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Idaho Sheriff Charged After Threatening To Shoot Mormon Youth Group Leaving Thank You Note On His Door

Idaho Sheriff Charged After Threatening To Shoot Mormon Youth Group Leaving Thank You Note On His Door
Bingham County Sheriff's Office

An Idaho Sheriff is now facing felony charges, after threatening a Latter Day Saints youth group with his gun.

The youth group, which consisted of seven girls between the ages of 12 and 16 along with their adult Chaperone, were leaving "thankful turkeys", thank you cards adorned with the image of a turkey, throughout their Bingham County neighborhood.

Their delivery system was to tape the turkeys on front doors, ring the doorbell, but then leave before the recipients could answer the door.

Their route included the home of Sheriff Craig Rowland, who told investigators he saw two people running away from his house at around 8pm, while he was outside with his Yorkie.

After hearing the doorbell ring, Rowland reportedly stepped outside and pursued the car being driven by the youth group leader.

While the group leader informed Rowland she and the girls had just left something on the front door for his wife, a violent altercation ensued.

According to court documents, Chief Rowland admitted to investigators he grabbed the group leader by her hair, holding his gun in his other hand.

"I reach in and pull the driver out by the hair, I say, ‘Who the f*ck are you?’ "
"And I do have a gun in my hand, but I still have my finger on the slide."

Rowland also admitted to having consumed an alcoholic beverage, but insisted he was not drunk, and eventually let the group leave.

"I had all of my facilities with me, I was clear as a freakin bell."

The youth group leader, as well as the young women in the group, however offered a very different account.

Multiple members of the group claim Rowland pointed the gun inches from the group leader's face, demanding to know who she was saying "I will f*cking shoot you."

The group leader also revealed she was a former neighbor of Rowland's, and tried to remind him of this, but he seemed unable or unwilling to register this information.

"That's when I really got scared because the gun was still at my head and he didn‘t know who I was."

Video footage from the sheriff's Ring doorbell camera reportedly captured footage of the young girls taping the note to Rowland's door, ringing the doorbell and running away.

Rowland could then be seen stepping outside, reading the note, audibly reading "thank you", before then declaring "That's frickin' bullsh--", and calling for his wife to get his gun.

In order to avoid any conflict of interest with the Bingham County Prosecutor's Office, the Idaho Attorney General's Office was called in to investigate and prosecute the case, and a summons was issued this past Tuesday.

Rowland was subsequently charged with aggravated battery, aggravated assault, and exhibition of a deadly weapon.

Rowland later told Blackfoot Police Chief Scott Gray he "really screwed up", but then rather audaciously blamed the local Indigenous community for his behavior.

"I have been doing this job for 36 years."
“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."

As a result, members of the Shoshone-Bannock tribe have called for Rowland's immediate dismissal, with spokesperson Devon Boyer saying in a statement.

"We ask Rowland to officially step down as Sheriff and offer a public apology to the Fort Hall community."
“We hope the woman and the children involved will be able to heal from this traumatic incident."
"This incident should not have occurred but proves racism still exists."
"We need major relationship building between our communities."

Viewers of KTVB 7's report were in full agreement, though many believed he deserved far worse than merely losing his job.

"Sheriff: 'we have a lot of ... people around us who are not good people.' You pointed a gun at a youth group. If you are looking for 'not good people', just look in the mirror."- George H.

"Step down? He ought to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law just like he would do to the rest of us."- Daniel Joseph

"This is horrific act from a policeman who is sworn to protect the public. He is used to evidently getting away with crimes like this because he is still allowed to work."

"This shows the heart of the police force over him who are just as evil and allowing him to continue to work. He should be fired on the spot and never be allowed to take a police job."- Eva Perpruner.

"His defence is to say... 'I thought they were Indians' ???! He genuinely believes that would then make his behavior acceptable."- David Aspinall

"My feelings hurt for everyone because it's not fair at all how others are being treated by the ones they're supposed to at least trust to help them if something happens...this is why no one wants to call them and people create their own street justice."- Aries

"Insanity. How sad. Qualified immunity needs to go. The second it’s gone all of these dark triad sociopaths who are attracted to the chance to abuse power will stick to politics instead."- Joshua Valentine

"The criminal, potentially homicidal, behavior by the sheriff is precisely what results from 'Qualified Immunity'. That completely dishonorable sheriff is so accustomed to being unaccountable, that he just reflexively pulled a gun on these horrified people."

"End qualified immunity NOW. It can only improve all our lives."- Trafy Knits

Rowland is no stranger to controversy.

In 2016, he criticized a statewide bill hoping to aid in the collection and tracking of rape kits, claiming the majority of reports of sexual assault were not true.

While Rowland remains Bingham County's elected sheriff, he has agreed to take a leave of absence pending the trial.

His first scheduled court appearance is on December 22, where he could face up to 15 years in prison for aggravated battery and an additional five years for aggravated assault.