FBI releases video of shooting death of Oregon protester

Aerial video released by the FBI January 28, 2016 shows a law enforcement officer (L) pointing a weapon at a man who had just stepped out of the white pickup truck at a police roadblock January 26 near Burns, Oregon. © FBI
The FBI has released a video from the Tuesday traffic stop that led to the shooting death of one of the armed protesters who had been occupying the headquarters of a federal wildlife preserve in Oregon.

The video is intended to counteract some of the contradictory accounts of what happened and give an unfiltered view of the incident, which ended with the death of rancher LaVoy Finicum.

Some accounts have argued that Finicum was surrendering to police with his hands up before he was shot, while another stated he was on his knees. Law enforcement has claimed he was refusing to surrender.

The FBI said the video was shot from overhead by a plane following the protesters’ vehicles – a white truck in front, and a jeep in back. Authorities said the operation lasted more than 25 minutes, but the edited eight-minute video shows the most pertinent moments.

An unedited video showcasing the entire event was also released online.

The FBI said viewing the video will be upsetting to some people, but “we feel that it is necessary to show the whole thing unedited in the interest of transparency.”

The footage picks up a few seconds before the FBI and Oregon State Police vehicles pull in behind the jeep, the second vehicle in line. The jeep quickly pulls to a stop while the white truck, driven by LaVoy Finicum, continues some distance up the road. Some law enforcement vehicles stay with the jeep while others continue following the white truck.

Out of view of the camera, the following people exit the jeep without incident: the driver, who was not named or charged; Ammon Bundy, the leader of the group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge building; and protester Brian Cavalier.

About four minutes into the video, Ryan Payne exits through a back door of the white truck. In the lower right hand corner of the video, he can be seen with his hands up, being approached by law enforcement officers, and being taken into custody, the FBI said.

For over three minutes, the white truck sits on the road. The FBI edited the time in the excerpted version, but said agents and troopers were telling the occupants to surrender.

The white truck is then seen leaving the scene at a high rate of speed. It travels some distance, quickly approaching a law enforcement blockade on the roadway.

“As the white truck approaches the roadblock, there is a spike strip across the road, but it appears Finicum missed it as he attempted to drive around the roadblock,” said the FBI. “He nearly hits an FBI agent as he maneuvers to the left. The truck gets stuck in the snowbank.”

At this point, Finicum is seen leaving the truck and stepping through the snow. Agents and troopers were told that Finicum and others would be armed, the FBI said.

On at least two occasions, Finicum reached toward the inner left pocket of his jacket with his right hand. “Finicum did have a loaded 9 mm semi-automatic handgun in that pocket,” the FBI stated

Then Oregon State Police troopers shot Finicum.

The FBI said approximately 30 seconds after the shooting, law enforcement officers deployed flash bangs to disorient any other armed occupants. They then fired sponge projectiles with OC capsules (similar to pepper spray). Agents and troopers arrested the remaining truck occupants and took them into custody over several minutes. Those arrested included Ryan Bundy, Shawna Cox, and another woman who was not arrested and is not named.