Sheriff’s Office hit with wrongful death suit

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

The Bonner County Sheriff’s Office is facing a lawsuit from the widow of a man fatally shot by deputies last year.

The Idaho Statesman reports that Robin Andrews is suing the office for wrongful death following the death of her husband, Craig A. Johnson, in September. Andrews maintains the office was negligent in training its officers on lawful use of lethal force and violated public records laws in failing to provide her documents related to the shooting. The lawsuit follows a $5 million wrongful death claim Andrews filed last year, which signaled an intent to sue if the sheriff’s office refused payment.

The lawsuit also alleges that Johnson “was shot at least once in the back contradicting the released information that the officers had no choice but to shoot” and that he “was shot a distance away from his cabin, not in his cabin,” the Idaho Statesman reports.

According to the lawsuit, Andrews requested that deputies conduct a welfare check on Johnson at his cabin near Coolin at the southern shore of Priest Lake after he didn’t return her phone calls. Upon arriving, the deputy encountered Johnson, who brandished a pistol and told him to leave the property. Deputies returned in September to arrest Johnson for felony aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. According to a statement by Idaho State Police, Johnson “exited his residence with a loaded handgun and confronted deputies by pointing a handgun at them, forcing them to respond with deadly force.”

Following the shooting, deputies performed emergency medical treatment and called for an ambulance, which was routed to connect Johnson with a helicopter. However, Johnson died along the way.

Bonner County Sheriff’s Office officials said they cannot comment on the lawsuit because the shooting incident is still under investigation and it is policy to not comment on pending litigation.

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