Oregon Standoff

New Video Shows Agents Began Shooting at LaVoy Finicum Before Alleged Reach for a Gun Said to Justify the Kill

FBI agents now under criminal investigation for possible misconduct regarding killing Finicum after the Oregon wildlife standoff.

|

Various FBI agents involved in the January shooting and killing of LaVoy Finicum, one of the participants in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation, are under investigation for possible misconduct involving that killing, reports The Oregonian today.

Lavoy Finicum Facebook

The paper has some newly released video, appended at the end of this post, that syncs external video with video shot from inside the truck Finicum was driving with four other passengers, chronicling the last minutes of Finicum's life.

We see and hear when first stopped by agents—both FBI and Oregon state troopers were involved—that Finicum wanted to continue on to the city of John Day in Grant County for a planned community meeting which he seemed to think would involve the sheriff there.

He tells the officers who first stopped them that that's what he intends to do and invites them to either follow him there or to just kill him right now. "You want a bloodbath, it's going to be on your hands…I'm either going to be laying down here on the ground with my blood on the street or I'm going to see the sheriff," he said.

He drives off around 4:30 of the video below until hitting the roadblock that leads him to zoom offroad to the left.

This newly released video, shot from inside Finicum's vehicle, does indeed, for those who want to blame Finicum for what happened, literally show him telling the agents that they might as well "go ahead and shoot me" when he's out of the car and right before they fire the shots that kill him.

But the most interesting and damning thing the video makes clear is that agents started shooting at him, twice, before any of the "appearing to reach in his pocket for a gun" that supposedly justified the kill shots. See starting around 5:30 of the video.

So, there is something for the "narrative" for everyone: those who insist Finicum basically wanted to be shot have his reckless behavior and his shouted goading to the agents.

Those who insist the cops were illegitimately out to kill him from the start have the evidence that they began shooting him just as he exited the vehicle and long before any apparent "reaching for a gun."

If you want to hear frightened people praying for their life in a truck as cops keep shooting at them, both gas rounds and what seem to me to be bullets, watch/listen to the whole video below.

Recall these people knew they were being shot at from the start, and that their friend who left the truck was shot dead, if you ask why they didn't just peacefully exit the truck.

And as the Oregonian reports, even Justice Department officials grant now there was very possibly something untoward about the whole process:

An FBI agent is suspected of lying about firing twice at Robert "LaVoy" Finicum and may have gotten help from four other FBI agents in covering up afterward, authorities revealed Tuesday.

The bullets didn't hit Finicum and didn't contribute to his death, but now all five unnamed agents, part of an elite national unit, are under criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. Inspector General Michael Horowitz is leading the independent inquiry….

Investigators gave no details to explain why the one FBI agent, a member of the Hostage Rescue Team, wouldn't report the two shots. They also didn't indicate what his four colleagues on the team did to warrant investigation other than saying it was related to conduct after the shooting.

CNN's choice of headline for today's revelations is, let's say, an interesting experiment in burying the lede that anyone other than a cop lickspittle would care about: "Shooting death of LaVoy Finicum justified, necessary, prosecutor says."

The video. Very disturbing to the humane.

Advertisement

NEXT: Donald Trump's Victory Speech Is a Reminder That He's the Ultimate Scam Pitchman

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Well surprise, surprise, surprise!

    /sarc

  2. The FBI shot Finicum? Wasn’t the “official story” it was Oregon LEOs?

    1. Both the FBI and Oregon cops fired. The story I heard was the FBI fired first and missed, the Oregon cops closed the deal.

      1. No coffee for the FBI!

  3. I thought there was something hinky about aerial FBI video.

  4. Hands up don’t shoot, is truer here than it was in that other case.

  5. From the linked article, by my boy Les (He works remotely from his rural ranch, digging out stories)

    Investigators gave no details to explain why the one FBI agent, a member of the Hostage Rescue Team, wouldn’t report the two shots. They also didn’t indicate what his four colleagues did to warrant investigation other than saying it was related to conduct after the shooting.

    “The question of who fired these shots has not been resolved,” said Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge of the FBI in Portland. The federal agency is cooperating with the inspector general’s investigation, he said at a news conference

    “I put it to you, Greg – isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!”

    And then someone died…

  6. No one cares. It’s all meaningless and we are powerless in the face of the mob.

  7. Is anyone surprised by this? I am guessing everyone already knew in the back of their minds that this was the case.

    I am not watching that video.

    1. Cause of death: failed to respect authority.

  8. Who would ever have imagined that speeding in a truck toward what you know is a roadblock made by armed cops, then getting out and yelling “Shoot me!”, would ever result in tragedy??

    Once again: play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

      1. I am not saying the FBI or the cops are faultless, here or in other, similar instances. But it’s absurd to not acknowledge that lots and lots of the “victims of police abuse” did incredibly stupid things that contributed to their own fates.

        1. It is absurd! You’re right, Finicum should have been killed by the highly trained federal agents.

        2. What they’re guilty of is failing to appreciate that there’s little difference between the state and the mob, and conducting themselves accordingly.

        3. This is another issue of needless escalation. The FBI and LEOs could have merely waited with drawn weapons. There was absolutely no need to start shooting. They thought they were free to do as they pleased. They didn’t know about the video. It just goes to show what American’s Finest will do when confronting heretics in an isolated place.

          1. Your mistake is in thinking that LEO was trying to enforce the law.
            LEO was enforcing LEOs power.

      2. That’s a real nice strawman you got there. Shame if something were to happen to it.

  9. “…those who insist Finicum basically wanted to be shot have his reckless behavior and his shouted goading to the agents.”

    So “goading” supposed professional LEOs is sufficient to get you shot?
    Are these “professionals” gang kids from the hood who get really pissed when they’re “dissed”?

    1. I would never say that all cops are bad, because I know there’s at least one kind that’s good.

      1. Anecdotal; I personally know several who are professional. I (and they) wish there were more.
        And (we) also wish the union would disappear from the face of the earth.

        1. The problem is bigger than unions. It’s the structure of the judicial system’s relationship to law enforcement. Qualified immunity is not equality under the law, it’s a distinctly “government agents win, you lose” legal tool.

          1. It’s not even that.

            It’s that a good half of the country, and most of the government, really, honestly believe that people like this guy should be shot on sight, basically.

            Look at all the calls from lefties wanting to drone strike these people.

            Look at the lefties who think the way to counter open (or even concealed) carry is to call the police and tell them there is someone with a gun threatening people. Knowing full well that the police will probably come and shoot the person, even though he’s done no such thing.

            This is why Republicans (and others) are so stupid about terrorism laws, because the left will gladly use them against the right, not actual terrorists.

          2. Like the disintermediation of the teachers’ unions, I’ll take this as one step at a time.

        2. Professional, sure. But you’ll need to find one that would register an official declaration with his department, swearing that he will participate in no action pertaining to the collection of any tax, before I could even contemplate considering him to be good. Alternatively, I suppose I might also accept his wearing a conspicuous patch reading “Official Extortionist” or similar, since in the absence of such a declaration, there’s not much getting around that that is what he is.

          1. Sorry, no anarchist here.

            1. That’s not a logical requirement for what I suggested.

              1. “That’s not a logical requirement for what I suggested.”

                If not, it’s not far off.

    2. Like many tragedies, it’s multi-causal. A bunch of things all go wrong together. If the Titanic hadn’t been trying to set a record, if they had hit the iceberg square on, if it had had better rivets, if that nearby ship hadn’t thought the distress signals were fireworks, etc.

      In this case, you start with a tense standoff with armed men, add in a truck driving very quickly toward an armed roadblock, and then the driver jumping out and yelling “Shoot me!” Without all those things together, he might not have been shot.

      1. Sorry, not buying beef that thin.
        There were supposed professionals involved who proved themselves every bit as “professional” as gang members in the projects.
        Fail.

        1. Yeah, they are trained professional human beings who make mistakes, especially in tense situations with armed people and speeding vehicles. Which is the point.

          Doctors are trained professionals, too. We expect them to not make mistakes. But let’s say I do a series of stupid things. I drive drunk, I wreck my car, I get injured, I scream at the doctor who stops his car in the dark to help me. In an ideal world, the doctor should deal with it all and make no mistakes. In the real world, I’ve created a situation in which the doctor might very well make mistakes, trying to give first aid a screaming drunk in the dark.

        2. Hey now, apparently 4 out of 5 FBI agents successfully managed to not shoot wildly at the car, so that’s an 80 percent win rate there.

          Appears to be a somewhat poorer success rate on the whole not-falsifying-reports part, however.

      2. The FBI’s budget in 2015 was 8.3 billion dollars. The HRT receives the highest level of training money can buy (obviously), and over two months after the shooting the FBI releases the statement that says: “The question of who fired these shots has not been resolved.” I mean, with a budget that small how could they find the time to figure who shot the domestic terrorist?

      3. Nothing went wrong at all. They lured him out with the promised “meeting”, then killed him on the way. Everything went absolutely according to plan.

        1. ^ This.

        2. It sure looks like it.

      4. “if that nearby ship hadn’t thought the distress signals were fireworks, etc.”

        I read a book about that ship and the Captain’s decisions that night.

        Fascinating as to how he ignored the crew’s observations during the night about the distress signals and his circuitous route to the Titanic the next morning.

        One of his reasons for not investigating during the night was too much ice put his ship in jeopardy but in the morning took a round about course that took him through more ice than a straight line to the Titanic would have.

    3. Well they are trained to shoot any dog that approaches them even if they are chained, the dog not the cop.

  10. Too bad there weren’t cell phone cameras at Waco and Ruby Ridge, I wonder what sort of jackbooted murder we would have seen.

  11. OT: Rant on.

    You people don’t know what you’re missing with the loss of the bench seat. You wanna have some fun in your car with your honey? You need a damn bench seat.

    Now it’s all fucking bucket seats. Why? Because they look “sportier.”

    Sorry: you don’t look sporty in your Impala with bucket seats. You look like a guy that can’t get a decent BJ in the car because you’ve got a damn bucket seat.

    Hell, a normal size woman can hop on and go for a ride with bench seats. Try that with a damn bucket seat.

    But, markets. Fine. I can take it. I’m surrounded by retards. But, I can deal.

    Rant off.

    1. As a fellow man who appreciate the…non-normal-sized woman…and also has bucket seats, I second your rant.

    2. 1970 caprice here. Bench seats rule

    3. I have the same complaint.

      1. Dirty millennials are aware of Cake? The millennial both confuses and scares me.

        1. Cake is to music as PBR is to beer, would by my best guess.

              1. I appreciate you linking the video.

          1. I guess you could think that if that’s the only song you’ve heard.

            1. He must not want a girl with a mind like a diamond, or want a girl who knows what’s best.

              1. He’s just in his world of two.

    4. Bucket seats recline.

      That is all.

      1. God damn it, you can’t fucking drive the car while your lady friend’s in your lap with her legs wrapped around you with a damn reclined bucket seat. The whole point is to sit up and drive like you practically always do, except you’re fucking.

        DIE. DIE IN A FIRE. YOUR ILK RUINED CARS. PROBABLY FOR DECADES.

        Fuck.

        1. Qualifying criteria for car seats; ease at which vaginal sex takes place. Automobiles are for the pregame. You can’t get your hips into it otherwise. Cars were ruined long before bucket seats, meine freunde; standard automatic transmission?

          Cheer up, Brian.

    5. Buckets in the front…bench in the back. Like a car-mullet.

    6. Will this become another selling point for autonomous vehicles? [shudders]

  12. This is huge.

    You mean reaching for his gun AFTER he’d been shot wasn’t a problem?

    Doesn’t it make any difference if his political views differed from Barack Obama? I mean, if he was a racist, it’s okay for the FBI to shoot racists, right?

    And he was on public land! Let’s not forget that. He was protesting on public land–and if that weren’t a shootable offense, I understand he was also exercising his Second Amendment rights!

    My God! What is wrong with these people . . . who think they can walk around on public property–Caucasian as anything–exercising their Constitutional rights, and not get shot by the FBI?

    P.S. How much money do we spend every year teaching FBI agents not to indiscriminately shoot people? Do we get anything for our money?

  13. What else would anyone expect of the HRT? They’re the ones who got the FBI renamed as Federal Baby Incinerators at Waco.

  14. OT: Bernie Sanders won Michigan because half the people in Hillary’s own party hate her because she’s a horrible human being.

    1. [Sanders] also showed strength with a number of voting groups she needs to do better with to win nationally.

      Upper middle-class white kids?

  15. You know, I sort of expect a fella like this to have armored up his truck to at least be resistant to small arms fire.

    Run flat tires, steel plates in the doors, 2 inch lexan for the windows that sort of thing.

    Roll through that road block slow and cool.

  16. The cops are just gonna say that at the point he drove the way he did at the barricade, they “feared for their life”, so of course they opened fire. And then he ran out of the car screaming, so they shot him, because they just didn’t know what he was going to do next.

    And they’ll be done. Good kill. Move on.

    It’s not like he’s a native american, occupying Alcatraz, or something. He’s just white trash that wouldn’t do as he was told.

    And that will be the end of it.

    1. Racist. We know, Brian. White people are the true victims. I learned that from Donald trump. You?

  17. Hmm, This video is troubling indeed.

    1. And that is the almighty state you want more of.

      1. “Did you have to shoot at them when they were stuck in a snowdrift?”
        “Well, we shot at civilians in Iraq.”
        “Shut up about that. I asked, did you have to shoot at them when they were stuck in a snowdrift?”
        “I guess not.”
        “I guess not. Right. Okay. No shooting people for one whole week.”
        “But! But!”
        “No buts. You can only shoot people for one hour, after school, only after you have done all your paperwork and taken out the garbage.”
        “Fine.”

        Exeunt.

  18. Goddamnit. Just… Goddamnit. Fuck. Goddamnit.

  19. But he deserved it because black people.

  20. I don’t think you are reading this “investigation” properly. They are not the least bit concerned with the killing of this activist. They are done with that. Good shoot. Nothing more to see there.

    They are investigating the reporting done after the fact by an FBI agent who said he never fired his weapon. He will likely be reprimanded or fired for filing a false report. It will have absolutely no impact on the outcome of the investigation, although it may fuel the conspiracy theory fires for some time.

    The government is not concerned at all about the shooting. They are free and clear on that matter. Nothing is going to derail that train. Execution – style shootings to prone subjects don’t get ruled unjustified. No way a guy with a gun in his pocket getting shot is ever ruled anything but justified. And they’ve already said as much.

    This is about maintaining the process. All the little duckies have to dance the right dance, and one of them didn’t follow the choreography, so he’s gonna get yelled at by the teacher. That is all.

    1. If the film shows that he only reached for his gun–after they started shooting at him–then the first shots were not justified. Rather, Finicum was justified in reaching for his gun in self-defense.

      If they started shooting at him before he reached for his gun–even if those bullets missed–then whomever started shooting is guilty of attempted murder. “I was trying to kill him but I missed”, does not mean no crime occurred.

      In fact, if the initial attempt on Finicum’s life made him reach for his gun, which, in turn, justified shooting him, then the FBI agent or agents that initially shot at him (without justification) are ultimately responsible for his death.

    2. Meanwhile, what justified shooting at the people in the vehicle?

      1. You are trying to apply reason and attempting to use their stated rules. This is not how it works. Guy had gun. Guy got shot. 99,99% of the time the government will investigate itself and find that it acted properly under these conditions.

        We had a shooting down here in Miami at the “urban spring break” a few years back. The guy supposedly shot at police and bystanders from a vehicle. Then they figured out that everyone who got shot was shot by the police. Then a video shot from a hotel balcony shows up and we can see that the guy was fleeing police panic fire and put the car in park as soon as he was clear. After a long, considered pause they proceeded to execute him in a hail of bullets. After searching for a day or so they found a gun in the car behind the driver’s seat. (The first location they looked by the way, even before opening the driver door they opened the rear driver side door)

        Anyway…. he had a gun in the vehicle. Good shoot! That’s going to be the ruling all of the time. Bad guy + had a gun == good shoot. No need to look any further. No need to adjust training or tactics. Bad guy down. Problem solved.

        The FBI guy isn’t in trouble for shooting. He’s in trouble for not telling anyone. Because it messes up the paperwork. If shooting at two unarmed old white ladies in a pickup because you are looking for a large black man in a different pickup is a good shoot, this one isn’t close.

        1. Militia people aren’t going to take this lying down.

          They made a big enough stink to get Ruby Ridge set straight, and the Finicum shooting is all on camera.

  21. What we learn here is a very sad lesson indeed, if you get into an armed confrontation with the police, make sure that you have cameras rolling and then win the ensuing firefight. After all, there’s not one jury in the world that would convict you with evidence like this. You will live and get off without conviction (as you are innocent).

    How you end up surrendering to the very tribe you just shot up, I don’t know. Maybe surrender to the neighboring sheriff?

    I’m fairly certain these are the reasons that the initial Bundy ranch protest succeeded:
    A. They had lots of cameras rolling.
    B. They had superior firepower and the government goons don’t want to die.
    If there were a firefight, not only would the goons lose, they’d also never be able to get a conviction.

    So basically, if you realize the goons want a fight, then you have to incapacitate all of them. So they are actually training Americans to shoot them.

  22. I watched, and found it very sad. What I did notice is that we never see the people in the truck display any firearms, or ever talk about defending themselves, even after the first guy gets out of the truck and is shot. I am not saying that they were not armed, I assume that they were. But they were talking about being afraid to get out of the truck, because they believed that they would be shot. And the Officers did continue of fire on the truck, even though the occupants were ducked down and praying. I had expected to see them defend themselves, or at least talk about it.

  23. The only thing “disturbing” about the video is Robert “LaVoy” Finicum’s insistence on suicide-by-cop.

    For the complete story of the Bundy Boys takeover of Malheur and its cultural, political and historical context, including a day-by-day timeline, see Range War Redux ? Bundy Boys In Oregon.

    The philosophical sources of the new Range Wars and associated movements is explored in The New Anti-Federalists: The Wellspring of the Bundy Sagebrush Insurrection.

    1. So it’s OK to shoot people if they fail to obey? It’s OK to shoot a truckload of people who aren’t threatening you?

      I’d love to know where this claimed authority comes from.

  24. Why is it that virtually everyone commenting on a website called “Reason” are displaying a complete and abject dearth of same?

    1. Because we have thought about it. You’re wrong.

  25. INCORRECT; They didn’t claim the “reach” justified all the shooting. Especially since they fired away before the truck ever hit the snow.

    5:55 – “Under Oregon Law. Mr Finicum was using his truck as a dangerous weapon” – JUSTIFIED, they said
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgu0YYIdtEk

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.