Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Bonner County commissioner files restraining order against chairman after alleged threat

The Bonner County Commissioners from left Steven Bradshaw, Asia Williams and Luke Omodt hold their business meeting on Tuesday, July 25, 2023 in Sandpoint. Bradshaw has been restricted from attending meetings in-person until further notice.   (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)

A temporary restraining order against the chairman of the Bonner County commissioners has prevented him from entering the county administration building in Sandpoint, forcing him to conduct his duties remotely.

Commissioner Asia Williams filed the order after she learned of an alleged threat made by Chairman Steven Bradshaw last week.

An email sent to county employees by the human resources department Monday night confirmed Bradshaw is not permitted on county property and must not come within 1000 feet of Williams.

Details of the alleged threat are unclear. Restraining orders are sealed and cannot be disclosed to the public, said Ashley Peters, a deputy clerk at the Bonner County Courthouse. The court said it cannot confirm or deny whether an order exists.

However, in a statement published by Redoubt News, a right wing North Idaho website that is critical of Bradshaw, Williams said that “a high level county employee” last week reported to the county prosecutor and sheriff that Bradshaw had “verbalized death threats” against her.

“Death threats should never be ignored or taken lightly,” Williams wrote.

“The county has a responsibility to take every reasonable action to provide a safe work environment,” she continued. “In this situation, I and the county employees are owed that protection and assurance of a safe, hostile free work environment.”

County Prosecutor Louis Marshall said there is nothing legally that prevents Bradshaw from continuing to perform his duties, but he will have to do them remotely as long as the order remains in place.

The prosecutor’s office is not involved in the matter, and any criminal investigation will be referred to the attorney general’s office, Marshall said.

Bradshaw declined to comment. He attended Tuesday’s board meeting by Zoom while Vice Chair Luke Omodt conducted the meeting.

Williams has been at odds with the other two commissioners since she was sworn in at the beginning of this year, largely over her opposition to a proposed RV park at the fairgrounds. She frequently challenges Bradshaw on how he conducts the meetings.

Although all three commissioners are Republicans, in May the Bonner County Republican Central Committee made a no confidence vote against Bradshaw and Omodt, disapproving of their conduct and performance.

Escalating tensions and disruptive behavior led Bradshaw to restrict public comments at board meetings a couple of months ago. Williams criticized this decision and began holding public forums on her own.

Williams told The Spokesman-Review last month that Bradshaw is disrespectful to her and to the public. Several first-person cell phone videos widely shared online show citizens aggressively confronting Bradshaw after meetings, following him to the elevator or parking lot, where he responds with angry expletives.

Bradshaw is a pastor and co-founder of the Cocolalla Cowboy Church. He lost a race for governor against Brad Little in last year’s Republican primary.

James Hanlon's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.