The FBI has recently released video of a Jan. 26 shooting in Oregon, the climax of a month-long standoff involving more than a dozen individuals occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon.
The occupation began Jan. 2 in response to the prison sentences for ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond. After the ranchers were found guilty of arson on federal land, Ammon Bundy led an armed group now calling themselves Citizens for Constitutional Freedom.
LaVoy Finicum, one of the occupiers, was shot and killed Jan. 26 during a traffic stop. A federal judge has denied bond for Ammon Bundy, the group’s ringleader, and all others captured. In the wake of his capture, Bundy urged the remaining protesters to turn themselves in.
Why did the occupation happen?
In opposition of a federal land policy, the group ordered the land to be placed under public control. Because of the government’s refusal to meet the protesters’ demands, a lengthy occupation ensued.
When did things escalate?
Events turned deadly Jan. 26 when officers shot and killed Finicum. During a traffic stop about 50 miles north of the wildlife refuge, Finicum reached into his jacket pocket twice before the officers opened fire. Greg Bretzing, the FBI special agent in charge of the Portland Division, said Finicum had a loaded gun in his possession. But protesters said Finicum was shot with his hands up.
The FBI released a video of the shooting to the public Jan. 28, showing Finicum reaching into his jacket pocket — which prompted the officer to use his firearm.
What lies ahead?
Ten arrests were made in Oregon, and one was made in Arizona. A federal judge denied bond for all involved. The 11 are charged with a federal count of conspiracy. Bundy has urged all remaining protesters to not use physical force — rather, he encouraged them to use their national audience to defend liberty and constitutional rights.