He was born in the back hills of Northern Arizona, hunting and riding horses with his father and siblings. Born within him was a love for God, family and freedom. "We need to put God first in our lives, strengthen our families, and fight to restore our freedoms." LaVoy Finicum
This is a two-part update on the death of rancher LaVoy Finicum at the hands of the FBI and Oregon State Police. Western ranchers had gone to Oregon in support of the Hammond family. Their peaceful protest was labeled by law enforcement and some elected officials as domestic terrorism. Federal statutes were used to prosecute western ranchers who were trying to bring national attention to the overreach of federal agencies in taking western ranchers’ leases.
Part I: LaVoy Finicum
Last summer I traveled to Cane Bed, Arizona, located on the Arizona Strip, to visit Jeanette Finicum, wife of slain rancher, LaVoy Finicum. I wanted to meet her and to get a firsthand knowledge, not tainted by the media, of her husband’s death, why he went to Oregon, and how her family got caught up in Federal Agencies labeling her husband a "domestic terrorist." I found Jeanette to be a wonderful, gentle, and kind woman who was bravely trying to recover from this tragedy in her life and to find justice for her husband.
On February 3rd, 2017, I held a stakeholders meeting at the Capitol to discuss the overreach and lack of due process by the federal government in regard to western ranchers and the wrongful death of Arizona Citizen, LaVoy Finicum. Other legislators in attendance were Senators Sonny Borrelli (LD5), Gail Griffin (LD14), David Farnsworth (LD16), and Judy Burges (LD22); and Representatives Brenda Barton (LD6), Bob Thorpe (LD6), Mark Finchem (LD11), Becky Nutt (LD14), and Rusty Bowers (LD25).
Jeanette Finicum, two of her and LaVoy’s daughters, Terra Belle and Arianna, her lawyer Morgan Philpot, a Utah attorney and former Utah state legislator also attended.
We also heard from Michael Gibbs, Deputy Director of Arizona’s Tenth Amendment Center.
The following is some of the testimony of Jeannette Finicum :
"LaVoy traveled to Oregon Jan 1st, 2016, to join with others in the peaceful demonstration-march and to visit the Hammond ranching family, showing his support for her husband and son who were facing imprisonment for a crime they had already served time for. (More about this in part II.) He considered them his neighbor, and wanted to help, to let them know that they were not alone. LaVoy was not aware of any plans to do anything other than march through town and deliver flowers. However, when asked to stay and continue in a peaceful demonstration 35 miles outside of town at the Malheur National wildlife Refuge, he agreed."
Note: The refuge was operated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. It is not occupied during winter months. The buildings were not locked and the utilities were still on. But this wildlife refuge had been the center of much of the negative impacts that had happened to Oregon area ranchers including the Hammonds. It was a symbol of the excessive environmental regulations that were being used to remove ranchers from their grazing leases.
Reports that the ranchers caused damage to the property were lies. The ranchers took dated pictures of the condition they found the property in at the time they occupied the area.
Jeannette reported, "I believe there are many who are responsible for the negative outcome of this peaceful demonstration.
Sherriff Dave Ward, for relinquishing his authority to the FBI instead of allowing them some time to exercise their 1st Amendment right to free speech and peacefully demonstrate as others throughout this country have been allowed to do."
"Judge Grasty, for refusing to hear or take into consideration the redress of grievances Ammon filed months before hand."
Governor Kate Brown, for her letter dated Jan 20, 2016, to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI Director James Comey, six days before they murdered my husband, which says, "I must insist on a swift resolution of this matter. I request…that you instruct your agencies to end the unlawful occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge as quickly as possible." Naming them as "Radicals" and "Criminals", claiming they "are harassing law enforcement and their family members," all of which was not true!"
Senator Wyden, who said to KOIN 6 news, "this should have ended a long time ago," this was "a situation where the virus was spreading, and action needs to be taken."
The FBI and the Oregon state police, for escalating things within the town of Burns, inciting fear in the hearts and minds of its citizens. By walking around town tacked out and armed to the hilt. And for the murder of my husband."
"Many times we have watched out of control protests:
BALTIMORE – MAYOR "Let it burn", give them "space to destroy."
FERGUSON – GOVERNOR – 48 hours before he offered support.
New York MAYOR DE BLASIO – told the police to stand down and to "Give them some time to blow off some steam."
DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE -months of protesting – destroying property-setting off a bomb on the bridge.
UC BERKELEY – 150 masked agitators mixed with the protest and caused thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.
"All of these protests mentioned were not peaceful, they destroyed personal property, and harmed others. Yes, they were allowed to continue, some for months, maybe because they were politically correct?"
"None of this behavior went on at Malheur, NONE, they were peaceful. Wanting their voice to be heard. And yes senator Wyden was right, their message was spreading, people were resonating with the message of freedom, of liberty, of personal property rights. All of which are guaranteed in our Constitution – The Law of this land."
"Officials investigating the death of my husband, LaVoy, referred to the killing as a routine traffic stop. However, the FBI video shows this was not a typical traffic stop. It was a planned ambush involving a roadblock on a blind curve along a lonely stretch of highway, a "Deadman’s Blockade," a "kill stop" which is illegal. Nothing routine about it, it was planned days in advance and executed by an elite kill team."
Jeanette explained that there were no warrants issued for those arrested on that day until the next morning. LaVoy’s name was left off because he was dead. The FBI said LaVoy was reaching for a gun, that his death was justified. This allegation and finding is in dispute. The FBI’s aerial video was of poor quality, edited, and provided no audio. The Finicum family asserts that he was shot with both hands up and that he did not reach for a gun but that he reacted in response to pain inflicted by a bullet. He was also trying to walk in 3 ½ feet of snow.
It has now been revealed that the FBI lied and removed evidence concerning the shooting.
In the Oregon trial against 7 of the defendants in the occupying of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge the jury found them not guilty on all federal charges. The news was devastating to the federal and state agencies who were convinced that they would get a guilty verdict. The tragedy of this is that LaVoy Finicum would have been found innocent also.
Jeanette’s nightmare is not over. The BLM is not allowing for Jeannette to graze the allotment on their Tuck Up Ranch on the Arizona Strip. They claim that Jeannette does not inherit the lease from her husband, yet Arizona State law and Federal Law says otherwise. Yet the BLM refuses to follow state or federal law and is making this determination within the agency.
Jeanette said, "Since my husband’s murder- I have had much to deal with on multiple fronts, working with the BLM has been a nightmare- they have delayed talking to me, delayed responding to me and my attorneys, delayed negotiations, refused to recognized me as the rightful owner, refused to apply their own regulations in my case, that would benefit me, stating that "they don’t do it that way."
The information from this meeting will be used to craft letters to our Arizona Congressional Delegation and also to the Justice Department asking for an investigation into the death of LaVoy Finicum. We will also contact the BLM and investigate their unwillingness to follow state and federal law.
Look for Part II of this update focusing on why and how solid ranching citizens were labeled as domestic terrorists and their due process under the Constitution was suspended.
Audio Interview of Victoria Sharp, passenger in the vehicle driven by Arizona rancher Lavoy’ Finicum, along with Ryan Bundy, Ryan Payne and Shawna Cox. Eyewitness Account of LaVoy Finicum’s Murder by Federal Agents.