On Tuesday, investigators released their findings regarding the fatal Jan. 26 police shooting of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupier LaVoy Finicum.LaVoy, 54, quickly became the voice of the protestors during the occupation, giving mainstream media interviews and statements live from the refuge. According to an autopsy released on Tuesday, he was hit in the back by three rounds fired by two Oregon State Troopers, one piercing his heart.
FBI agent is suspected of lying about firing twice at Robert "LaVoy" Finicum and may have gotten help from four other FBI agents in covering up afterward, authorities revealed Tuesday.
The bullets didn't hit Finicum and didn't contribute to his death, but now all five unnamed agents, part of an elite national unit, are under criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. Inspector General Michael Horowitz is leading the independent inquiry.
On the day of the shooting, Lavoy, Ammon Bundy and several other occupiers with the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom were traveling to the city of John Day for a community meeting set up by local residents.
They were pulled over on U.S. Highway 395 by the Oregon State Police and the FBI. Officials said at the time that in an attempt to minimize violence, they had been waiting for an opportunity to arrest the group’s leadership away from the refuge.
Officials said Tuesday that prosecutors deemed the shooting “justified and necessary,” and claimed that LaVoy kept moving his hands towards his pocket which contained a loaded 9mm handgun.
The Citizens for Constitutional Freedom have steadily maintained that Lavoy was unarmed during his death and have called the shooting a “cold-blooded assassination,” and the FBI “liars.” They said that, “LaVoy’s guns were left at the compound” evidenced by the fact that his personal pistol can be seen in videos from the refuge after he was killed.
In new footage released on Tuesday, which syncs up cellphone video recorded from inside the vehicle during the shooting with aerial FBI footage that had already released, Lavoy is heard shouting, “just shoot me,” to the cops before he is killed.
This gives credence to claims made by one of the passengers that he “got out to try to keep the attention focused on him so that they would not shoot at the women in the vehicle.”
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