Authorities: Actions of Oregon protesters ‘are not without consequences’

Rancher Lavoy Finicum, of Cane Beds, Arizona, said he no longer recognizes the BLM's authority to oversee the public lands and that he will no longer pay grazing fees, Cane Beds, Arizona, Oct. 19, 2015 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Details about the encounter between state and federal law enforcement and members of the armed group occupying an Oregon wildlife refuge that resulted in the death of Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum and the arrests of others Tuesday remain murky. While accounts on social media reportedly give some detail concerning Finicum’s death, authorities have only confirmed that a man who was part of the group was killed.

LaVoy Finicum, a rancher from Arizona, who is part of the group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge speaks with reporters during a news conference at the the refuge Tuesday. Law enforcement had yet to take any action Tuesday against the group numbering close to two dozen who are upset over federal land policy. Finicum said the group would examine the underlying land ownership transactions to begin to "unwind it," stating he was eager to leave Oregon, near Burns, Oregon, Jan. 5, 2016| AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, St. George News
LaVoy Finicum, a rancher from Arizona, who is part of the group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge speaks with reporters during a news conference at the the refuge Tuesday. Law enforcement had yet to take any action Tuesday against the group numbering close to two dozen who are upset over federal land policy. Finicum said the group would examine the underlying land ownership transactions to begin to “unwind it,” stating he was eager to leave Oregon, near Burns, Oregon, Jan. 5, 2016| AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, St. George News

“Eight people were arrested, and one man died yesterday as we attempted to take him into custody,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Greg Bretzing said during the news conference Wednesday. “Because there is an ongoing investigation by the Deschutes County Major Crimes Team on behalf of OSP (Oregon State Police) related to this piece of the investigation, I will not be able to comment on the specifics.”

Finicum, 55, of Cane Beds, Arizona, and others, including brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy, who have been considered the leadership of the group, were in a two-vehicle convoy heading to a meeting with area ranchers when they were stopped by the FBI and Oregon State Police on U.S. 395 around 4:40 p.m. Oregon time Tuesday.

The FBI and other agencies haven’t gone into detail about what happened next, yet gunfire was involved and Finicum was killed.

While the FBI has not yet released the name of the man killed during what authorities are describing as a traffic stop, Finicum’s daughter, Arianna Finicum Brown, said police confirmed to her mother that he had died, The Associated Press reported.

Concerning Finicum’s death, his family released a statement Wednesday:

We thank all those reaching out to us in love during this difficult time. Your faithful prayers are felt. Please keep praying and keep using your voice to get the truth out. This fight against tyranny is not over. Press forward.

Forgiveness is what we can extend and understanding is what we want.

Christ was and is LaVoy’s exemplar. Though there are evil and conspiring men at work, Christ still forgave the executioners for they knew not what they did.

Ammon Bundy asks holdouts to leave the refuge

According to the Associated Press, Ammon Bundy, through his lawyer, Mike Arnold, asked the remaining protesters at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to go home. During his court appearance in Portland, Oregon, Wednesday, Arnold read a short statement from his client: “Please stand down. Go home and hug your families. This fight is now in the courts.”

Traffic stop turned fatal

Following the incident Tuesday night, a recording of Cliven Bundy, father of Ammon and Ryan Bundy, was posted on social media recounting a call Ammon made to his wife during the traffic stop.

Ammon Bundy reported… he had been arrested and was in the back of a police car. He still had his cellphone. He calls his wife, Lisa Bundy, and he tells Lisa, ‘There have been five of us arrested. Ryan has been shot in the arm, and LaVoy Finicum has been cold bloodedly murdered. I watch him. He had his hands in the air and said he was unarmed, and they shot him.’

Another account of the incident came from a video posted to Facebook by Mark McConnell, who was driving one of the vehicles in the convoy.

McConnell said he saw a number of “heavy-duty trucks” while driving to a meeting in the town of John Bay, Oregon. Those trucks ended up being the FBI and Oregon State Police who pulled the convoy over.

Ammon Bundy, one of the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, speaks with reporters during a news conference at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, near Burns, Ore. The group calls itself Citizens for Constitutional Freedom and has sent a "demand for redress" to local, state and federal officials. Armed protesters took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday after participating in a peaceful rally over the prison sentences of local ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon, Jan. 4, 2016 | AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, St. Goerge News
Ammon Bundy, one of the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, speaks with reporters during a news conference at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, near Burns, Oregon. The group calls itself Citizens for Constitutional Freedom and has sent a “demand for redress” to local, state and federal officials. Armed protesters took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday after participating in a peaceful rally over the prison sentences of local ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon, Jan. 4, 2016 | AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, St. Goerge News

After McConnell’s vehicle was secured, agents went to check the truck reportedly driven by Finicum. Someone got out of the passenger side of the truck who then went to the ground and was handcuffed. McConnell said he couldn’t tell who though, as Finicum’s truck was about 200 yards ahead of him.

“Next thing we know, LaVoy takes off (in the truck),” he said.

McConnell said he did not see what happened next but heard from others who were in Finicum’s vehicle that they encountered a roadblock.

“… Once they got down there by the road block, I don’t know if he tried to go around the roadblock or what he did, but the nose of his truck got stuck in a snowbank, right there,” he said.

As he understands it, taking “pieces here and pieces there” from what he’s been told by those who were with Finicum and what he had seen himself, McConnell said, he believes that Finicum got out of his truck and charged at law enforcement.

“… He went after them. He charged them,” McConnell said.

Relatives of Ammon Bundy offered similar accounts, but they said Finicum did nothing to provoke FBI agents, the Associated Press reported.

Briana Bundy, a sister of Ammon Bundy, said he called his wife after his arrest. He said the group was stopped by state and federal officers.

Her recount of what Ammon Bundy told his wife largely reflects parts of what Cliven Bundy said in the recording posted to social media Tuesday night and also added additional details from that perspective.

She said people in the two vehicles complied with instructions to get out with their hands up.

Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward speaks at press conference at the Harney County Community Center in Burns, Oregon, Jan. 27, 2016. | Photo by Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP, St. George News
Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward speaks at news conference at the Harney County Community Center in Burns, Oregon, Jan. 27, 2016. | Photo by Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP, St. George News

“LaVoy shouted, ‘Don’t shoot. We’re unarmed,'” Briana Bundy said in an interview with the Associated Press. “They began to fire on them. Ammon said it happened real fast.”

“Ammon said, ‘They murdered him in cold blood. We did everything they asked, and they murdered him. We complied with their demands,'” Briana Bundy said.

McConnell had a different perspective.

“Anytime someone takes off with a vehicle away from law enforcement after they’ve exercised a stop, it’s typically considered an act of aggression, and foolish,” he said in a video posted on Facebook and YouTube.

McConnell said he was questioned by authorities and he believes he was not charged because he was not considered a leader of the group.

Briana Bundy confirmed that McConnell was in the convoy on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.

Authorities: “Actions are not without consequences”

In the press conference Wednesday, Bretzing said the armed protesters have had ample time and opportunity to leave. What happened Tuesday was a consequence of the group’s actions, he said.

“Let me be clear: It is fully and unequivocally the behavior and the choices made by the armed occupiers that have led us to where we are today,” Bretzing said. “And, as the FBI and our partners have demonstrated, actions are not without consequences.”

Police officers block the turnout to Sodhouse Lane, which is the main road leading to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, near Burns, Ore. Authorities were restricting access on Wednesday to the Oregon refuge being occupied by an armed group after one of the occupiers was killed during a traffic stop and eight more, including the group's leader Ammon Bundy, were arrested, near Burns, Oregon, Jan. 27, 2916 | Photo by Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP, St. George News,
Police officers block the turnout to Sodhouse Lane, which is the main road leading to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, near Burns, Oregon. Authorities were restricting access on Wednesday to the Oregon refuge being occupied by an armed group after one of the occupiers was killed during a traffic stop and eight more, including the group’s leader Ammon Bundy, were arrested, near Burns, Oregon, Jan. 27, 2916 | Photo by Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP, St. George News,

Bretzing, along with Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward and others are asking those who remain at the wildlife refuge to leave. Those who do will be met and identified by law enforcement who have established checkpoints around the refuge.

Ward said the occupation of the wildlife refuge, which has been ongoing since Jan. 2, has been tearing the community apart and again asked the protesters to leave. He also told them to take their grievances with the government through legitimate means and not through armed rebellion.

“We don’t arm up and rebel,” Ward said. “We work through the appropriate channels. This can’t happen anymore. This can’t happen in America and it can’t happen in Harney County.”

Along with Ammon and Ryan Bundy, others who were arrested include Brian Cavalier, 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada; Shawna Cox, 59, of Kanab, Utah; and Ryan Payne, 32, or Anaconda, Montana, during what authorities characterize as a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 395 Tuesday afternoon. Authorities also arrested Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy, 45, of Cottonwood, Arizona, who was arrested in Burns, and Peter Santilli, 50, of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Jon Ritzheimer, 32, of Peoria, Arizona.

According to an FBI press release, those arrested are facing a federal felony charge of impeding officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation or threats.

The group, which has included people from as far away as Michigan, calls itself Citizens for Constitutional Freedom. It came to the frozen high desert of eastern Oregon to decry what it calls onerous federal land restrictions and to object to the prison sentences of two local ranchers convicted of setting fires.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Posted in Government, National, NewsTagged , , , , , ,

28 Comments

  • Accountable January 27, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    Why do we need an “investigation” Bretzing? Simply release the unadulterated video showing Mr. Finicum’s murder.

    • observer January 28, 2016 at 10:29 pm

      An investigation of the FBI and all other involved agencies is warranted and here’s why:
      1) The road block was in place, the FBI killed Finicum all before any arrest warrant was signed by Honorable Stacie Beckerman.
      2) Page 32 of Complaint, item 56 states who was taken into custody.
      3) Item 57 “Conclusion” respectfully requests arrest warrants based on the Complaint dated 1/26/2016 AFTER THE AMBUSH TOOK PLACE.
      4) Complaint is e-filed 1/27/16 and hand stamped 1/27/16 15:35 (many hours after the ambush)
      5) Through OECI, filers can e-file 24hrs a day from any location. Mandatory for attorneys such as special agent Armstrong.

      • 42214 January 28, 2016 at 11:38 pm

        It wasn’t an ambush, it was a road block which Finicum tried to run. You don’t need an arrest warrant to shoot somebody. The mess is over, Finicum got what he was looking for, give the cop that shot him a short paid vacation to get over the stress and let’s move on. Oh, what about the 9mm in his pocket. Was it legal for him to conceal carry in Oregon assuming he had an Arizona permit. No, looks like Finicum got exactly what you get when you play with guns and fail to stop at road blocks.

        • observer January 29, 2016 at 8:36 am

          LEO don’t hide in trees in what would be considered a legit road block. These are not violent known criminals, nor has the FBI ever labeled them armed and dangerous. The felony charge is not a “violent” charge. In fact the entire Complaint is based off videos, social media from the occupiers themselves. Clearly the special agent Ms. Armstrong felt there was a legal need to add item 57 to the Complaint as all were already in custody. In this long drawn out case, don’t think much of your usual will apply.

  • delong January 27, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    Yeaaahhhh, i’m so sure law enforcement would let Ammon make a call from the back of the patrol car while handcuffed. Sounds like Finnicum got exactly what he wanted. Looks like Cliven is becoming paranoid he’s about to get a visit from FBI next. This is what happens when you take up arms against your own nation and under the wrong platform folks. Suicide by cop is hardly patriotic! I still feel bad for his kids tho…

  • Accountable January 27, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    The government murdered LaVoy Finicum because he was of unimpeachable character and was a very real threat to their propagation of the “crazy militants” lie. So they ambushed the group and killed him — only him.

    Mr. Finicum involved himself because he believed completely in the righteousness of the cause. Because of his exemplary character and conviction, he was able to draw strong support and attention (in contrast to the circus atmosphere created by the Bundys) to the criminality involved in the Hammonds’ trials and subsequent imprisonments by this government. By all accounts Mr. Finicum was a man of courage, self-sacrifice, resolve, valor, perseverance, and bravery — he was a threat — he jeopardized the government and the media’s fictional version of events surrounding the Hammonds.

    Release the unadulterated video so we can all see exactly what happened during the government’s ambush of these people. No one wants or needs a corrupt entity’s written report of the events leading to Mr. Finicum’s murder.

    • ladybugavenger January 27, 2016 at 11:43 pm

      If they release the video then the truth will be seen and the government has a hard time with truths being revealed. They find it much easier for cover ups to be done…and late night shredding parties!

    • observer January 28, 2016 at 8:28 am

      As a special agent of FBI, Dept of Justice, this man is to be suited in front of the public. Awkwardly he’s wearing a Columbia light outdoor jacket, no tie. So one needs to find out who this special agent “represents”. The President and CEO used to manage financial positions with Steel Co’s. The EVP and General Counsel served as Special Asst. Attorney General for Oregon Department of Justice and was appointed by the governor of Oregon as a commissioner for the Port of Oregon. Fact finder: https://www.columbia.com/About-Us_Officers-And-Directors.html

      The most accurate witness statement would be the young girl’s. The moles, as most in the inner circle are calling the other fb accounts, blasting themselves on social media looking like secret agents, are assumed FBI informants. If they were (I believe so) they are now standing without cover.

      RIP Finicum! You were ambushed, set up, by an organization who’s employees took this oath for the good of our country, not their personal agendas…”I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

      Godspeed!

    • Chris January 28, 2016 at 10:04 am

      You have not seen this video, but you are already convinced that Finicum was murdered with absolutely no evidence to back up your opinion. It’s hilarious that refer to yourself as “accountable.” Clueless would be a much better screen name.

      • Bender January 28, 2016 at 7:30 pm

        lemme help Chris: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAGxDWKrjPQ

        • Rainbow Dash January 29, 2016 at 8:10 am

          Thanks for the great video Bender. I doubt Accountable will be able to muster up the gumption to admit that he was wrong YET AGAIN! The most he will probably do is accuse the government of staging it or something and will cite some kook right wing extremist website as his “source” like he normally does.

    • Chris January 28, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      OK, the video is released. Finicum does indeed raise his hands initially, but then lowers them and goes for his waist where he was carrying a firearm. Shooting was completely justified from the video. Finicum was either going for his gun, or he was one really stupid hillbilly. Probably, both.

  • Rainbow Dash January 28, 2016 at 12:03 am

    Hey Accountable If you hate our government so much why don’t you LEAVE and find some place where the majority of people share your views? For example, I’m sure you’d be welcome at any ISIS compound.

  • 42214 January 28, 2016 at 5:37 am

    Finicky achieved his goal of martyrdom. Now he is in paradise with a bunch of ugly virgins.

  • voice of reason January 28, 2016 at 6:48 am

    There is only one person responsible for the death of Robert LaVoy Finicum and that is Robert LaVoy Finicum. His choices and his actions lead to his death. RIP Robert, but know that you made a selfish choice and you deprived your family of your own life. No one else did.

  • Not_So_Much January 28, 2016 at 7:25 am

    Condolences to all those affected by this. I would still put my belief that armed revolt isn’t the way to go. Win the hearts and minds of people and then use strategic peaceful protest (including being arrested) to draw attention to the cause. The entire system could be completely overwhelmed for a just cause.

  • Accountable January 28, 2016 at 9:52 am

    Actions of the GOVERNMENT agents ‘are not without consequences’! Now let’s focus on the facts behind the government’s land grab and the criminals who are driving these actions. Educate yourselves and demand accountability.

    Let’s not forget the real reasons for the government’s criminal land grab of the Hammond’s property (as well as many other private properties and their refusal to return the land to the states).

    The Bundy’s involvement and the subsequent murder of Finicum provides a distraction from Clintons’ heavy involvement in a scheme that’s transferred 20 percent of U.S. uranium production to Putin and Russia. The key company in that deal is Uranium One (Canadian company). Remember the name. The Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom, had taken over Uranium One with uranium-mining stakes stretching from Central Asia to the American West. The deal made Rosatom one of the world’s largest uranium producers.

    Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal [to sell Uranium One to Putin] had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well. Shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.

    • Bender January 28, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      You are now entering ACCOUNTABLE’s twilight zone. Rumor, fact, fantasy and delusion will blend into a glorious nonsensical haze. Check your critical thinking at the door, power up your paranoia pistols and get ready to pound reason into the ground. Drill baby, drill. Yee Haw!!! We gonna rock this thing!!
      .
      (Patrons without tin foil hats will be gently asked to leave.)

      • Accountable January 28, 2016 at 4:24 pm

        This is all of public record.

        Thank you for illustrating how you, bender, and your moronic ilk are exactly what is wrong with our current constituency — uneducated, practically retarded, imbeciles who only read a media tagline and spout some drivel. Too lazy to actually educate yourselves on an issue before showing your ignorance. Post your contrasting/opposing/refuting argument and back it up (as I did with research) …

        • Bender January 28, 2016 at 7:15 pm

          Sorry, I listened again and all I heard was incoherent ranting and raving. Could you repeat it?

        • IDIOT COMMENTERS January 28, 2016 at 8:16 pm

          the problem is that your little brain tells you that only democrats/liberals can do wrong. all you posted above might be true, but is small potatoes when compared with things republicans/right-wingers have gotten away with

        • Chris January 28, 2016 at 8:52 pm

          Better quit digging, accountable. You’ve made quite a paranoid fool of yourself.

  • .... January 28, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    He got what he deserved. the feds should of gone in guns blazing the first day and taken them all out !

  • Roy J January 28, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    Here a link to the criminal complaint filed January 16 2016. It makes for good reading and provides some legal perspective: http://documents.latimes.com/oregon-protest-criminal-complaint/

  • Terry January 28, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    So Very Sad, your dispicible Comments About A Man That Just Stood Up. He is Now Gone And You All Rant? Yes Sad Indeed.

    • Bender January 28, 2016 at 11:24 pm

      Terry, you’re channeling Donald Trump here. “Sad” punctuates his Twitter attacks.

    • IDIOT COMMENTERS January 28, 2016 at 11:27 pm

      poor terry is gonna cry LOL

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.