More than a dozen politicians from the Arizona House of Representatives and Senate have written to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown , asking her to further investigate the death of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupier LaVoy Finicum.
Finicum was shot during a traffic stop in January, and was a key figure in the 41-day occupation of the refuge in Harney County.
In the letter, Arizona state Rep. Bob Thorpe said Brown and Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon, should pressure federal officials for a “transparent investigation” into the case and First Amendment rights to “peaceably assemble.”
“After gunning-down and killing the unarmed Finicum, who was shot in his back 3 times, the federal government now has the audacity to label Finicum, and the citizens who peaceably assembled along with him, as domestic terrorists,” Thorpe wrote.
A multi-agency investigation found the shooting by Oregon State Police troopers was justified, and that Finicum reached for a concealed handgun three times before the troopers shot.
But there were also two mystery shots discovered in the investigation — apparently fired by FBI agents at the scene.
Neither shot hit Finicum, but the FBI says it doesn’t know who fired them and the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating.
At the time, Brown called the unaccounted for shots “troubling.” Walden said he was bewildered by the role of FBI agents.
“Many Arizonans knew, morn [sic] and miss LaVoy Finicum, and I am confident that he was not under any circumstances a terrorist,” Thorpe wrote.
The letter was signed by 13 other Arizona Tea Party Republicans, including Sen. Don Shooter, Sen. Sylvia Allen and Rep. Brenda Barton, who identifies herself as “a veteran of the Sage-Brush Rebellion.”
Responding to the letter, the Oregon Governor’s Office said state and local authorities have already investigated Finicum’s death, and the matter is closed.
“Federal authorities have the responsibility to investigate actions taken by FBI agents, and we understand that investigation is ongoing,” said Kristen Grainger, a spokeswoman for Brown’s office.