Today marks the third anniversary of Lavoy Finnicum’s tragic death at the hands of law enforcement personnel. Lavoy who was a “spokesman” for the people occupying the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, was stopped at approximately 4:30 p.m. on January 26th 2016. According to the FBI, Lavoy took off from the initial stop and failed to stop for pursuing vehicles, then drove off the road prior to a roadblock where an Oregon State Trooper admitted to firing three times at Lavoy’s oncoming truck. Once the truck stopped and Lavoy exited the vehicle, two officers said they saw him reach into his coat where they had been told he carried a pistol. They each said they felt the need to use lethal force and fired, one with a pistol and one with a rifle. FBI Agent Astarita has already been acquitted of all charges concerning his lying about firing two rounds, he stated he never fired, yet one round hit the roof of the truck, and one round missed the vehicle all together. There has been no one held to account for those two rounds, and as to when and why they were actually fired. According to Oregon law enforcement training doctrine, roadblocks should never be used, “as they give the pursued person little choice.” Oregon seems to fail to cooperate with the federal enforcement during times when a Republican President is in power, when Lavoy was shot, President Obama was in power and we had a Democratic Governor, our state police cooperated with federal law enforcement, even as far as going directly against their own training doctrine. The Oregon State Police should remain true to Oregon and not to partisan politics, unfortunately the Superintendent of the Oregon State Police is appointed by the Governor and as such could be beholding. Lavoy was speaking out against the ever increasing federalization of public lands, the ever increasing presence and control of public lands by the federal government, and according to his family, he was killed for it. So whichever side of the fence you fall on this issue, one thing is for sure, is that this tragedy and will likely shape events in Oregon for many years to come.
Written by Marie