It’s been almost a month since the death of “Bundy” protest spokesperson Robert “LaVoy” Finicum — during a felony traffic stop. Now, the Oregon House has passed a bill to protect the identity of the officer who killed him.
In a bipartisan vote, the House approved the bill, 55 to 3, according to the Oregon Live. The legislation would allow a judge to bar– for 90 days– the disclosure of an officer’s name who uses deadly force.
“This bill is deadly serious,” said Rep. Jeff Barker, (D-Aloha). “This isn’t to protect a wrongdoer. It isn’t to protect a police department that screwed up.”
Rep. Lew Frederick, a Portland Democrat said he’d normally “err on the side of transparency. But in this case, he said, lawmakers must protect the officer.”
“We need to take very seriously when people arm themselves to enforce laws that exist only in their fantasies…Sometimes deadly force is not only justified, but necessary,” Frederick said.
One of three Republicans that voted no, however, said: “We are stacking the deck against citizens every time we bring an exemption to public records…If someone had their loved one shot by their government, they should be able to face that person.”
On Jan. 26, Oregon State Police troopers shot Finicum after he drove away from a traffic stop, hit a snow bank, then got out of his Dodge Ram pickup “on a heavily wooded stretch of U.S. 395.”
An FBI video shows Finicum exit his pickup with his hands raised, then appear to reach for a pocket, before getting shot. Police said he had a 9mm semi-automatic handgun.
The Oregon militia member was driving three other militants to a community meeting in John Day, nearly a month after the group seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters. A group of armed protesters had been occupying the complex, since early January, in a remote part of Oregon — in protest of federal ranching policies.
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