The FBI agents involved in the shooting death of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum are under investigation for not disclosing their shots fired, according to statements from an Oregon sheriff in a press conference Tuesday. Finicum had been a member of a group of armed ranchers that was occupying a federal building in Burns, Oregon, and he was shot dead by authorities while reportedly resisting arrest during a traffic stop.
Footage released of Finicum’s death appears to show the Arizona rancher getting out of his vehicle with his hands up and then reaching for something at his side. Authorities shot and killed Finicum and they later found a loaded handgun in his pocket, the Associated Press reported.
The Oregon State Police fired the shots that killed the rancher, according to the Malheur district attorney. None of the shots fired by the FBI struck Finicum, according to Deschutes County Sheriff L. Shane Nelson, and all of the shots fired by the police were justified, he said.
Police say shooting of LaVoy Finicum, Oregon standoff activist, was ‘justified’ https://t.co/N1EZ4zKUwS
— Guardian US (@GuardianUS) March 8, 2016
Finicum took part in the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Center in Harney County, led by Nevada rancher Ammon Bundy for 41 days starting in January. The armed occupation was staged to protest the reincarceration of two local ranchers who were ordered to return to jail after serving terms for committing arson on federal lands.
The protest centered on ranchers’ rights, and Bundy and his supporters used the example of the Oregon ranching pair to lobby the federal government to cede ownership of land in the West for grazing and logging.
“The occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge has been a long and traumatic episode for the citizens of Harney County and the members of the Burns Paiute tribe,” U.S. Attorney Billy Williams said after the occupation ended in February. “It is a time for healing, reconciliation amongst neighbors and friends, and allowing for life to get back to normal.”