General Question

ibstubro's avatar

In this, the age of police body cams, is this video footage of the FBI shooting Oregon militant LaVoy Finicum to death really the best that they can do [Video link]?

Asked by ibstubro (18765points) January 29th, 2016

FBI releases video of shooting death of Oregon militant LaVoy Finicum.

It’s like a conspiracy theory video waiting to happen

I find it shocking and ludicrous that there isn’t actual, on the scene, high resolution video available.
Are they telling us that this is the best that the FBI of the United States Government is capable of?

The same government that claims proficiency at “surgical drone strikes” killing foreign nationals overseas?

No one thought to bring a cell phone?

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35 Answers

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Well, watching that was depressing. The video quality was just good enough to make your question a moot point.

LuckyGuy's avatar

There must be better info. Certainly they would have been on high alert and expecting him to be armed. He certainly was not standing still with is arms up, when they shot him.

Even from the crappy POV helicopter video it looks like he put his hands down and his right arm was going toward his left waist band or left side – a common location for concealed weapons.
Was he armed? Was he wearing a cross draw holster?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

While this obviously was not handled well I can’t believe how the media reported it. It’s like they are inciting people to get mad and head out there. The suv clearly tried to charge past the road block. Lavoy clearly lowered his hands. He was clearly shot from behind by the person hiding in the treeline.

Cruiser's avatar

@LuckyGuy I saw what you saw and to me it did look like he was reaching to draw. I would be surprised that they were unarmed as in previous media interviews they all were wearing sidearms and many had rifles as well.

What seems suspicious is the camera view was wide and at the very moment it zooms in, it seems as though the zoom was timed to conceal from view the movement of the other officer who seemingly comes out of nowhere and fires the fatal shot. Almost seems he was laying in wait for this traffic stop moment.

Plus I think these militia men were anticipating a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid shootout with the Federales and LaVoy probably thought well now is a good time as ever.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Cruiser I figure the camera guy thought the moving action was over. He used the wide angle when they were chasing the SUV and still they went out of the frame. After the SUV was stopped and the guy got out, they could afford to zoom in a little to see the action better.

The police (and TV viewers) already know these guys were armed and dangerous. They know how to carry weapons and shoot. They speak English. And they know if a cop says “Freeze! Put your hands up!” You put your hands the f*** up and stand still!!! You don’t reach down into your coat for a hankie – even if your nose is running.
From where I sit, and admittedly I know nothing, that looked like an attempted cross draw move. If I were a police officer I might have shot him too.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

LaVoy’s own words: Asked if he would rather be killed than be arrested — were the occupation to turn violent — 54-year-old occupier LaVoy Finicum, said: “Absolutely… I have no intention of spending any of my days in a concrete box.”

“There are things more important than your life and freedom is one of them,” he said. “I’m prepared to defend freedom.”

This doesn’t answer your question obviously, but the authorities knew this man was dangerous.

Darth_Algar's avatar

As I understand it wasn’t the FBI, it was the Oregon State Police involved in the actual shooting, but I may be misinformed.

Regardless, body cams and the like are far from a universal thing.

elbanditoroso's avatar

You have an armed terrorist group taking over a US government installation.

Anyone (army, National Guard, Oregon Highway Patrol, DEA, ATF) would make the assumption that the terrorists had lethal force and were prepared to use it.

It would have been dereliction of duty to NOT take the threat seriously.

Look, these idiots in Oregon had no clue what they were doing. They got themselves hepped up on beer and Twinkies, following some clueless leader who had no strategy.

Frankly, put them all in jail and let them rot. We don’t need domestic terrorists.

jaytkay's avatar

I do hope there is better video. Maybe they had cameras pointed at the road and didn’t expect action on their sides.

Regardless, Finicum fulfilled his dream. He announced weeks ago he wanted to be gunned down if they tried to arrest him.

I think he couldn’t face life after his federally-funded $100K/year foster parent scheme was ended. He was a welfare queen with no prospects for a legitimate career.

For another peek into what he wanted, here’s an excerpt from his book, a right-wing masturbatory fantasy about government-hating militants fighting the evil, evil Federal agents.

My right wrist flicked and with a blur, my hands palmed the rosewood grips of my 44–40. In a flash, the old pistol cleared the leather holster with the hammer eared back. By reflex, I pulled the trigger, the hammer fell, the gun bucked in my hand. The bullet took [DHS agent] Zackary Williams between the eyes.

Reflex, speed, and muscle memory. Zackary was still standing when my second bullet struck the agent to his right. It entered below the right eye.

The agent on the left was barely raising his rifle when my third bullet clipped his chin and smashed through his throat.

I stood there in the sandy, wash holding on to the root of the ancient tree. The bodies of my enemies lay before me, not a twitch coming from them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

He looked like he was drawing to me, too. He was trying to run and evade. They got themselves tagged with the label “Armed and dangerous.” It made them feel macho. He was an idiot.

kritiper's avatar

Probably the best view, in the heat of battle. Hard to get a good camera shot when you’re trying to stay out of the line of fire.

johnpowell's avatar

This is a interesting listen.

From it it sounds like the lower people in the organization were told to watch the gate while everyone else bailed and now they are are scared and stuck.

But he did say that he will not be arrested and will die first.

Time for a bullhorn telling them to get on the ground and not move and any movement will result in them being hit by snipers.

jaytkay's avatar

it it sounds like the lower people in the organization were told to watch the gate while everyone else bailed

People leaving the compound was not unusual. They were free to come and go. Ammon Bundy was in town last week

Wednesday Jan 20 – The leader of an armed group who took over a national wildlife refuge in southeastern Oregon weeks ago joined hundreds of area residents at a tense community meeting

johnpowell's avatar

No. It sounds like it was much later after the shooting later in the night and possibly the next day.

People struck a deal with the FBI and left once they realized that they could actually die.

Listen to the interview. I’m not making it up. The dude says that others made a deal and he didn’t get the same phone call and is pissed.

jaytkay's avatar

People struck a deal with the FBI

People “struck a deal” and left like somewhat rational human beings. Some were arrested.

The holdouts can walk away, too. Nobody is stopping them.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Considering the entire reason they decided to release the video was to calm the brewing storm, I also think it was a bad idea. It’s too far away and doesn’t appear conclusive enough – regardless of what I or any of us personally feel. When you think about it from these kind of people’s perspectives, I think it won’t do anything but piss them off more. What would have completely shut them up (those who were stirring things up because they were saying Finicum surrendered and was shot anyway) is body cam or dash cam footage where it absolutely couldn’t be denied that Finicum most likely was reaching to draw. But because of the kind of mentality that those people have, I honestly think that releasing this specific video will only add fuel to the fire.

On a side note, does anyone know what happens to everyone from out of state? As far as I know, most of them aren’t from here. Do they face jail time here then, or in their own states?

jaytkay's avatar

Federal prosecutors charged them with breaking US law. They will be tried in federal court and if convicted and sentenced to prison, they go to a federal prison, which could be anywhere in the US.

If Oregon prosecuted and convicted them of breaking Oregon law, they would go to an Oregon prison.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Follow up info from USA Today. ” According to Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge of the FBI field office in Portland. “Agents and troopers on scene had information that Finicum and others would be armed. On at least two occasions, Finicum reaches his right hand toward a pocket on the left inside portion of his jacket. He did have a loaded 9mm semi-automatic handgun in that pocket. At this time, OSP troopers shot Finicum”

The FBI said agents and troopers found three other loaded weapons inside the truck: two .223claiber semi-automatic rifles and a .38 special revolver.”

Cruiser's avatar

I am calling bullshit @johnpowell…there is no way these stalwart Militiamen struck a deal with the FBI…your account sounds more like a John Clancey novel to me!~

ibstubro's avatar

“Agents and troopers on scene had information that Finicum and others would be armed.”

Wouldn’t it have been prudent for agents and troopers on scene to have some kind of digital video recording devices available?

jca's avatar

Maybe they did have recording devices available, @ibstubro, but the higher ups have chosen to not yet release those videos to the public.

ibstubro's avatar

Exactly, @jca. Even worse.

Weeks, months or years from now there comes out that there was additional footage that the authorities had to give “full analysis” [conspiracy theorist read: doctoring] before it could be released.

IMO this is a lose-lose situation for the federal government unless they can provide unequivocal evidence that they killed a civilian because they had no recourse.

They had the means and forewarning.
From the people that claim they can take out a single militant in a village in Pakistan with no collateral damage, through the use of a drone.

jca's avatar

@ibstubro: But while investigations are ongoing, it’s typical that law enforcement does not comment or release evidence to the public.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@ibstubro “IMO this is a lose-lose situation for the federal government unless they can provide unequivocal evidence that they killed a civilian because they had no recourse.

They did. The problem is that there are people who’s minds will be set ether way. No amount of additional evidence is going to sway such people no matter what.

Dutchess_III's avatar

There was no question that they were armed. If they weren’t armed, they were utterly stupid to brag that they were armed, armed to the teeth no less, and they’d rather die than give up. They made that bed, not us. They brought it to pass.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

Some conservative friends of mine are sayings this was all a conspiracy. It was staged and LaVoy is actually alive.

People are going to believe what they want even when the evidence proves otherwise.

ibstubro's avatar

You didn’t even understand that the FBI released the video when you joined the discussion @Darth_Algar.
@ARE_you_kidding_me, @LuckyGuy, @Cruiser, @jaytkay, @Dutchess_III & @DrasticDreamer all found room for discussion of the video, @Darth_Algar.
You have an odd definition of unequivocal evidence.

I find it odd that the FBI would release video and it not be the best available, @jca. Especially given the police video cover-ups in Chicago.

I agree there was no question the militants were armed, @Dutchess_III. All the more reason for documentation.

I know the fringe will never be convinced, @dammitjanetfromvegas [I hear the same BS you do], but even here on Fluther a number of reasoning and reasonable people have questioned the quality and effectiveness of the video presented.

Cruiser's avatar

Watch and listen to this lady give her analysis of what she thinks actually happened then this video which is slowed down with the clearest footage I have seen and seems to make the first videos suggestions seem plausible.

In the first video posted in the question here it looked as though LaVoy was stumbling in the snow when it now would seem he was actually getting shot many times so what looked like him reaching for a weapon could actually been him covering a wound. Still not conclusive what actually happened.

Darth_Algar's avatar


Explain how I didn’t understand that the FBI didn’t release the video.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have a question for each of you…have you ever been stopped by the police, and what was your reaction? Did you sit quietly in your car and wait to see what they had to say, or did you jump OUT of your car?

jca's avatar

I’ve been stopped many times and I always always always sit quietly. I never jump out of my car. If I did, I’d probably be tackled.

Darth_Algar's avatar


So may I presume by your silence in regards to my previous post that you don’t have an answer, and were simply trying to stir up shit?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Exactly @jca. Exactly. You just wait. If you jump out you’d be tackled. If the police knew you were armed, you’d probably be shot.

ibstubro's avatar

Bundy told his wife that he watched police shoot Finicum three times. She said that Ammon Bundy also said Finicum was on the ground when he was shot.

Typical of the misinformation law enforcement should have expected.
It makes no difference if the source I cited is dodgy, because I heard the exact same report (shot 3 times while he was on the ground) on NPR the day of the shooting.

Hysteria at best, malicious misinformation at worst. In any case, law enforcement should have anticipated controversy after Waco and Ruby Ridge and taken extraordinary measures (video documentation) to forestall it.

In any case, the conspiracy theories seem to be out of the mainstream for now?

Good point about leaving your vehicle, @Dutchess_III, especially following a chase.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Bundy can say whatever he wants. The video clearly shows otherwise.

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