A new video released by the FBI shows what the occupants experienced in the vehicle driven by rancher LaVoy Finicum as he was murdered by law enforcement.
Finicum’s wife Jeanette Finicum released this statement at a news conference in St. George, Utah. She stated that the “report of the investigation regarding my husband’s death was to be expected. No surprises. The purpose of that announcement was for state and federal agencies to continue to lay the foundation of their legal case.”
She questioned the “selective evidence.” She promised that she “will provide a more thorough analysis.”
Finicum was murdered during a Jan. 26 traffic stop while authorities were trying to arrest the rancher and others involved in the occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge.
“As a family, along with our lawyers, we deny this statement. This was not a traffic stop. It was an ambush with a roadblock placed on a blind curve along a lonely stretch of highway. I am told that in law enforcement and prosecuting circles this is called a “Deadman’s blockade,” and is designed to allow a “kill stop” which is illegal,” stated the widow.
She rejected the claim by the FBI that said Finicum “was shot after reaching for a gun…” “The FBI’s aerial video was of poor quality, edited and provided no audio,” stated the widow. “Our family asserts that he was shot with both hands up, he was not reaching for anything at the time of the first shot. He was walking with his hands in the air, a symbol of surrender. When he reached down to his left hip he was reacting to the pain of having been shot.”
“I can hardly believe that a team of qualified law officers could look at the facts in this case and say that no criminal laws were violated,” she said.
She asked, “How could they have reached this decision in the face of evidence that clearly shows intent to kill my husband?”
She claims that she has talked with an independent investigator who has stated that the “video proves a set up assassination.”
Watch the video, and reach your own conclusion as to whether the shooting was justified:
FBI statement released March 8, 2016:
On January 26, 2016, along Highway 395 in Harney County, Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers and FBI agents put themselves in harm’s way as part of the effort to bring the situation at the refuge to an end peacefully. I can assure that no one, from the Director of the FBI down to each and every employee who was working in Harney County, wanted this situation to end in violence or death.
However, Mr. Finicum chose to break the law, put other people’s lives in danger, and, as the investigation shows, provoke a confrontation with law enforcement. As the sheriff and DA have shown, the threat Mr. Finicum posed to OSP troopers and agents along Highway 395 on that day was real and imminent, and certainly justified the use of deadly force by law enforcement.
As you have heard today, the investigation conducted by the Tri-County Major Incident Team determined that OSP troopers fired three shots at Mr. Finicum’s vehicle as it approached the law enforcement barricade at a high rate of speed, the vehicle nearly hitting a law enforcement officer. The team also determined OSP troopers fired three additional shots that struck and killed Mr. Finicum as he reached for his weapon after exiting his vehicle.
The county’s investigation also indicated that, in between the two series of shots fired by OSP troopers, one, and possibly two, additional shots were fired by law enforcement as Mr. Finicum was exiting the vehicle after hitting the snow bank. As autopsy results confirm, neither of these shots struck Mr. Finicum. The question of who fired these shots has not been resolved. Upon learning this, and given the FBI presence on scene, I immediately contacted our Inspection Division which notified the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General which is currently investigating this matter.
Because this is an ongoing matter, it would be inappropriate for me or anyone to speculate or comment further, but I can tell you that the FBI is fully cooperating with the Office of Inspector General.
Since January 2nd, the FBI has worked in partnership with Harney County and our law enforcement partners throughout the state to resolve the situation at the refuge. Since that time, hundreds upon hundreds of FBI employees traveled to Burns with the sole purpose of bringing this situation to a peaceful conclusion.
Working together with our partners, we have been able to do just that. The refuge is clear and will be re-opening soon. People who once feared for their safety are back in their homes. Those who chose to break the law will have their day in court. Life is not yet completely normal, but we are on the path to reconciliation and recovery.