Photo by Roger Harnack
Jeanette Finicum poses for photographs at the start of a program Tuesday night at the Patriot Barn north of Prosser.
As of Tuesday, June 26, 2018
PROSSER At the time an FBI agent allegedly killed Robert “LaVoy” Finicum near Burns, Ore. on Jan. 26, 2016, most of the people who knew anything about the case was convinced he was an ultra-right wing domestic terrorist.
People who saw the local premiere of the documentary “LaVoy: Dead Man Talking,” walked away with a completely opposite picture of the man killed during the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff.
The documentary aired last night at the Patriot Barn on Hinzerling Road north of the city.
More than 60 area residents turned out for the documentary and a chance to meet widow Jeanette Finicum.
“He didn’t hate the government,” said Matt Herr, of the Center for Self Governance, a Washington-based organization that sponsored the premiere. “He said, ‘We need the federal government’.”
LaVoy Finicum says that himself in the documentary, which is a compilation of many of the videos Finicum produced.
He recorded them as he came more and more into conflict with the federal Bureau of Land Management and eventually the FBI over mismanagement of public lands.
Finicum argued till the day he was killed that the federal government is barred by the Constitution from owning more land than is necessary for the common defense.
But he was never violent toward the government, his widow said.
She said he was trying “to save our country, save what we remembered.”
Finicum, who had a small ranch in Arizona, started to lean toward activism as he moved into his 50s.
His first protest action came in 2014 at his neighbor Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Bunkerville, Nev.
He became known to the West and the feds there. Soon, he was under pressure from the BLM, and he stood taller than before.
Before that situation was resolved, he drove to Burns, Ore., where ranchers had taken over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in protest of bureau actions again.
That January 2016 showdown was pretty much ended by the killing of Finicum.
Soon, all the charges brought against the ranchers in federal court were wiped away by a federal jury that found almost every one innocent.
“If my husband hadn’t been assassinated, he would have been found innocent, too,” Jeanette Finicum said.
The widow said most media accounts were of shootout at a traffic stop.
She said there is video proof there was no shootout.
Only law enforcement fired that day — nine times, with three bullets striking LaVoy Fincicum in the back.