The Adams County Sheriff yesterday released the names of the two deputies involved in the incident that left rancher Jack Yantis dead, after the Idaho Statesman newspaper confirmed the names and notified the sheriff that it planned to publish them in a news story. The attorney for the rancher’s family called the release of the names “a first step” toward justice. Yantis was shot to death by sheriff's deputies Nov. 1 as he was about to shoot an injured bull that had been hit by a car near his home. Officials haven't released any details about what happened, other than that all three men discharged their weapons, but Yantis' family members, who witnessed the shooting, said the deputies unnecessarily killed him.
Statesman reporters Cynthia Sewell and Katy Moeller also looked into the backgrounds of the two deputies and Yantis, with interesting results. One of the deputies, Cody Roland, had been with the sheriff’s department just four months but had built a distinguished career in Idaho local law enforcement, working for six agencies over the past 15 years. In 2007, he received a presidential commendation for volunteer work he did with for Gooding Police Department.
The other deputy, Brian S. Wood, had been with the Adams County Sheriff’s Department since 2013, but left his previous post with the McCall Police Department in 2011 after the department was sued by a 78-year-old man who charged Wood used excessive force in a traffic stop that left the man with abrasions, bruised ribs, and eventually led to breathing difficulties, a staph infection and pneumonia. The case was settled in 2012. Wood stopped the man for driving 35 mph in a 25 mph zone. The Statesman also reported that Wood was convicted in 2011 of two Idaho Fish & Game violations, and had four traffic infractions from 2001 to 2005, including two speeding tickets, a lack of registration and reckless driving, which was reduced to failure to obey highway lane markings.
The Statesman also reported that Yantis had past run-ins with the law, including a 1997 incident in which he was charged with misdemeanor battery and two counts of obstructing and resisting an Adams County sheriff’s deputy; he pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge of resisting and obstructing and received a withheld judgment. Yantis also was convicted of DUI in 2002.
The Statesman has four stories on the case and the backgrounds of those involved in today’s paper; you can see them online here.