BOISE – The Adams County Sheriff’s Office has a new body-camera policy following the shooting death of a rancher by two deputies that went unrecorded though both deputies wore the devices.
Deputies are now required to activate the cameras for all public interactions while on duty, Sheriff Ryan Zollman said.
“If they’re assisting someone walking across the street, their cameras are on,” he told the Idaho Statesman in a story Sunday. “If they’re having any kind of law enforcement public contact, then the cameras are on.”
Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced Friday there is not enough evidence to charge the two deputies involved in the November fatal shooting of Jack Yantis, 62, who was killed after one of his bulls was hit by a car.
Yantis arrived with a rifle just as deputies decided to put down the animal. Authorities have said there was an altercation, and Yantis and the two deputies all fired their weapons.
Deputy Cody Roland’s body camera was not activated and Deputy Brian Wood’s body camera was on standby but the memory card was full, Wasden said.
At the time of Nov. 1 shooting, Zollman said, the policy was to activate the devices only for what he called critical incidents. The deputies had discretion on what qualified as critical, and traffic control fell short of that category. The deputies had responded to do traffic control after a car hit Yantis’ bull on U.S. Highway 95 north of Council.
Yantis was having dinner with family and a friend when a car hit the 2,500-pound bull along a highway near his property. The people in the car were badly injured, and emergency workers feared the agitated and injured bull would hurt someone.
Roland had dispatchers call Yantis to come euthanize the bull. Meanwhile, Wood felt the animal was acting aggressively and shot it several times. The bull was still alive but lying down when Yantis, armed with a rifle, his wife, Donna, and nephew Rowdy Paradis arrived.
What happened next is disputed by witnesses, investigative reports say. Yantis loaded his gun and approached the bull to put it down, but deputies felt he was preparing to shoot from an angle that would put others at risk.
Wasden spent four months reviewing thousands of pages of reports, lab results, witness statements and other materials. But he could not review video recordings because neither deputy had turned on their body cameras. He said the lack of footage hindered the investigation.
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