Blames Drunken Indians
This is a follow-up to a November 18 discussion titled:
“Idaho Sheriff Under Investigation After Threatening Church Youth Group”
BLACKFOOT Idaho— A local sheriff faces serious felony charges for allegedly threatening a youth group with a gun in November.
The Idaho Attorney General’s Office charged Bingham County Sheriff Craig Rowland on Tuesday with felony aggravated battery, felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor exhibition of a gun.
Referring to the incident on Nov. 9, Rowland told Blackfoot Police Chief Scott Gay that he had “really screwed up,” according to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by EastIdahoNews.com.
The following is from the AG’s office.
On the evening of Nov. 9, a Latter-day Saint youth group was placing “thankful turkeys” on the doors of members of their congregation. The activity involved several girls ages 12 to 16 writing notes of thanks shaped like turkeys, taping them on doors, ringing doorbells and running away before they could get caught by the occupants.
That night a group of seven young women and their adult leader visited Rowland’s neighborhood. Most of the night proved uneventful until they tried to leave a note for Rowland and his wife.
Around 8 p.m., Rowland told investigators, he went to let his Yorkie out to relieve itself. Rowland said he saw two people outside of his home and they ran down the road from the house. Rowland made sure no one had broken into his patrol vehicle and he went back inside.
Minutes later, Rowland said he heard his front screen door open and a knock at his door. Fearing someone was trying to break into his house, Rowland had his wife bring him his gun. Dressed in his long johns, socks and a T-shirt, the sheriff went outside again.
In Ring doorbell footage, Rowland is shown looking at the turkey and can be heard saying, “Thank you,” and “That’s frickin bulls***.”
Rowland said he saw a vehicle driving down the road, which he stopped. Rowland said the car did not look familiar and the driver of the car stopped and opened the driver’s side door.
“I reach in and pull the driver out by the hair,” Rowland told investigators, according to court documents. “I say, ‘Who the f*** are you?’ And I do have a gun in my hand, but I still have my finger on the slide.”
Rowland told investigators he pointed the gun at the woman’s head. The woman later identified herself as a neighbor and family friend for over three decades.
Rowland said he did not recognize her. He continued yelling profanities at the woman and girls and pointed his weapon at the woman. Eventually, Rowland said he went back to his home and let the youth group leave.
Rowland told investigators that he had had a single alcoholic drink that night, but he was clear-headed. He told investigators about several threats that had been made against him and his wife in recent months that caused them to be concerned about people at their home.
“I have been doing this job for 36 years,” Rowland said. “I have had drunk Indians drive down my cul-de-sac. I’ve had drunk Indians come to my door. I live just off the reservation, we have a lot of reservation people around us that are not good people.”
The woman said when Rowland pulled her out of the car, he reportedly lifted his gun then pointed it inches from her forehead, according to court documents. The woman said Rowland told her to never do this again, that he could shoot her, and that she needed to “get the f*** out of here.”
The girls who were in the car described Rowland getting upset, having a gun and saying the “f-bomb” multiple times. Several of them recall Rowland pointing the gun at the leader’s head and saying “I will f***ing shoot you.”
✱ Sheriff Rowland was never arrested, instead he was given a summons to appear in court.
✱ The parents of the girls say they are disappointed at the statement by the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which said: “most likely a misunderstanding.”
✱✱ When an investigation began, the Sheriff took a “brief leave of absence.” When it was completed he returned to work.
✱ Bingham County Prosecutor Paul Rogers has now asked the Idaho Attorney General’s Office be appointed as a special prosecutor.
There’s much more at:
FORT HALL, Idaho (KIFI) – The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes said in a release Thursday it is disappointed in Bingham County Sheriff Craig Rowland’s comments posted Wednesday and wants him to resign.
According to the Tribes’ Attorney, “Local law enforcement has a long history of violent criminal conduct towards tribal community members, stemming back decades. Race relations between local law enforcement has been controversial and sometimes violent.”
Rowlands attorney, Eric Grossarth, blames East Idaho News for exposing the sheriff’s comments about the drunken Indians.
“You caused that. That is your tabloid media. You encourage this type of drama and unrest. There was absolutely no reason otherwise for you to put that in your article otherwise.
That statement was completely taken out of context. Pat yourself on the back for causing this.”