The FBI released a 26-minute video late Thursday that documents the end of rancher and Oregon standoff leader LaVoy Finicum’s life following a vehicle chase and attempt to arrest him earlier this week.
Finicum was one of the men who has been occupying an Oregon wildlife refuge center since Jan. 3. He is shown on the video reaching for his jacket pocket before he was shot and killed by state police.
The footage from an FBI surveillance plane was taken after Robert “LaVoy” Finicum sped away from a traffic stop where the group’s leader, Ammon Bundy, was arrested, according to FBI special agent in charge Greg Bretzing.
Finicum was a rancher from Arizona who acted as a spokesman for the occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. He was armed with a 9-millimeter handgun when he was stopped by police after allegedly reaching for the gun, Bretzing said.
“We want to do what we can to lay out an honest and unfiltered view of what happened and how it happened,” Bretzing told reporters.
The video shows a white truck speeding toward a spiked roadblock and hitting a snow bank. It narrowly missed one of the officers.
Finicum then got out of the truck and runs up the snow bank with his hands up. He reaches twice with his right hand toward what appears to be an inside pocket of his jacket.
Bretzing said Finicum had a loaded handgun in his pocket and he “on at least two occasions” reached his right hand toward the pocket.
The video then shows the man being shot by officers. The kill shot appeared to be fired by an officer into the back of Finicum.
Bretzing told reporters that Oregon State Troopers shot Finicum after he reached toward his pocket.
Bretzing, the special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon, said the video was released to settle questions surrounding Finicum’s death.
“We know there are various versions of what has happened out in the public domain. Most of them inaccurate. Some of them inflammatory.”
Finicum is being hailed as a martyr by many bloggers and on social media.
The Free Capitalist Project, for instance, ran a story titled “The Ambush and Murder of Robert ‘LaVoy’ Finicum.”
Others watch the same video and say the officers were justified in shooting Finicum.
Four people are still holed up at the Oregon wildlife refuge facility. The dispute originated over land rights with activists saying the government should return the land to the ranchers.
Ammon Bundy, son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, has told his supporters to give up the fight and go home. The occupation of the Wildlife Headquarters started Jan. 3 with 100 to 150 armed militia taking control of the building.
The history of the dispute between ranchers and the federal Bureau of Land Management was chronicled by the Conservative Tree House earlier this month.
The story starts in the Harney Basin (where the Hammond ranch is established) which was settled in the 1870s. The valley was settled by multiple ranchers and was known to have run over 300,000 head of cattle.
After years of coercion and intimidation, Hammonds were eventually forced to either build and maintain miles of fences or be restricted from the use of their private property.
There are also allegations that the land contains rich deposits of uranium, WND reports, and this is why the government has tried to strip it from private hands.