New eye witness testimony indicates that the FBI and other federal agencies were never fired upon, but have shot and killed leading protester, Robert ‘Lavoy’ Finicum, and wounding one other in a elaborate operation that took place along a rural highway near Burns, Oregon.
For 26 days since the protest and occupation began at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge outside of Burns, Oregon there were no one was hurt and there were no injuries. That all changed early Tuesday evening when the FBI and Oregon State Police raised the ante, bringing the 4 week standoff to a dramatic ending.
As detailed in yesterday’s report, according to 18 yr old passenger and eyewitness, Victoria Sharp, dozens of federal vehicles and armed agents had set-up a pre-positioned roadblocks along an isolated stretch of rural Highway 395 before intercepting two vehicles and firing upon one of them, killing rancher and protest spokesman, Robert ‘Lavoy’ Finicum, from Chino Valley, Arizona, and wounding Ryan Bundy of Bunkerville, Nevada.
A total of 8 persons were detained, 5 of whom were charged with conspiracy to impede federal officers and are waiting arraignment.
21WIRE journalist Patrick Henningsen weighs in on the situation in Oregon and discusses its implications with news anchor Rory Suchet from RT International.
Some confusion arose over the last 24 hours regarding the authenticity of a proxy statement broadcast Portland’s local affiliate KATU, where Ammon Bundy’s attorney’s was intimating that Bundy had asked protesters to, “stand down and go home to your families.” Apparently, Bundy’s wife Lisa has since released an audio statement where she confirms that these were indeed Ammon’s wishes for the remaining protesters at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge.
UPDATE 1-28-2016 at 11:30PM ET: Due to public pressure and intense speculation about the events of Tuesday evening, and because of the YouTube recording of 18 yr old eye witness Victoria Sharp, the FBI has released the unedited aerial video footage from Tuesday evening’s incident which took place along Highway 395 here.
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.
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.