BLACKFOOT, Idaho (KIFI) – Blackfoot Mayor Marc Carroll and the Blackfoot Police Department are calling for the immediate resignation of Bingham County Sheriff Craig Rowland.
“In order to protect the integrity of our law enforcement agencies, the Town of Blackfoot and the Blackfoot Police Department are calling for the immediate resignation and public apology to the community of Fort Hall by Sheriff Craig Rowland” , said Mayor Carroll.
It comes after remarks published in an affidavit related to the aggravated assault and battery charges against him.
In Addidavit Court, Sheriff Rowland also made extremely derogatory remarks about members of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. The town of Blackfoot and its Police Department have a much-valued relationship with the tribes and we find Sheriff Rowland’s comments repugnant. . His comments do not in any way reflect the attitudes of the Town or the Blackfoot Police Department towards our neighbors in Fort Hall. We truly appreciate these relationships and look forward to future projects and relationships with the Tribal Council and the Service. Fort Hall Police Station, ”Mayor Carroll said.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, the Shoshone Bannock tribe also called for his resignation. They said they were upset by what they called racist comments against the community of Fort Hall from the Bingham County Sheriff.
They refer to Sheriff Craig Rowland’s comment found in a 10-page affidavit where he defended his actions after pulling a young girl by the hair of his car and then yelling at her at gunpoint, claiming he had been surprised after the group of girls tried to deliver homemade thank you cards to their neighbors.
“I’ve been doing this job for 36 years, I’ve seen drunk Indians driving through my cul-de-sac. I had drunk Indians come to my door. I live right next to the reserve, we have a lot of people from the reserve around us who are not good people, ”he said.
But the tribal prosecutor responded by saying, “Local law enforcement has a long history of violent criminal conduct towards members of the tribal community, stretching back decades. Race relations between local law enforcement officials have been controversial and at times violent. “
Adding that there must be better relationships built between the two communities.
The Town of Blackfoot, the Blackfoot Police Department and the Tribes are also asking for an apology.
Bingham County Commissioners also responded to Sheriff Rowland’s statements.
Commissioner Whitney Manwaring issued the following statement:
“I am deeply disappointed and saddened, both personally and professionally, by the derogatory remarks attributed to Sheriff Rowland about our tribal neighbors in Fort Hall. I have spent many happy years playing sports in Timbee. Hall, enjoyed supporting their relay races, and enjoyed a kind and helpful working relationship with them throughout my tenure as Bingham County Commissioner. Some of my closest friends and family closest and most reliable are tribal members and residents of Fort Hall. I would welcome them into my home at any time. I offer my inadequate but sincere apologies and will continue to work to promote a better relationship with the tribe as much as I do. can. “
Commissioner Mark R. Bair made the following statement:
As Bingham County Commissioner, I felt that addressing the recent news article deserved a quick response, and given the nature of the commission’s operation, we are not in a position to join legally and discuss issues. Instead, I am able to speak individually as an elected official.
I read the comments in the news article attributed to the sheriff regarding the Native American community. I strongly disagree with these comments. In my experience, Bingham County does not operate with the mindset of these comments. I really care about the Native American community and have seen great relationships develop through our interactions over the years and will strive to keep those relationships positive and make it a community where everyone can feel. safe and protected.
As an elected representative for Bingham County, I have great faith in the justice system. I believe the legal issues regarding Craig Rowland in his personal life should and will be resolved within the justice system and not through the media.
Bingham County Commissioner Jessica Lewis issued the following statement:
I am shocked and disappointed with the comments printed about members of the Shoshone-Bannock tribe. The reserve and its members are, and always have been, an important part of Bingham County. Comments reflect the beliefs of an individual and I do not endorse or endorse them in any way. Having a positive relationship with the Tribe is extremely important to me and I hope we can make good the damage caused by these hurtful comments.
Bingham County Attorney Paul Rogers issued the following statement:
Bingham County is my home. I have lived here all my life. I love this community and what it has always offered. It is my duty and my obligation to protect this riding and the citizens who live there. I have been mentored by the best leaders who have forged in me the mantra of “doing the right thing” no matter how difficult it may be.
In recent days, Bingham County has been in the headlines which has cast Bingham County in a negative light. I read the probable cause affidavit regarding the charges against Sheriff Craig Rowland and the prosecution complaint and was disheartened and surprised by the allegations in each. In the past few days since the news broke, the county has received an overwhelming number of phone calls with inquiries that I never thought I would answer.
Many of the questions that are asked relate to resignation and what elected officials can do about it. Fortunately, the Idaho Code § 59-901 provides guidance on nine (9) individual ways in which a post can occur. Idaho’s code does not give an elected official any authority to force another elected official to step down.
Some of the questions and concerns have focused on when an elected official is charged with a felony, why does the county not prevent that charged elected official from going to work normally. Idaho’s code does not provide any means by which an elected office can control the attendance or leave of a separate elected office. How an elected office manages leave and attendance is under the control of these individual offices. Finally, many questions raised are where the Bingham County Attorney’s Office is located in response to the allegedly hurtful statements in the affidavit and press release. The statements in the probable cause affidavit that were attributed to Craig Rowland sparked much debate in the community. Numerous comments suggest that Bingham County as a whole is operating with the same frame of mind as the alleged comments described in the affidavit and news articles. I have worked for the Bingham County District Attorney’s Office for nine (9) years, and throughout my time here I have worked top to bottom with the best officers in the County and Town (including Shelley Police) . Never once have I looked at a case and believed that one of our agents was working with racial intent. In fact, my experience is that all of our local law enforcement agencies go to great lengths to view every case on its face, record the facts, collect evidence, and complete reports without any preconceived judgment. Our law enforcement agencies care deeply about the protection of the community, and over the past few years many of our officers have risked their lives to
the citizens of Bingham.
Additionally, I have had the opportunity to work directly with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribal Court on some of our most high profile cases and the judges, lawyers and officers have always given us tremendous support and assistance whenever we need it. have made the request. I have only witnessed positive interactions and hope to continue and build on this trend. I am in a very unique position in which I look behind the scenes on a daily basis.
I believe with all my heart that the citizens of our riding receive the highest quality treatment and law enforcement care for the safety of our community. Right now Bingham County, our law enforcement and elected officials, both county and town, are under attack on the basis of what are just allegations at this point. At some point, the damage to the sheriff’s office becomes irreparable, regardless of the outcome of the newly filed case. To that end, I hope our current sheriff will again view the resignation as a
option to allow Bingham County to begin the healing process and allow officers and the County to continue in a safe and efficient manner.
In return, the community must remember that if an elected official chooses to resign, the resignation has no implication of an admission of guilt. The charges laid are a separate and personal matter and have nothing to do with the actions of Bingham County. These personal matters deserve to be heard in court.
The justice system is a beautiful and complex process. It endows each of us with the presumption of innocence and enables us to be judged on the basis of the evidence and our peers provide the judgment of character and truth. As a community we must remember that all those accused of a crime are innocent until proven guilty, holding an elected office does not change that burden on anyone. You cannot judge without justice. It is neither for me, nor my authority, nor any elected official, to force the resignation of someone who has not been authorized to be heard.
Bingham County Attorney