This week, Arizona State Representative Bob Thorpe spearheaded an effort in which Oregon Governor Kate Brown and U.S. Representative Greg Walden were called on to “ensure a full, complete and transparent investigation into the shooting death of Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum. Thorpe’s letter to Brown and Walden was co-signed by 12 fellow legislators.
As noted in Thorpe’s letter, both Governor Brown and Rep. Walden “have expressed concerns about the actions of officials concerning the traffic stop and shooting death of our unarmed Arizona rancher, Mr. LaVoy Finicum.”
The letter asks for an investigation into “how United States citizens, who merely exercise their Constitutional 1st Amendment rights of free speech and to peaceably assemble, are treated now and in the future.”
Finicum was shot in the back 3 times and killed during a January 26 traffic stop while authorities were trying to arrest the rancher and others involved in the occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge.
Finicum’s wife, Jeanette, questioned the government’s handling of the case and findings of an investigation into the shooting. She questioned the “selective evidence.” She also rejected the claim by the FBI that said Finicum “was shot after reaching for a gun…” “The FBI’s aerial video was of poor quality, edited and provided no audio,” stated the widow. “Our family asserts that he was shot with both hands up, he was not reaching for anything at the time of the first shot. He was walking with his hands in the air, a symbol of surrender. When he reached down to his left hip he was reacting to the pain of having been shot.”
The letter reads:
Dear Governor Brown and Representative Greg Walden:
Recently, it was reported in the media that both of you have expressed concerns about the actions of officials concerning the traffic stop and shooting death of our unarmed Arizona rancher, Mr. LaVoy Finicum.
Governor Brown, you released a statement in which you called into question the actions of federal agents, and described the report as “troubling, and properly the subject of an ongoing investigation.” Representative Walden, you stated that you were left “bewildered by the role of the FBI agents.”
As representatives of the citizens and State of Arizona, we share your concerns and urge you to ensure a full, complete and transparent investigation into how United States citizens, who merely exercise their Constitutional 1st Amendment rights of free speech and to peaceably assemble, are treated now and in the future.
After gunning-down and killing the unarmed Finicum, the federal government now has the audacity to label Finicum, and the citizens who peacefully assembled along with him, as domestic terrorists. In a recent radio interview in Tucson, Arizona, Finicum’s daughter Tierra described her father as follows:
“The kind of narrative that is going through our country is that he [Finicum] was domestic terrorist, gun slinging and violent man. That is not my dad.. He is a principled man. He is a gentle and diligent person. I often think of Steven R. Covey; not because they were both bald but because they lived by true principles. ‘Early to bed, early to rise.’ He studied great works of literature. He studied the scriptures, words of God and he wanted to be on the right side of God at all times. He was my dad. I’m sure lots of girls would say that their dad was the best man they know, but that is my dad, and I want to be just like him.”
Many Arizonans knew, morn and miss LaVoy Finicum, and I am confident that he was not under any circumstances a terrorist. According to the people who knew him, Finicum was incapable of spreading fear and harming America, which is the very definition of a domestic terrorist. In fact, by all accounts Finicum was someone who only intended to spread an understanding of the needs of the people living within the west, and to point out how the western states, that have hundreds of millions of acres of untaxed federally-controlled land within their boundaries, have not been treated equally in comparison to eastern states.
Our nation was founded by men who not only questioned the arbitrary and capricious actions of unreasonable authority, but who also stood up against that authority, and in so doing, forged a Constitutional Republic. Finicum’s actions are insignificant in comparison to those of Adams, Madison, Jefferson and Washington. If our nation’s founders lived today, would they be vilified and labeled as domestic terrorists, merely for political reasons?
The people of the State of Arizona cannot allow the demonization of patriotic Americans, from all walks of life, simply because they question authority. We call upon the State of Oregon and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to uphold their legal responsibility to fully and transparently investigate this tragedy, and to vindicate those who have been wrongly accused.
Arizona State Representative Bob Thorpe
Cc: Director of the FBI