On Thursday, the FBI released an aerial video of the shooting death of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, the protester shot and killed by agents of a joint force of Oregon State Police, FBI and other associated police forces.
On Tuesday night, PolitiStick reported on the shooting of Finicum as details emerged. On Wednesday, PolitiStick also reported on the detailed first-hand eyewitness account of Victoria Sharp, a passenger in the car which Finicum was driving immediately prior to exiting the vehicle and getting shot by agents.
The FBI released the aerial footage of the video and offered pointed commentary which supported their narrative of events surrounding the death of Finicum who can be seen with his hands in the air just prior to being shot- a fact that is in keeping with Sharp’s recollection of events.
Though Finicum did not appear to pull a firearm, he reportedly had a 9mm pistol on his person at the time of his shooting by agents.
The FBI, in an effort to showcase transparency, released the video and cautioned that it is graphic. Greg Bretzing, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon, also provided the following pointed commentary:
As the white truck approaches the roadblock, there is a spike strip across the road but it appears Finicum missed it as he attempted to drive around the roadblock. He nearly hits an FBI agent as he maneuvers to the left. The truck gets stuck in the snowbank.
Finicum leaves the truck and steps through the snow. 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.
Approximately 30 seconds after the shooting — law enforcement officers at the scene deployed flash bangs to disorient any other armed occupants. Shortly after that, they deployed less-lethal sponge projectiles with OC capsules. Those OC capsules would be similar to pepper spray.
One can Read the Full FBI statement here.
Of course, though the FBI sought to maintain that Finicum “nearly hits an FBI agent,” the agent very-clearly ran-out in front of Finicum’s truck as he veered to the left to avoid the roadblock.
While Finicum can be seen to be gesturing with his hands outreached, Sharp maintained that he was issuing an ultimatum to let him go to speak to the sheriff of Grant County to which his convey was heading, or shoot him dead.
“He’s like, just shoot me then, just shoot me — and they did, they shot him dead,” Sharp said. “They shot him right there, he was just walking — I saw it. I swear to God, he was just walking with his hands in the air.”
Bretzing would not state how many times Finicum was shot. The federal agent also would not clarify whether Finicum had pulled his gun when he was shot. However, the below video does not seem to indicate that he had.
“Actions have consequences,” Bretzing spun. “As the video clearly shows it was a reckless action that resulted in consequences you have seen here today.”
Finicum and other protesters had been occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Oregon, for several weeks in protest of the re-incarceration of two ranchers who had already served their sentences for burning federal land adjacent to their property when the federal government would not conduct responsible forest management techniques.
The protesters also more-broadly protested the claiming of the majority of land in several Western states, a violation of Article I of the U.S. Constitution which outlined the relationship between the federal government and the states.
The FBI has maintained that they needed to intervene to stop this supposed “illegal occupation.”
However, few can remember when the federal government or state governments intervened to stop Occupy Wall Street “illegal occupiers” with such militancy. After countless rapes, murders, and instances of vandalism, city, state and federal governments offered the lawless encampments support, restroom facilities and prolonged residency in cities throughout the nation.
Although, according to Harney County authorities and the FBI, the “illegal occupation” of the off-the-beaten-path wildlife refuge demanded a tactical response.
As of publishing, the Facebook page for the protest group, Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, has been taken down after posting the video.