Law Enforcement Spinning Story of Finicum’s Murder
Law enforcement spokesmen are circling the wagons in order to convince the public that Finicums’ execution was justified, and claiming that the officers felt their lives were in danger. However, the initial video shows that Finicum had his hands spread to his sides when he was shot. The new video amply details that Finicum was not preparing to attack any law enforcement officers, but was instead intent on reaching the next town to meet with the sheriff. The explanation by law enforcement seems to be getting more and more tangled.
Authorities said that FBI agents involved in the encounter were being investigated for firing shots and never reporting them.
Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson said two bullets believed to be fired by FBI agents did not strike Finicum, who was hit by three rounds fired by state troopers. But Nelson announced at a news conference Tuesday that because the FBI agents “did not disclose their shots to investigators, nor did they disclose specific actions they took after the shooting,” his office and the Justice Department would both investigate.
Nelson said the FBI agents who fired the shots were part of the bureau’s Hostage Rescue Team, an elite group participating in the law enforcement effort to arrest the Ammon Bundy, the occupations’s leader, and others while they traveled on a highway outside the refuge on Jan. 26. The FBI agents were interviewed the day of the shooting and again the following week, Nelson said.
While local investigators believe the FBI agents fired these shots, there did not appear to be any direct evidence so far that FBI agents fired shots, such as shell casings at the scene, according to U.S. law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation. Ammunition from these agents would have been distinct from other shell casings at the scene, officials said.
These new details came as supporters of Finicum were already enraged by his death. The FBI had taken the unusual step of releasing video of Finicum’s death two days after it happened in response to what they said were inaccurate and inflammatory reports about the incident. This footage did not have audio.
“The public deserved to have the video, with audio and sound, released immediately after the shooting,” Mike Arnold, Bundy’s attorney, said in a statement Tuesday. “Now we know why it wasn’t released: the public would have heard the shots that the government didn’t want it to hear.”
During brief remarks on Tuesday, Greg Bretzing, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Oregon division, said the question of who fired shots during the situation “has not been resolved.”
The six shots fired by state troopers — three of which hit Finicum — “were justified and, in fact, necessary” because these troopers feared for their lives, Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris said at the news conference Tuesday.
“It was not the outcome that any of us wanted, but one that he alone was responsible for,” Tim Colahan, the Harney County district attorney, said Tuesday.
There was one state trooper in front of Finicum with a Taser who intended to use the device to subdue him, but two troopers behind Finicum told investigators that they opened fire at him because they believed he was reaching for a gun, Nelson said. All three shots hit Finicum in the back.
Finicum’s widow, Jeanette, told reporters that her family did not agree with the findings announced Tuesday.
“I can hardly believe that a team of qualified law officers could look at the facts in this case and say that no criminal laws were violated,” Jeanette Finicum said.
In fact, the murder of Finicum was exactly the outcome that law enforcement was looking for. It prevented Finicum from reaching a country sheriff who might have had sympathy for and jurisdiction of the case, and it put a stop to the occupation of the wildlife refuge that was causing embarrassment and frustration to law officers who wanted a quick end to the insurrection. In fact,the occupation was shining the light of day on the illegal taking of property by the federal government, and each day that the occupation remained in the news was another day that the public saw the injustice of the situation.
You can rest assured that any lawsuit that develops as a result of this cold-blooded murder committed by state troopers will be justified by the courts and the justice department, but it will not be forgotten. If the American people were looking for a martyr to rally around, they may have found him in LaVoy Finicum. The sad truth is this did not have to be this way, but the government has chosen its target, which is the hard working citizens of rural America who are seeing their land gobbled up by the federal government right along with our freedoms and self determination.