Oregon Live – by Kale Williams
The widow of Lavoy Finicum, the 54-year-old Arizona rancher and key figure in the Malheur Wildlife Refuge occupation earlier this year, plans to sue the Oregon State Police and FBI for civil rights violations relating to his death, her lawyer told The Oregonian/OregonLive on Saturday.
Jeanette Finicum, who has been outspoken in her criticism of the shooting, retained California-based attorney Brian Claypool, who said he plans to sue both the state police and two individual FBI agents over Lavoy Finicum’s death on Jan. 26 on a remote stretch of Highway 395 north of Burns.
Claypool, who is also representing Ryan Bundy in the ongoing criminal case over the refuge takeover, said in a statement that his intent to file the lawsuit comes as new evidence has emerged.
“There is now physical evidence (shell casings) that proves that two FBI agents lied during the law enforcement investigation by stating that they did not fire the first shots at Finicum’s vehicle,” Claypool said. “The US Department of Justice is investigating the two FBI agents for perjury.”
Finicum, who had become a spokesman for the self-proclaimed militia group that staged the takeover of the refuge in protest of federal use of public lands, was traveling with several other key figures from the standoff on the day of the shooting en route to a community meeting 100 miles north of the refuge in John Day.
Finicum was driving a truck that carried carried Ryan C. Bundy, 43; Ryan W. Payne, 32; Shawna Cox, 59; and Victoria Sharp, 18. In the Jeep behind them was driver Mark McConnell, 37, Brian D. Cavalier, 44, and Ammon Bundy, 40, the public face of the occupation.
The occupiers had been moving without police interference between the refuge and Burns, even attending a county-sponsored community meeting at Burns High School a week before the shooting, but that day state police and FBI agents attempted to pull over both vehicles.
Finicum nearly ran over an FBI agent before stalling in a roadside snowbank as he attempted to elude the roadblock set up by law enforcement officials. Officer statements and cellphone video taken by Cox from inside the truck showed that Finicum repeatedly ignored police orders, first at the traffic stop and then after he crashed trying to get around the officers.
Officers repeatedly ordered Finicum to get on the ground after he got out of the truck, according to the video shot by Cox. An investigation found that Finicum first faced a state trooper taking cover in nearby trees, then turned toward two troopers advancing from the highway.
Those two state troopers fired when Finicum turned back toward the trooper in the trees while reaching for a loaded 9 mm Ruger semi-automatic pistol inside his jacket, investigators said. He died at the scene.
Prosecutors found that state troopers were justified in their use of deadly force against Finicum.
“All six shots fired by the Oregon State Police, the three into the truck and the three that struck Mr. Finicum, are justified,” said Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris. The shots were “in fact, necessary,” he said.
But five unnamed FBI agents have since come under investigation by the Department of Justice after one of them allegedly lied about firing twice at Finicum and the four others were accused of helping to cover it up afterward.
Ryan Bundy was wounded — with his supporters claiming a bullet lodged in his arm, where it remains — at some point during the shooting, but who fired the shot that wounded him or if he was wounded by shrapnel remains unclear.
The investigation into the FBI’s role in the incident has fueled conspiracy theories over Finicum’s death, which Claypool described as “motivated by political reasons.”
Finicum’s family said in a statement after the shooting that he was “executed in cold blood” and accused law enforcement of deliberately misleading the public about what happened. His widow, Jeanette Finicum, echoed their sentiment.
“My husband was murdered,” she said in a statement.
Claypool said, although a lawsuit had not been filed yet, Finicum’s family would be moving forward with the claim “with 100 percent certainty.” Claypool said more details on the suit would be revealed at a press conference in late September.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reporter Les Zaitz contributed to this report.
— Kale Williams
5 thoughts on “Lavoy Finicum’s widow announces plans to sue feds, state cops over husband’s death”
The people in government have unlimited funds and the ability
to get the case put off forever. People in the FBI know the judges.
There is only 1 way to win this
Sorry Folks, these people went to OR armed and asking for a fight. They got one someone died, NOW they cry fowl
Sorry, Darkwing, but it is not that simple. What they did was stupid and ill conceived, but as they kept calling themselves “The tip of the spear” I have to believe they were taking advise from the likes of Alex Jones via Pete Santilli. They were used for a purpose.
Either you believe in our Bill of Rights, hence our common law, or you do not. By the law, they committed no offense and were absolutely within their freemen rights with every action they took.
LaVoy Finicum was killed in cold blood, murdered on a rural Oregon highway, and that is unacceptable. It is absolute affirmation of an absolute, foreign controlled, police state.
LaVoy Finicum was an American national, that makes him my brother. If I ever would have had any difference with LaVoy, that difference would have been within our private lives and under the jurisdiction of the common law, where it would be litigated to a peaceful, just, and equitable conclusion.
There are a lot of things that need correcting and it is going to be a hard pill for those who have found a prosperous life within the collectives. We must all join together to fight for the Bill of Rights. If in the end of that fight, it comes down to American national against American national, so be it. We don’t stop fighting until the Bill of Rights is the absolute law it was intended to be. Then, we can settle down to a peaceful life with prosperity and equal rights.
“The US Department of Justice is investigating the two FBI agents for perjury.”
“All six shots fired by the Oregon State Police, the three into the truck and the three that struck Mr. Finicum, are justified,” said Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris. The shots were “in fact, necessary,” he said.”
That rope going around your treasonous neck will be “in fact, necessary”.