The family of an anti-government protester who was killed by law enforcement agents near an occupied US wildlife refuge in Oregon said on Friday that it seems his death was unjustified and that he was shot in the back while posing no threat.
The relatives of Robert LaVoy Finicum said they were not accepting at face value the FBI’s statement that the 54-year-old rancher from Arizona had been armed when he was fatally shot after fleeing from a traffic stop on Tuesday.
‘LaVoy was not “charging’ anyone”. He appears to have been shot in the back, with his hands in the air,’ Finicum’s family said in a statement via their attorney. ‘At this point we will await the outcome of any investigation, but based on the information currently available to us, we do not believe that LaVoy’s shooting death was justified.’
The family’s comments come as a federal judge denied bond for Ammon Bundy and other members of the group that occupied the refuge who were arrested following the shooting of Finicum.
Eleven people have been arrested – ten in Oregon and one in Arizona – but no one has left jail, according to CNN.
Prosecutors said in a Portland courtroom on Friday that the defendants were a flight risk and a threat to the community because the supported armed resistance to the federal government.
‘By its very nature, this offense demonstrates a remarkable inability on the part of all charged defendants to follow the law and thus comply with the terms of court-ordered supervision,” the government’s memorandum in support of pretrial detention said.
Ammon Bundy explained in court why he and the others took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Oregon earlier this month.
‘I do love this country very, very much,’ he said, according to KPTV. ‘I love the people in it. And my only goal from the beginning was to protect freedom for the people.’
But the judge denied bond to Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Ryan Payne, Dylan Anderson and Jason Patrick, Oregon Public Radio reported.
She granted bond to Joseph O’Shaughnessy and Shawna Cox, but prosecutors have appealed. No hearings have been held for Pete Santilli, Brian Cavalier and Duane Ehmer, the station said.
In a video released on Thursday, the FBI claims that Finicum can be seen reaching for his weapon before he was shot dead on Tuesday.
Finicum was killed after he and eight other members of the three-week stand-off in Burns, Oregon, were stopped by traffic cops as they headed to a meeting in a neighboring town.
The unedited video, released by the government agency on Thursday, shows a white car speeding down a highway then veering into the snow to avoid three cars engaged in a traffic stop.
Nine minutes into the video, a man, who is said to be Finicum, clambers out of the white car and stumbles through the snow with his arms in the air, surrounded by FBI agents who are pointing guns at him.
Read more: Daily Mail