by Scott Creighton
If this is actually a video of the LaVoy Finicum shooting and not a staged representation of the feds’ version of it, we can tell two things from it: McConnell is full of crap because Finicum was definitely not “charging” the federal LEOs and the Patriot version of events with Finicum being executed while surrendering on his knees is just as inaccurate
At one point you can see Ryan Payne exit the vehicle and arrested. The camera pans back to the Jeep which held “Buddha”, Ammon and McConnell. When it comes back there is an edit and right afterward you see what appears to be flashes outside the truck and it takes off down the road. That’s the point where the other witness, Victoria, said they fired at the truck so Finicum took off. I can’t tell if those are gunshots or not. I don’t see windows breaking.
The truck ends up running to the left of a road-block. An FBI agent standing behind the car on the left side of the blocks jumps out from behind the vehicle to the left directly into the path of the swerving truck being driven by Finicum and almost gets run over. It seems he only missed by a foot or so and he ends up lying on the ground.
I wonder if Finicum thought he hit him and that is what prompted him to jump out of the truck, with his hands up at first, and react the way he did.
It is clear in this video that while he did exit the vehicle with his hands raised (again, this supports Victoria’s version of events, not McConnell’s) he does start reaching into his coat for something while he is being approached by officers both in front of him and from behind.
Safe too say, he’s not reaching for proof of identification or his insurance card. Why he did that, if this is really a video of those last moments of his, we may never know. Maybe he thought he was dead anyway because he thought he just ran over a fed with his truck. Maybe he trying to remove the gun and drop it on the ground. Maybe he really wanted to open fire on them. We’ll never know.
From the way he jumped out of the truck, my guess is, he thought he just hit that FBI agent and wanted to get away from the vehicle so the other people in it wouldn’t be killed in the hail of bullets he knew was coming.
However you look at it, he wasn’t surrendering on his knees and he wasn’t charging at the feds.
Was the shooting justified? I don’t know. Finicum, as stated by Ryan Payne and Victoria, was in a heightened emotional state even before he took off in the truck. According to their reports, he and Ryan were arguing about surrendering before Ryan got out of the vehicle.
If he thought he had injured or even killed a fed there at the end, he might have thought his fate was sealed or maybe he was trying to remove his gun so he could drop it on the ground.
It used to be that officers had to practically get shot before they could justify the use of deadly force. A perp would have to not only be in possession of a weapon, but raised it and fired it before it’s considered a clean shoot.
Finicum never raised his hands or pointed anything at the officers.
But in all fairness, the officers were faced with a man exiting the vehicle after crashing near their road-block and nearly hitting another agent who was reaching into his coat in spite of their commands to stop doing it. The man was in a heightened emotional state who just the day before was saying he expected a shoot-out with LEOs. A man who they knew would be armed.
In a situation like this it’s easy to sit back and play armchair LEO but in the heat of the moment, with emotions running high on both sides, mistakes happen.
If it’s real, the video clears things up a little but not much. Why he took off in the first place? Why he jumped out of the vehicle the way he did? Did he think he hit that federal agent? Why was he reaching in his coat? There is probably never going to be an answer to these questions.
If it’s real, the video depicts a tragic end to the life of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum and my heart goes out to his daughter and the rest of his family and friends.
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