Due to public pressure and intense speculation about the events of Tuesday brought on by a YouTube recording of the testimony of key eyewitness Victoria Sharp, the FBI has released the unedited aerial video footage from Tuesday evening’s incident which took place along Highway 395.
According to the official FBI statement: “We feel that it is necessary to show the whole thing unedited in the interest of transparency.”
The FBI video entitled, “Complete, Unedited Video of Joint FBI and OSP Operation 01/26/2016″, does show the victim Lavoy Finicum exiting the truck awkwardly in at least two feet of snow, and he clearly does not “charge towards” the SWAT team, and his hands are clearly held high above his head as he exits his truck when confronted by a SWAT team, before being shot multiple times by marksmen and falling in the snow. Also, the scale and size of this operation is very evident by the footage, and the apprehension of the protesters was not the result of a mere “traffic stop” as it was wrongly characterized in multiple mainstream media reports.
The FBI has also titled their release as “unedited” which shows a window of 26 min and 29 seconds, but it would be interesting to see any drone footage prior to where their clip begins, to further determine how long the drone was filming the vehicles of Finicum and Bundy. This is important because it would shed further light the premeditated nature of the confrontation that the media and government ‘sources’ have called a ‘traffic stop’.
On its own, this FBI drone footage would appear to support previous government and media claims by CNN, Washington Post and others that the victim was indeed “reaching towards his waistband” which gave federal and state police justification to unleash deadly force. However, it is still not completely clear from this aerial footage whether or not Finicum was holstered (he is said to normally carry a gun on the right hip, but FBI are claiming he had a 9mm gun in his inside left breast pocket), but also whether or not he lowered his arms before, or after he was shot multiple times. For example, if Finicum had his hands in the air and was then was shot in the abdomen first, then any man’s natural reaction would be to then lower his hand(s) and clutch the wound. Additionally, if any shots were fired, even in the vicinity, then confusion could have ensued which might have prompted Finicum to reach for his weapon. Either way, it is impossible to make any such a forensic determination without a corresponding audio track – which would help to determine if any shots were fired before Finicum’s hand(s) could be seen lowering.
Finicum was known to carry a Colt 45 on his right hip, but according to the FBI statement, Finicum is said to have reached toward his left pocket with his right hand. “Finicum did have a loaded 9 mm semi-automatic handgun in that pocket,” the FBI stated.
Finicum appears to temporarily lose his balance in the snow at the very moment he looks to be hit by agents.
What is clear however from this video is that armed agents did not shoot to disable their suspect, but shot to kill and even had a laser sight trained on him for many minutes after he was downed. Clearly, multiple SWAT shooters could be seen emerging from the woods. After killing Finicum, police then left the victim to bleed to death laying in the snow and did not check on him for at least another 8 minutes.
Flash-bang rounds can be seen around the 14:00 mark of the FBI’s ‘unedited’ version, and the FBI has said that it fired CS gas and ‘non lethal rounds’ (possibly pepper spray rounds, or rubber bullets) are said to have been fired at the truck while the passengers were inside. This begs the question: with nonlethal rounds already in play – why did multiple SWAT shooters use so many deadly rounds against Finicum when he exited the truck with his hands up?