UPDATE II: 10:33 p.m. January 28, 2016.
The video was recorded from a fixed-wing FBI aircraft and shows the white truck that Finicum was driving had been pulled over by an unmarked law enforcement vehicle with emergency lights in its front grill.
He remains stationary for several minutes in the middle of the road, almost for four minutes, which were cut out in this edited version by the feds, before he began driving away (unedited version at bottom of article).
4:50 – He begins to drive away as the aircraft follows.
5:50 – He comes to a road block of three law enforcement vehicles, veers left and crashes into the snow bank.
5:55 – He steps out of the vehicle, trudging through the snow, with his arms raised.
6:02 – He reaches into his waistband as a law enforcement officer is running towards him with a gun drawn.
6:04 – He still has his hands near his waistband, appearing to try and pull out a gun, then swings around and sees another law enforcement officer with a gun drawn.
6:07 – He is shot down.
UPDATE: 9:20 p.m. January 28, 2016.
The FBI just posted the above video and it shows Robert “LaVoy” Finicum crashing into a snow bank, stepping out of his vehicle, raising his arms, then lowering them, appearing to fumble for something in his waistband.
You be the judge.
The full, unedited version is at the top of this story.
ORIGINAL STORY 8:00 a.m. January 28, 2016
It’s been two days since law enforcement officers gunned down Oregon occupier Robert “LaVoy Finicum and the internet is awash with outrage, glee, solemness and mockery – along with the usual click-baiting misinformation.
Those on the left are celebrating the fact that the FBI finally moved in on the protesters, who had been occupying the federal Malheur Wildlife Refuge since January 2.
Those on the right are seething at what they see as a governmental assassination of a patriot who only wanted liberty and justice for all.
And that one witness to the shooting who claimed Finicum was killed with his hands in the air is being discredited as flaky, untrustworthy and opportunistic by sources from within the Oath Keepers organization, who have been in close contact with the occupiers since it began, and have also been communicating with PINAC throughout the evening.
There apparently is also a police dash cam video that shows Finicum not only charged at the cops, but also went for his gun, prompting them to shoot him dead.
Finicum, 55, a rancher from Northern Arizona, had always said he would rather die than give in to the demands of the feds, so apparently he remained true to his word.
The information about the alleged video comes from Oath Keeper Samuel Culper, who posted the following on his Facebook page.
At this time, there are five remaining protesters at the refuge, including a man named David Fry, who has been posting videos on this YouTube channel, ranting into the camera, saying he is also willing to die, encouraging others to come join them. One of those videos is posted below.
Fry was vacationing with his parents in Costa Rica when he heard about the occupation and took an immediate flight to come join the crew, according to Cleveland.com.
Meanwhile, PINAC correspondent Mike Bluehair, who was traveling with a group of occupiers Wednesday to report on the story, was nearly arrested himself while trying to record the arrest of Pete Santilli as you can see in the video below.
Santilli, a radio host who has been live streaming and posting videos from the refuge since it began, was charged with “conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats.”
Also arrested and charged with the same crime are Ammon Bundy, Ryan Payne, Ryan Bundy, Brian Cavalier, Shawna Cox, Jon Ritzheimer, Jason Patrick, Duane Leo Ehmer, Joseph D. O’Shaughnessy and Dylan Wade Anderson.
The charge carries a maximum six-year sentence. Read the affidavit here.
There are still many unanswered questions – not to mention four different accounts – about the shooting, which are addressed below by the Forward Observer Magazine.
- Ammon Bundy allegedly called his wife to tell her that LaVoy Finicum was unarmed and had his hands up when shot and killed. Ammon received this account second-hand and was passing on what he was told. We know that the altercation with LaVoy occurred outside the line of sight of Ammon Bundy.
- Victoria Sharpe was allegedly in LaVoy’s vehicle during the shooting, and she claims that around 120 rounds were fired during the altercation, and that LaVoy had his hands up while walking towards FBI and OSP officers. FBI and OSP officers, according to Victoria Sharpe’s account, shot Lavoy and continued to shoot him after he fell down. At one part of her account, Victoria says that LaVoy was shot three times after falling down, and at a second part, she claims that LaVoy was shot at least six times after falling down.
- Mark McConnell’s account draws heavily on the alleged first-hand accounts of Shawna Cox and Ryan Payne. Mark’s statement claims that LaVoy drove through the felony stop further north up the road. According to Mark, Shawna Cox continues the story she related to him, saying that they drove towards the FBI-OSP road block, where LaVoy then attempted to drive around the road block. After the truck got stuck, LaVoy exited the vehicle and charged law enforcement personnel. Mark cites the stories of Shawna Cox and Ryan Payne that LaVoy was not on his knees and was not cooperative when he was killed.
- Finally, according to a joint FBI-OSP statement published Wednesday morning, three shots were fired during the stop. It provides no additional information about the altercation.
- (Analyst Comment: Each of the three eye witness accounts agree that LaVoy drove his truck past the felony stop, towards the road block. Each of the three eye witness accounts agree that LaVoy had his hands up in the air, and two claim that he was walking towards FBI and OSP personnel when shot and killed. From there, the eye witness accounts get very contradictory. The accounts of Shawna Cox and Ryan Payne, according to Mark McConnell, support the limited information provided by the FBI-OSP statement. The account of Victoria Sharpe is the outlier. Two things are sure for me: there was no “shoot out” as the media has reported. According to each of the eye witness statements above, no possibility exists that LaVoy Finicum fired at police. After surveying three weeks of his video statements about the potential for his death, and speaking with him in person a little over a week ago, I’m more inclined to believe that LaVoy was shot on his feet than on his knees. “I’m not going to end up in prison. I would rather die than be caged. And I’ve lived a good life,” he told reporters during the first week of the occupation. He went on record numerous times later saying, effectively, that he was going to walk away after the mission was accomplished or that he was going to die trying. If we’re to believe LaVoy’s conviction that he would have rather died than go to prison, then in the face of overwhelming odds that he would be arrested, we must accept the possibility that he died for the cause. If Shawna and Ryan’s accounts, as told by Mark McConnell are accurate, then he was walking towards police when he was shot. That increases the likelihood of a wrongful death scenario, and gives no credence to the claim that he was executed while on his knees. Additionally, we need to ask why non-lethal/less-lethal means weren’t used in order to subdue LaVoy, especially if his hands remained up.)
Those questions can hopefully be answered by the release of the dash cam video, if it does exist.
The remaining activists say they will not give up unless the feds withdraw a warrant for one of the activists, but that is not likely to happen.
“We have new leaders now and new plans,” Fry told NPR.
But negotiations are ongoing and it doesn’t appear as if the current leadership has the competence to maintain the standoff for much longer.
UPDATE: ABC 17 confirmed there is a police video of the shooting.
The shooting was captured on camera by the SWAT team. FBI and Oregon police officials are discussing possibly releasing the video, in part to counter claims by supporters that Finicum was gunned down while trying to surrender.
UPDATE II: The third video below shows LaVoy telling a reporter that he will not draw a gun on officers unless they draw a gun on him first. He also vowed not to spend any time in a “concrete box.”