Federal Bureau of Investigation agent lied about firing weapon during Finicum arrest attempt
Jun 30, 2017, 00:43
A federal grand jury charged an FBI agent with obstructing justice, claiming he lied to cover up the shots he fired at a truck driven by a spokesman for the Malheur Wildlife Refuge occupiers, just before Robert "LaVoy" Finicum was gunned down by OR state police.
He said nothing during a brief court hearing and was released on his own recognizance, declining to comment as he left.
An investigation into the shooting that happened last March found the fatal shots fired by Oregon State Police troopers were justified.
As local, county and federal authorities moved in on the occupiers, the Deschutes County sheriff said an FBI agent shot twice at the spokesman of the occupiers, Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, a 54-year-old Arizona ranger. He and others had taken over a vacant building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in a protest against federal lands policy.
An FBI agent has been charged with lying when he told investigators he did not fire his weapon at a protester killed by police during a 2016 standoff at a federal wildlife refuge in OR, according to court documents unsealed on Wednesday.
"The actions of the FBI HRT team in this case damage the integrity of the entire law enforcement profession, which makes me both disappointed and angry", Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson, whose department probed Finicum's shooting, said, according to the Associated Press. Also in the Jeep were Bundy's bodyguard, Brian D. Cavalier of Bunkerville, Nevada; and the driver, Mark C. McConnell of Buckeye, Arizona. It's unclear the other four Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on Astarita's HRT unit will face sanctions. Finicum's family members have accused law enforcement of covering up the circumstances surrounding his death. The FBI said Finicum was shot after he tried to elude police and reached for a gun.
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At a federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon Wednesday W. Joseph Astarita, a member of the FBI's hostage response team pled not guilty to three counts of making false statements and two counts of obstruction of justice, charges stemming from the 2016 shooting death of Lavoy Finicum during the armed occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
Authorities moved in on Ammon Bundy and others as they were driving from the refuge to a meeting January 26, 2016. Three bullets hit the truck, but no one was injured.
"I'm encouraged. I'm thrilled that the grand jury came back with this finding, " Finicum's widow Jeannette Finicum reportedly said.
Finicum then sped off, coming to a roadblock and plowing into a snowbank. Some FBI officials had also mentioned those same incidents, saying that with memories of those bloody episodes in mind, they deliberately allowed the OR occupation to continue for weeks. As he yelled at officers to shoot him, drone footage from above captured Finicum appearing to gesture toward his coat before he was killed.
"I think they were trying to kill everybody in the truck", he said Wednesday.
Temer is likely to be accused this week and face charges of official misconduct, criminal organization and obstruction of justice. As a sitting president, only the Supreme Federal Tribunal, the country's highest court, can try or jail Temer .
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