In an unexpected move, the FBI released video Thursday of state police officers fatally shooting one of the armed Oregon protesters who took over a remote wildlife refuge as a sign of protest against government land-grabbing and over-reaching.
Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, 56, died Tuesday during the arrest of occupation ringleader Ammon Bundy and four others during a traffic stop near the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. His death was captured on video taken from an FBI plane that shot footage as Finicum, driving a white truck, was pursued and ultimately confronted and killed by Oregon State Police officers.
"I want to caution you that the video does show the shooting death of LaVoy Finicum," said Greg Bretzing, the special agent in charge of the FBI field office in Portland. "We realize that viewing that piece of the video will be upsetting to some people, but we feel that it is necessary to show the whole thing unedited in the interest of transparency."
He said it was "incumbent" on law enforcement to show the video of Finicum, who he said behaved recklessly and made a motion toward a gun in his coat pocket.Hands up, don't shoot?
Supporters of the militants who took over the refuge had claimed Finicum, a rancher from Arizona who came to Oregon to support the protesters, was gunned down in cold blood. Some posts on social media have called his death an anti-government rallying cry.I find it hard to believe this is the best video they have of the incident that they knew was going to be coming up; they set the roadblock knowing that Finicum and the Bundys were coming to town that evening to speak.
The FBI released the video to allay public concerns over "inflammatory" accounts of the shooting, Bretzing said. Bretzing said Finicum eventually pulled the truck over and was ordered by officers to surrender.Eventually? The time from the truck going off the road into the snow and the Finicum being shot is less than 10 seconds.
"Finicum leaves the truck and steps through the snow," Bretzing said."Agents and troopers on scene had information that Finicum and others would be armed. On at least two occasions, Finicum reaches his right hand toward a pocket on the left inside portion of his jacket. He did have a loaded 9 mm semi-automatic handgun in that pocket. At this time, OSP troopers shot Finicum."I didn't see that, but it's a pretty crappy video. I see a man with his hands out in surrender, and then stumbling around in the snow.
FBI agents are not generally equipped with body cameras, but video of the incident involving Finicum was captured by the FBI plane. The footage at times is obscured by trees but at one point, Finicum can be seen reaching toward his jacket pocket. The FBI said agents and troopers found three other loaded weapons inside the truck: two .223 caliber semi-automatic rifles and a .38 special revolver.#Rancherlivesmatter