In an unexpected move, the FBI released video Thursday of state police officers fatally shooting one of the armed Oregon protesters who took over a remote wildlife refuge as a sign of protest against government land-grabbing and over-reaching.
Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, 56, died Tuesday during the arrest of occupation ringleader Ammon Bundy and four others during a traffic stop near the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. His death was captured on video taken from an FBI plane that shot footage as Finicum, driving a white truck, was pursued and ultimately confronted and killed by Oregon State Police officers.
“I want to caution you that the video does show the shooting death of LaVoy Finicum,” said Greg Bretzing, the special agent in charge of the FBI field office in Portland. “We realize that viewing that piece of the video will be upsetting to some people, but we feel that it is necessary to show the whole thing unedited in the interest of transparency.”
This is a shortened and edited version of FBI footage showing the joint FBI and Oregon State Police traffic stop and OSP officer-involved shooting of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
You’ll note that Finicum was shot by an Oregon State Police Trooper at relatively close range as he appeared to be reaching into his coat in a manner consistent with attempting to draw a handgun.
Flash bangs were then deployed in an effort to get the other occupants of the vehicle to surrender.
Update: Additional commentary via USA Today:
Bretzing said Finicum eventually pulled the truck over and was ordered by officers to surrender.
“Finicum leaves the truck and steps through the snow,” Bretzing said. “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.”
FBI agents are not generally equipped with body cameras, but video of the incident involving Finicum was captured by the FBI plane. The footage at times is obscured by trees but at one point, Finicum can be seen reaching toward his jacket pocket.
The FBI said agents and troopers found three other loaded weapons inside the truck: two .223 caliber semi-automatic rifles and a .38 special revolver.