Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was shot and killed by FBI agents while driving a truck full of people to a townhall meeting. This was at the same time that he and others who had issues with the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) dealings with local ranchers. According to a previous post here at CopBlock.org:
On the day of the shooting, Lavoy, Ammon Bundy and several other occupiers with the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom were traveling to the city of John Day for a community meeting set up by local residents.
They were pulled over on U.S. Highway 395 by the Oregon State Police and the FBI. Officials said at the time that in an attempt to minimize violence, they had been waiting for an opportunity to arrest the group’s leadership away from the refuge.
Officials said Tuesday that prosecutors deemed the shooting “justified and necessary,” and claimed that LaVoy kept moving his hands towards his pocket which contained a loaded 9mm handgun.
The Citizens for Constitutional Freedom have steadily maintained that Lavoy was unarmed during his death and have called the shooting a “cold-blooded assassination,” and the FBI “liars.” They said that, “LaVoy’s guns were left at the compound” evidenced by the fact that his personal pistol can be seen in videos from the refuge after he was killed.
While shooting an unarmed man didn’t seem to bother government agents in their quest to justify the shooting, it seems that lying about how many bullets, or if you fired, are a concern. According to the LA Times one of the FBI agents has now been charged with a crime for lying to investigators. From the Times:
In classic fashion, two sides examined the same evidence and saw two different things. To the government, Finicum, 55, was reaching for a loaded gun in his jacket after speeding away from a traffic stop, and the shooting by Oregon State Police troopers was justified.
To thousands of antigovernment activists across the country, the Arizona rancher was a folk hero who became a martyr when, in their view, he was ambushed — shot in the back without a gun in his hand — by overaggressive law enforcement officials who were trying to crush the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
But when it came to one mysterious piece of evidence in the case, the two sides were bothered by the same question: Where did the bullet hole in the roof of Finicum’s truck come from?
The government offered an answer Wednesday when a member of the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team was indicted on suspicion of shooting twice at Finicum during the chaotic encounter and then lying about it to state and federal investigators.
The agent, W. Joseph Astarita, stone-faced and wearing a dark gray pinstriped suit, entered a plea of not guilty to five counts of lying and obstruction in a two-minute arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Janice M. Stewart in federal court in Portland.
This is the world we live in when it comes to police. Shoot and kill an unarmed man who merely reacted to an ambush and there will be no charges. Yet, lie to us about how many times you shot at said man and we’ll charge you with a crime.
Though being charged with a crime for a person who sports a badge is no big deal. As we’ve learned with the Philando Castile and Samuel Dubose cases where both officers were found not guilty (or hung jury) on charges stemming from police officers who used deadly force for questionable reasons. I highly doubt this lying, trigger happy cop will face anything more than a small media circus and courtroom formalities.
He will then be found to have acted within the bounds of the law because, as we all know, Badges DO grant extra rights.