Balloon Juice Bunker Standoff: The Investigation into the Shooting of LaVoy Finicum Has Concluded

Earlier today at a press conference in Oregon, the Deschutes County Sheriff briefed the results of his office’s Major Incident Team’s investigation into the shooting of LaVoy Finicum by Oregon State Police on 26 January 2016. The investigation determined that the shooting of Mr. Finicum was justified and that he was shot three times. Much of the new information and evidence presented today came from video that Shawna Cox took from inside Mr. Finicum’s truck, information that contradicts statements that she and the other passenger’s in the truck have been making since Mr. Finicum was shot.

What is strange is that the forensic investigation determined that, despite their statements to the contrary, one member of the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) fired two shots at Mr. Finicum’s vehicle, one of which lodged in the truck’s roof. The five HRT members on site in Oregon on 26 January are now being reinterviewed and a determination will be made by Federal authorities as to what charges, if any, will be brought against them for giving false and/or inaccurate statements made by the HRT members during the investigation.

Below is the video of today’s press conference in its entirety (h/t: RawStory). This includes the previously released FBI aerial surveillance video of the events of 26 January with Ms. Cox’s video overlaid on the FBI’s surveillance video. On the video you can clearly hear Mr. Finicum threatening law enforcement and making threatening statements about what would happen if they didn’t stand down.


77 replies
  1. 1
    Germy says:

    Anyone notice the lady in the back seat egging him on, telling him “gun it!” as he speeds up towards the roadblock?

  2. 2
    TriassicSands says:

    I have no love for any of the morons who took over the Malheur facility. Finicum and his cronies set the stage for violence and reaped the rewards of their own efforts. That said, it is almost always possible to “justify” law enforcement shootings. The question should not be was a shooting “justified,” but was it necessary.

  3. 3
    George Hayduke says:

    Because Fincum and his group are a bunch of assholes, I’m going to treat this like an open thread.

    Went from running 3.5-5 miles daily on the treadmill to running 6 miles on the track every day (with long runs working up from six on Sunday) I’ve been doing that for a month or so. Knocked out two ten-milers last weekend. I’ve lost four pounds. Under 180 for the first time since I was just out of high school. Not that weight is much of a measure, but I feel great. Goal is a sub 4 hour marathon this summer.

  4. 4
    japa21 says:

    The audio is the real damning part which elevates it from justified to necessary, IMO.

  5. 5
    patrick II says:

    The fact that law enforcement officers — especially those from a high level special FBI unit in a high priority national arrest — are still lying about the circumstances of an arrest and shots fired amazes me. Police have to know by now that there may be someone shooting a video, and definitely know that there is a helicopter shooting video overhead. Not to mention that it was inevitable that CSI would eventually find the spent bullets in the truck.

  6. 6

    @George Hayduke: I’m awed by anyone who can run a marathon, or wants to for that matter. You do know that the race originated in a guy dying after running that distance, right?

  7. 7
    BGinCHI says:

    This reminds me of all the examples in the news where the cops were using great restraint and a young black man gunned his car at them at a high rate of speed before being begged to surrender, then reaching for a weapon before being shot to death.

    Examples in the following links:

  8. 8
    Pogonip says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: His last words were “My feet hurt!”. Sadly, since all around him spoke Greek, no one understood.i

  9. 9
    Mike J says:

    I found it interesting that when they finally did shoot, two cops fired a total of three rounds between them. So very different from the stories where the cops fire 41 shots because they’re panicked by an unarmed man.

  10. 10
    Anoniminous says:

    Just goes to show Right Wing Christian extremist nutburgers who threaten violence against armed FBI and other police agencies at a police roadblock during an active police operation to arrest people violating Federal Laws are being unfairly targeted.


  11. 11
    scav says:

    @patrick II: I’m pretty struck with that as well — and for such seemingly low stakes because the general situation seemed really obvious. I’m not liking the vibe of habitual and lazy tidying up of reality for reports. So, over all, pleased that they’re being yanked up about it, even on a high-visibility, volatile. case

  12. 12
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @patrick II: ?

  13. 13
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Germy: Yes. That’s Shawna Cox. Who started issuing statements soon after the shooting that Finicum was surrendering, wasn’t threatening anyone, etc.

  14. 14
    Doug R says:

    He reached twice which is 2X the chance anyone else gets.

  15. 15
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @srv: Well played!

  16. 16
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @scav: The FBI is most likely very sensitive to this stuff given what happened at Ruby Ridge. From Les Zaitz’s reporting, linked to in the post, it looks like this entire five person team is now under investigation, not just the guy that fired two rounds and then said he didn’t fire at all.

  17. 17
    Jewish Steel says:

    Seriously, fuck all of these sov cits. I’ve got no pity for any of the freeloading bums. But why use deadly force? Why not bear spray the living hell out of them? Isn’t there some kind of net-cannon you can blast them with? Bring them to justice and let them rot for the rest of their lives.

  18. 18
    rawhide rawlins says:

    If LEO says, “put your hands up”, you better put your hands up. You might not get shot, at least if you are white.

  19. 19
    Mnemosyne says:

    Adam, completely OT, but may I email you later with a question about Scottish history and the Jacobites, or is that totally outside your area of expertise? This is for my novel, so I don’t want to get into it here.

  20. 20
    Mnemosyne says:


    The habitual and lazy tidying up for reports by the LAPD is exactly what got OJ Simpson acquitted. They were so used to getting suspects to confess that they didn’t bother maintaining the chain of evidence and a bunch of other basic procedures.

  21. 21
    🌷 Martin says:

    @patrick II:

    Police have to know by now that there may be someone shooting a video, and definitely know that there is a helicopter shooting video overhead. Not to mention that it was inevitable that CSI would eventually find the spent bullets in the truck.

    The overreliance on eyewitness testimony really works in favor of police wrongdoers.

    Also don’t overlook the fact that these coverups get concocted within minutes of an event happening, before they’ve really had time to think through the consequences of phone video, etc. I suspect younger officers that would assume right out of the gate that they were recorded would be less inclined to think they could get away with such a thing.

  22. 22
    LAO says:

    Thank you, Adam. PS did you the Santilli detention memo? It’s hardcore, federal overkill. Now, I’ll go read you post.

  23. 23
    Cacti says:

    @patrick II:

    The fact that law enforcement officers — especially those from a high level special FBI unit in a high priority national arrest — are still lying about the circumstances of an arrest and shots fired amazes me. Police have to know by now that there may be someone shooting a video, and definitely know that there is a helicopter shooting video overhead. Not to mention that it was inevitable that CSI would eventually find the spent bullets in the truck.

    It’s baked into US law enforcement culture, from local PDs up to the FBI. If a brother cop violated the law/department regulations/etc. you lie for them. If you don’t lie for them, you’re marked as a trouble maker by fellow cops who will look to ruin your career going forward..

  24. 24
  25. 25
    Mike J says:

    @Jewish Steel: There was a guy with a taser approaching him from behind, but Finicum reached for his gun before he was within range.

  26. 26
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @LAO: Aw yeah–getting our fix!

  27. 27
    Jewish Steel says:

    @efgoldman: Time for law enforcement to boldly go!

  28. 28
    LAO says:

    Going to repeat my comment from an earlier thread, it is not surprising to anyone in the criminal justice system that agents lie. And then other agents back them up. There is little to no consequence for their behavior. If I lied to an agent, I could be charged with violating 18 usc 1001 (think Martha Stewart). I doubt that will happen here. Maybe a note in their personnel file.

    But what really irritates me, is that these fucking idiot agents have given the right wing conspiracy fuckwats something legitimate to bitch about. Not that they wouldn’t have made something up but come on be smarter than that.

  29. 29
    LAO says:

    @Steve in the ATL: feels good, doesn’t it?

  30. 30
    dr. bloor says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’m sure she still believes that the audio/video completely exonerates Finicum. She’s totally around the bend.

  31. 31
    trollhattan says:

    @Bobby Thomson:
    Truly a typo for the ages. (p.s. try to close the link tag whilst you can still edit).
    High Country News has published their latest summary of the latest charges against Bundy & Co.

  32. 32
    LAO says:

    @🌷 Martin: the federal government was doing the videotaping. No excuse, just knee jerk stupidity on behalf of the agents.

  33. 33
    Morat20 says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    I literally can’t figure out how you can run a marathon. It’s like there’s some sort of conditioning my body refuses to do. I’m apparently built to jog in 1/8 mile increments. :)

  34. 34
    Chyron HR says:

    Conclusion: “Generalissimo LaVoy Finicum is still dead.”

  35. 35
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Mike J: Really? Well bummer for him, I guess. It’s a shame to make a martyr for their bonehead movement.

  36. 36
    Anya says:

    It should be always expected that law enforcement officers will always lie on the record. It’s not even shocking at this point.

  37. 37
    Steve in the ATL says:

    BTW can we stop referring to Cliven Bundy as a “rancher”? Much like we stopped referring to W’s country estate as a “ranch.” Bundy was a melon farmer and wild cow hunter.

  38. 38
    Anya says:

    @LAO: I’s scary when you consider how much the criminal-justice system relies on the testimonies of these lying law enforcement officers, and their reports.

  39. 39
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Anya: With the caveat that LAO is a criminal defense attorney and may possibly have a slightly biased viewpoint on this subject, it is quite scary.

  40. 40
    LAO says:

    @Anya: if you ever want a good laugh (it’s not funny) you should watch a federal prosecution that relies on the testimony of local cops. (Where I practice it’s the NYPD). Everyone in the court room, the ausas, judge and defense counsel knows the cop is testilying. Nobody but the defense cares. Sometimes, jury’s care. It’s horrible.

  41. 41
    LAO says:

    @Steve in the ATL: hey now. . . Ok., yeah totally biased.

    ETA: my brother’s a federal agent. He would never lie. Right?

  42. 42
    Weaselone says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it’s possible that the agents and even the girl who claimed 41 shots are all telling the truth. It might actually be how they honestly experienced or remember the event. Eye witness testimony is notoriously unreliable, especially in high stress situations. That’s why video is essential in cases like these and should be mandatory for law enforcement.

  43. 43
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Weaselone: Shit, we had video in the Tamir Rice case and the cop still walked!

  44. 44

    @Iowa Old Lady:

    You do know that the race originated in a guy dying after running that distance, right?

    That’s the story, but it looks as if that’s a later distortion. The closest history in time to the events (Herodotus) doesn’t mention anything about a messenger running back from the battle of Marathon to report victory and then dying. He does mention a messenger, Pheidippides, running from Athens to Sparta in about a day to request assistance against the Persians and then returning with the message that the Spartans couldn’t come immediately. The run from Athens to Sparta is possible but epic; there’s a modern race between the two, with a record time of under 24 hours.

  45. 45
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    Adam, thank you for the fix. I’ve missed all the news in real time as I had a sentencing that was disappointing to our client and I got the short straw of calling her husband to come get her car keys and car and phone. Thus I’m just back to the internet world. My co counsel is taking me to lunch Friday at a mutual friend’s restaurant as the reward for family duty.

    Shawna Cox is demonstrably the nut job we suspected she was, and I predict she’ll fck up pretrial detention. I haven’t read the Santilli memo yet. I’m disappointed that for all the FBI’s patience in playing the long game and arranging the arrest, they manage to fck it up and give the defendants’ supporters a talking point. My faith in the feds is shattered, I tell you.

  46. 46
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): The gang’s all here!

    And that is one of the reasons I avoided criminal law…and family law

  47. 47
    scav says:

    @Adam L Silverman: FBI seems to be — meaning the organization — some of their agents didn’t seem to be bothering much, even in contexts where their self-protecting alarms should be going off (high-visibility case being recorded). So again, pleased with the chock-chain, especially if internally applied.

  48. 48

    Frankly, my only problem with the outcome of this sad little affray is that the government didn’t shoot every last one of them.

    Oh well, the thought of the look on Cliven’s face as they yanked him out of the line at Portland airport and arrested his criminal, seditious ass will just have to suffice.

  49. 49
    coin operated says:

    Got a buddy who runs a FB page dedicated to this, and he’s clinging to the FBI investigation as proof that Ol’ LeRoy was murdered in cold blood. Nevermind the fact that the remainder of the video evidence backs up police accounts.

    I don’t comment there…they’re too deep in denial to even bother.

  50. 50
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I found their wording interesting regarding the HRT officer(s): they “failed to disclose” that they fired shots during the Oregon State Police investigation. Is that a legalistic parsing of something we don’t yet know about the situation? I wonder if they literally had a bit of a turf war going on there during the standoff, and decided if they were not asked directly if they had fired their guns they didn’t have to say anything?

    Was the HRT on orders not to use lethal force? I doubt it. Why do you think they failed to mention they did? The shots clearly were justifiable, both from Oregon State Troopers and the FBI.

    Just seems like an completely unnecessary thing to do-withhold or lie about shooting.

    All in all, I’m incredibly impressed with the patience, restraint and professionalism of law enforcement in this situation. They absolutely did the right thing here, and as sad and pointless and stupid LaVoy’s death was, he brought it on himself. Like so many have said before, wouldn’t it be nice if the same attempt to avoid violence was afforded to ALL our citizens who were suspected criminals?

  51. 51
    LAO says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): my sympathies. But you will enjoy the Santilli memo.
    @Steve in the ATL: it’s not all bad. And yeah, family law seems like a nightmare.

  52. 52
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mnemosyne: sure.

  53. 53
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: I have it, I’ll post it later tonight.

  54. 54
  55. 55
    LAO says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I read it yesterday, helped me with my withdrawal since there was no post yesterday.

  56. 56
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Weaselone: People should watch this to better understand the problems underlying eyewitness testimony.

    TED talk, but a good one.

  57. 57
    J R in WV says:

    While I was disappointed at first with the lack of violent response to the 2014 cattle rustling scheme, followed by the slow development of the Loon Reserve takeover… in the end the law enforcement professionals were correct in their slow but certain approach.

    These cattle rustlers were no doubt sure they had gotten away with something, scattered to the winds as they were. I chuckle as I think of their reactions when they were picked up months later.

    And the Loon Reserve takeover – whose bright idea was that, anyway? Almost certainly a Bundy. I wish there was close-up video of Clivus Bundy being taken into custody at the airport – the look on his face – “Oops, I F’ked up!”

    I’m just really glad no LEOs or citizens standing around were hurt while the Loon infestation worked it’s way out.

  58. 58
    Weaselone says:

    @Steve in the ATL:
    Video will help in situations where there is at least a minimum desire to reach an honest verdict and conclusion. Unfortunately, video can not completely substitute for integrity and justice in a corrupt system.

  59. 59
    Steve in the ATL says:


    I read it yesterday, helped me with my withdrawal since there was no post yesterday.

    I was so desperate I watched an episode of “Portlandia.” Didn’t do the trick.

  60. 60
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Weaselone: Ain’t that the sad truth!

  61. 61
    LAO says:

    @Steve in the ATL: lol. Not quite the same. Hipster comedy versus right wing terrorists.
    OT: still haven’t gotten a date. From the 11th circuit. I’m dying on the inside.

  62. 62
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: Have you seen the Schuyler Barbeau declaration? I’ll post that too.

  63. 63
    LAO says:

    @Adam L Silverman: No. Thank you. I’m bored tonight. Doing laundry.

  64. 64
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Ella in New Mexico: I don’t know. Moreover, I don’t know what their tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) and their rules of engagement were. The issue here is really not that an HRT member wouldn’t have had justifiable reason to shoot at Finicum’s vehicle – if the Oregon State Police were justified, the HRT would be, especially as it was an HRT member that was almost run over. Rather, the issue is going to be why did the member that shot twice and had one of his shots hit the top of the vehicle not say so in any prior statements during the investigation? The reason for the shot could have been as simple as everyone was on the same communication frequency, the Oregon State Police lead or spotter issued the “send” command and the HRT guy sent two rounds at the target. It might have been that when the HRT member who shot saw his teammate in danger he shot. It might have been that he was given authorization to fire by the HRT lead and/or spotter. Or he may have shot without authorization and in violation of the HRT’s rules of engagement. The DOJ Inspector General and Deschutes County investigations will sort this out. The three issues here are: 1) was the HRT’s shot justified and within the HRT’s rules of engagement?; 2) why did the HRT member who shot indicate to the Major Incident investigators that he had not shot?; and 3) did anyone else on the HRT know and not say anything and if so, why?

    This one is really going to be about the seeming coverup. That both the DOJ and the Deschutes County investigators are taking this seriously and being open about it is a good sign. It could have just as easily been buried, or attempted to be buried. So the fact that the DOJ – including the FBI SAIC in Oregon and the US Attorney in Oregon are taking it seriously, as are the Oregon state and county officials is a good sign. And while Hip Hop, LAO, and Steve in ATL (as well as Omnes and some others) will be better able to clear this last bit up, I would reckon that there is both Federal, state, and local legal jeopardy for the HRT personnel depending on the outcome of the investigation.

  65. 65
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: Just to get the grammar right. That’s no, then thank you as in post it because you’re bored tonight and doing laundry. Or no thank you as in your board tonight, doing laundry and can’t be bothered with a second fix?

  66. 66
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: Its terrible when the Federal court system plays hard to get.

  67. 67
    LAO says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I foolishly thought we had a connection, that you understood me. No, I haven’t read it. I would love to because I’m bored. I’m bored because I am doing laundry. I don’t like doing laundry.

  68. 68
    burnspbesq says:

    @patrick II:

    are still lying

    Quite a leap there. Your years of experience in similar situations lead you to rule out “homest mistake” as a possibility?

  69. 69
    LAO says:

    @burnspbesq: I don’t believe that a federal agent’s failure to disclose that he discharged his weapon during the course of an arrest can fairly be characterized as an honest mistake.

  70. 70
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: I am a sucker for playing games with language. I will put them both up in a new thread in a few minutes.

  71. 71
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Roger Moore: The legend is that Pheidippides, after running the Athens-to-Sparta route twice, then went to Marathon and was sent back with the message. So around 200 miles in 2.5 days. Much more believable as a killer pace.

    Not that the fatal Marathon leg shows up until Lucien. Still, had the Spartathon been mentioned when I first heard the story, I wouldn’t have been nearly as skeptical.

  72. 72
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: You’re all hooked up. The new post is up!

  73. 73
    Ruckus says:

    Try running slower. Especially for starting longer runs. And yes some people just don’t seem to work that way. There is even a website about endurance running/tri/marathons called Slowtwitch because that’s the muscles that supposedly you use in longer distances for which you don’t want to use the fasttwitch ones which is supposedly the ones that make you quick.

  74. 74
    FredFrog2 says:

    The bald guy giving the press conference goes to some length to say that the police were in appropriate uniforms and used correctly marked cars.

    May we take it that he concedes the strong presumption that plain clothes cops, guys in unmarked cars, and off-duty cops bear the burden of proving that anything they do comes anywhere near legality?

  75. 75
    David Lloyd-Jones says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:

    (The late) Manute Bol ran twenty-six miles each way to see the girl he was courting, his first wife. On the other hand, there were still lions on the pampas around Bor, in now South Sudan, in those days. That may have helped.


  76. 76
    Paul in KY says:

    @George Hayduke: Rock on!

  77. 77
    worn says:

    @burnspbesq: The presentation given by the police yesterday indicate that the FBI team member(s) were questioned about this on more than one occasion, and held to their story of no shots fired. A reasonable person would thus conclude they were prevaricating. The fact that they are now also being investigated also lends one to believe it is so.

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