This article first appeared on Cowboy State Daily.
A pair of hunters from North Dakota and Pennsylvania have filed a lawsuit against the Wyoming Game and Fish Department alleging they were wrongfully arrested on hunting charges in 2019 and are asking for damages of $2 million each.
Blendi Cumani of North Dakota and Roland Shehu of Pennsylvania allege that while hunting in Park County in October 2019, Wyoming Game and Fish Department Warden Chris Queen began an investigation into the killing of three elk that were allegedly abandoned and left to waste in the area.
According to the lawsuit filed in state district court in Park County, the warden detained Cumani and Shehu, ordering them to remain in the county during his investigation and preventing them from returning to their homes.
The men argued in the lawsuit that the warden’s investigation failed to show they shot the elk and evidence actually proved they did not, but Queen pursued criminal charges against the two. Cumani and Shehu faced charges that were punishable by six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
Wyoming state law forbids the “failure of any person to properly dress and care for any big game animal killed by that person, and if the carcass is reasonably accessible, within 48 hours to take or transport the carcass to the camp of that person, and there properly care for the carcass.”
“During the course of the criminal proceedings … Queen and others with whom he acted … misrepresented to and/or concealed from prosecutors the true and complete facts that had been discovered and developed during the investigation into the deaths of the elk,” the lawsuit said.
Cumani and Shehu requested jury trials, which took place in September 2020. Both men were found not guilty of killing the elk.
The men argued that Queen did not have probable cause to detain or arrest them, which they say violated their constitutional rights. They also accused the department of malicious prosecution.
The men are asking for damages of $2 million each for past and future emotional pain and suffering and for past and future loss of enjoyment of life.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has asked the court to dismiss the case, arguing the statute of limitations on the allegations has expired.
It was not clear if the person who shot the elk was identified or charged.
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yeah……this is exactly the type of out of state folks we don’t need in WY..hunting here is bad enough. moving here is much worse.
You obviously didn’t read the article. They have every right to sue as the warden actually withheld evidence from the prosecution. They most definitely should be paid for their suffering as they were never at fault yet treated like criminals!
Scott Thomas, you are a moron
Sounds to me your officers are exactly the type of law enforcement that need to be removed from their post. They knowingly and willingly pursued a case against innocent, top dollar paying hunters. Officer Queen should be fire immediately and reimburse the state 4 million dollars for his actions.
PW out of state hunter
You mean the kind of people who don’t just roll over and bow down to an arrogant, dishonest law enforcement officer?? Hopefully justice will be done and they’ll get the amount they’re asking for!
I don’t know about 2 million a piece but they should get something if they were wrongfully accused.Some of these game wardens think they have the right to harrass law abiding citizens .
These idiots shot 3 elk in the middle of the Snake River, on an island and multiple people saw them do it. They then failed to get to them for days while the animals started to rot. Greedy people, suing over something that was their fault.
This happened in Park County. The incident you are referring too happened in Teton County on the Snake River. Get the facts straight.
Hey, did you even read the article?
Game Warden chased and charged the WRONG GUYS, who likely paid big money to hunt there, only to find out, Barney Fife is the game warden.
I’ve PERSPONALLY seen game wardens out of control before, and it takes huge evidence for a judge to side with defendants.
I would argue that YOU are the kind of folks they do not need on Wyoming.
Truth, justice and the American way don’t seem to be oozing from YOUR pours.
This is why out of state hunters should be banned from hunting in our State. This also why we property owners refuse allow out of state hunters on our land to hunt.
Yeah…moving to Wyoming is a bad idea for anyone. A miserable life with mean people not worth mediocre hunting and fishing. It’s mostly desert anyway.
Good idea, I like to keep Wyoming a well kept secret also.
Forgiveness heals,not money.