AFP AUDIO INTERVIEW
The tragic death of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, the iconic Arizona rancher who served as a key leader and spokesman for the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon earlier this year, has sparked outrage in the patriot community. Finicum was shot and killed by agents of the Oregon State Police on January 26 in a joint Federal Bureau of Investigation-Oregon State Police operation.
Regular readers of AMERICAN FREE PRESS are familiar with those circumstances, as well as the background and purpose of the occupation of the Refuge, which was led by Mr. Finicum, Ammon Bundy, and a number of other American patriots and Constitutionalists.
On March 17, John Friend spoke with Mrs. Jeanette Finicum, LaVoy’s widow, and Thara Tenney, one of Finicum’s daughters. In this exclusive interview, these courageous ladies talk about the type of man and father LaVoy was, his motivation for participating in the occupation of the Refuge, the powerful novel he published in 2015, the redress of grievance submitted to local and state officials in Oregon, and the mass media’s coverage of the situation, in this revealing interview (36:56).
‘Murdered’: AFP Speaks to Wife of Iconic Rancher Who Was shot and Killed by Oregon Police
By John Friend
In an exclusive interview with AMERICAN FREE PRESS on March 18, the wife and daughter of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, the iconic spokesman for the protest at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, said that the 54-year-old Arizona rancher posed no threat to law enforcement during the confrontation on January 26 but was still murdered by two state police officers anyway.
In late January, while Finicum and several demonstrators were on their way to a townhall meeting, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Oregon State Police set up a roadblock on a deserted rural road in a heavy-handed attempt to arrest them. In the ensuing chaos, Finicum was shot and killed by two Oregon State Police troopers after his truck became stuck in a snowbank as he tried to drive around police cars blocking the road. In video released to the public, Finicum can be seen leaving the car with his hands up before he is shot by the officers, one of whom had been hiding in the woods.
Finicum’s widow, Jeanette Finicum, and her supporters have disputed the findings of the investigation by the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon, which found that police were justified in using lethal force against Finicum.
On March 18, this reporter spoke with Mrs. Finicum and her daughter, Thara Tenney, in an exclusive interview with America’s last real newspaper.
“LaVoy was a wonderful man. He was kind and generous with his time and resources,” Mrs. Finicum told AFP. “He was a loving husband and father. His children meant the world to him, and they knew it because all of his spare time he spent with the family and with the kids. LaVoy was the type of man that if anybody needed anything he was there. He would stop what he was doing and help them in any way he could.”
Regarding the video footage of the fatal confrontation, which was almost immediately released by the FBI in the aftermath of Finicum’s death, Mrs. Finicum noted: “That video did nothing but confirm to me how he was actually assassinated, murdered, by them. I know my husband. I know what type of man he is. I know that he would care about the three people that were left in his vehicle, that he would put their lives above his own.”
She continued: “I know that when he left that truck, immediately you can see his hands going up before he’s even completely out of the truck. His hands are in the air and he is running away from the truck to divert the attention onto himself, because he didn’t want to see that 18-year-old girl in the back seat murdered. We have an 18-year-old daughter, and he would feel so responsible for all of their lives in the back.”
In the video, which was shot from inside Finicum’s vehicle, it is clear that police opened fire on the truck after Finicum attempted to circumvent the roadblock on his way to the local meeting. He said numerous times in the video that he was on his way to see the sheriff. In the video, Finicum is seen talking to unidentified law enforcement, telling them that he is on his way to see the sheriff.
“I know that as he was being shot he continued to put his hands in the air to show he was still not holding a weapon,” said Mrs. Finicum. “I think it has damned them in this whole investigation—as more and more information continues to come out—the FBI lying and not coming forth with the truth and trying to hide things.”
Contrary to what you made read in the mainstream press, a great deal of controversy still surrounds the killing of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, the Arizona rancher who had served as the spokesman for the protest at the Refuge.
The Justice Department is currently conducting an investigation into the actions of members of the FBI involved in the operation, as Oregon authorities revealed two shots were fired by an FBI agent during the confrontation with Finicum. According to Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson, the FBI did not disclose one of its agents fired shots during the joint operation. The FBI says it is cooperating with the criminal investigation being carried out by Inspector General Michael Horowitz on behalf of the Justice Department. “The question of who fired these shots has not been resolved,” Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge of the FBI in Portland, told reporters earlier this month.
“An independent investigation of that is not going to make me feel any better about what they are doing because I believe they are continuing to hide and take evidence that is needed,” said Mrs. Finicum. “I have no confidence—none whatsoever—in our government and in that community in putting forth an honest and upright investigation. They are worried and they want to cover their rear ends and make sure that they come out smelling like a rose.”
Ms. Tenney told AFP that her father is a “God-fearing man.” She noted that she admired him for his “loyalty and love of his God.”
In 2015, Finicum published a novel entitled Only by Blood and Suffering: Regaining Lost Freedom, which is currently available from Amazon.com. The novel was written as a way to teach Americans about their cherished freedoms, which are quickly being pushed aside in favor of political correctness, blind obedience to governmental authority, and federal overreach.
“My husband was one who believed in the Constitution and believed in America,” Mrs. Finicum told AFP. “He believed in government in its limited form. He believed that we were losing our freedoms.”
Finicum participated in the confrontation between agents of the federal government, including the Bureau of Land Management, and supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy in the spring of 2014, an event that left a lasting impression on him. Mrs. Finicum explained that LaVoy had been following the news about the situation at the Bundy ranch, and felt compelled to help.
“In 2014 when he heard about the standoff, he was up in Salt Lake City for a conference and he said, ‘You know, I need to not be at this conference. I think I should go down and talk to these people.’ And so he did. He just left the conference in Salt Lake City and drove all night to get to Bunkerville,” where the Bundy patriarch, who is currently in federal custody, owned his ranch. “From that point on, they developed a friendship and they [the Bundys] are very good friends of ours now,” Mrs. Finicum explained to AFP.
Given his experience at the Bundy ranch and his firsthand knowledge of federal overreach in the lives of American ranchers, Finicum was determined to come to the aid of the Hammond family in Harney County, Oregon, whose plight initiated the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge earlier this year.
“He didn’t like to see someone picked on, and he felt that the federal government and the system up there—the BLM within that area there—had taken from all of these different people their farms, their livelihood, their ranches. Some had been burned out, some had been flooded out, some had been just picked away over time like the Hammonds,” Mrs. Finicum told AFP. “He just felt like that was not right. We’ve got to start standing somewhere, and I think my husband felt compelled to go there and just be another person standing and be a voice for these people who had [suffered] years and years of persecution, had been beaten down, had lost all hope. These people in Oregon had lost all hope. When they had to come out in the middle of the night just to be in the protection of the darkness to go to the refuge to speak to Ammon and LaVoy, that says a whole lot.”
Mrs. Finicum explained that prior to the occupation of the refuge, Ammon Bundy and other supporters of the Hammond family exhausted all legal options to address the plight of the Hammonds. She went on to criticize local and state officials in Oregon for “selling out” to the federal government.
“They were concerned about their money coming from the federal government,” Mrs. Finicum noted. “If [they] didn’t get into compliance, we could be threatening the county’s opportunity of receiving the monies that they needed from the federal government. And I just feel that we as Americans and as counties and cities and towns and states, we rely too much on the federal government’s purse. We are no longer independent.”
Ms. Tenney, one of Finicum’s daughters, was particularly critical of the controlled mass media’s coverage of the occupation of the wildlife refuge and the purpose of the protest.
“There was a false narrative being fed to the population,” Ms. Tenney told AFP. “This never, ever was a ‘standoff.’ That word is completely inappropriate. It was them petitioning the government for redress of grievance, which is our First Amendment right. We have that right when we are being suppressed and abused by a tyrannical government—and that is exactly what they were doing.”
She continued: “I think that a lot of people in America don’t understand the significance of our rights. I think our negligence and our naiveté of our human rights is what has gotten us where we are today. The media was able to find success in twisting the truth when they were exercising their God-given rights.”
Rather than focusing on the legitimate grievances articulated by supporters of the Hammonds, who submitted a lengthy notice of redress of grievance to local, county, and state officials in early December 2015—well before the occupation began—the media “just labeled them domestic terrorists,” entirely ignoring the redress of grievance, according to Mrs. Finicum.
Because the public still largely depends upon the controlled mass media for their information, “they just take whatever is spoon-fed to them. They don’t even look into it individually for themselves,” Mrs. Finicum explained. “So these buzz words—terrorist, white supremacist, gun-toting crazies, whatever they labelled them as—the people just accepted what they were being told instead of looking into it for themselves. Compare situations that have happened back east in Ferguson or Baltimore—the protests, the destruction of property, the looting, the theft, the hurting of other individuals—they don’t even compare. There was peace at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. It was like night and day.”
“My dad and the other cowboys had indisputable moral high ground,” Ms. Tenney emphasized. “The rule of law, the United States Constitution, stood behind them. Any person willing to see truth is able to recognize that. It is our American authorities who have abandoned this rule of law, and it is our American authorities who lost their moral high ground when they opened fire on a man who had his hands in the air in surrender. My dad—we all as American citizens and human beings—have a right to [demand] redress [from] a tyrannical government. We have that right, and they were doing so in a very peaceful, respectful way.”
Both Mrs. Finicum and her daughter are not at all satisfied with the results of the investigation into the death of Finicum.
“I believe that his assassination was a political one and that the tentacles run far and deep and wide. If you follow the money you’ll see the corruption,” Ms. Tenney told AFP. “I firmly believe that the Clinton Foundation is connected to this, and that they were uncovering a lot of corruption there through the documents they were going through.”
The plight of the Hammonds and other ranching families in America is something that impacts families in the West in particular, but “we are losing freedoms in every aspect of our lives here in America, and it goes clear across the United States—it’s not just the plight of the ranchers,” Mrs. Finicum stated.
Ms. Tenney concluded the interview with some powerful observations.
“The spirit of liberty has to be reignited in every generation,” Ms. Tenney told AFP. “When we have that spirit of liberty absent we are at risk of losing our freedom and I think that’s where our people are today. We’ve enjoyed the blessing of liberty without really having to sacrifice for it, suffer for it, defend it, to even die for it—and that’s the legacy that my dad lived. He was willing and he did do all of those things. Much of today’s generation does not understand this. So the spirit of liberty is lost—freedom therefore is at risk of being lost. These things need to be taught in the homes of every American.”
Readers are encouraged to visit the Finicum family website at One Cowboy’s Stand For Freedom, where visitors can support the Finicum Legal Fund and access other important information related to the case.
John Friend is a California-based writer who maintains a blog.