Officials have asked an Idaho sheriff to hand over his badge after he admitted pointing a gun at a group of church youth and pulling their leader from his car by the hair last month.
The controversial incident occurred on November 9, when a group of young women from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints went door-to-door in Blackfoot to leave messages of thanks for members of the Church. the community.
A group of girls aged 12 to 16 had placed a note on the door of Bingham County Sheriff Craig Rowland, 62.
As they made their way back to their chaperone’s car, Rowland waved at the driver with one hand while brandishing a pistol in the other.
Rowland then pointed the gun at the victim – whom he had known for 30 years – and two of the girls before demanding that the woman “get the (expletive) out of the car,” the Idaho State Journal reported.
The sheriff then allegedly pulled her out of the car by the hair while pointing the gun a few inches from her head and threatening to shoot.
After the woman explained that the group was dropping off an anonymous Thanksgiving card, Rowland reportedly told the group to never approach her property again before letting them go.
He admitted to holding the woman at gunpoint and was charged with aggravated assault and battery, the article said.
The case began to gain national attention after it was revealed that Rowland told investigators he feared the group were “Drunk Indians,” a comment that leaders of the Shoshone tribal community have said. Bannock and local elected officials condemned as a racist.
“I’ve been doing this job for 36 years, I’ve seen drunk Indians driving down my cul-de-sac, I’ve seen drunk Indians come to my door,” Rowland said, according to an affidavit released by prosecutors in the state, reports the newspaper. “I live right next to the reserve, we have a lot of people from the reserve around us who are not good people. “
Members of the religious group were not part of the tribal community, the leaders said in a statement calling on Rowland to step down.
“Rowlands [sic] the use of racial slurs on “Indians” is extremely offensive, “Fort Hall Reservation Chairman Devon Boyer said in a Facebook statement last week.
“Local law enforcement has a long history of violent criminal conduct against members of the tribal community, stretching back decades. Race relations between local law enforcement agencies have been controversial and at times violent, ”Boyer said.
Last week, the small town mayor and county attorney joined in the chorus of calls for Rowland’s resignation.
“A trusted law enforcement officer admitted to physically assaulting a neighbor and threatening her with his service handgun,” Blackfoot Mayor Marc Carroll said, asking for her badge.
“I hope our current sheriff will again consider resignation as an option to allow Bingham County to begin the healing process,” Bingham County District Attorney Paul Rogers said in a statement. “(At) some point, the damage to the sheriff’s office becomes irreparable, regardless of the outcome of the newly filed case.”
Rowland took time off after the incident but returned to work several weeks ago.