,” Wasden said. “But it’s very important that, under that kind of difficult problem, that the investigating agencies, the prosecuting agencies, do their job with particularity that it is done well, so that at the end of this at some point we can have confidence in the outcome.”
Wasden said it was “not a function of the Attorney General” to set statewide rules on whether officers involved in shootings should be routinely identified. Policies and practices vary by agency and department throughout the state.
“I think that certainly we’ll have an opportunity at the end to sit down and examine what happened here. Is it appropriate to make changes in protocol? Those kinds of things,” Wasden said. “But that’s way, way, way down the road. We’re not even close to that yet.”
He added: “We have a very important obligation here to preserve the constitutional rights of all of those involved.”