This open letter was written by Kate Dalley and was originally posted here.
I’ve thought about you. All three of you, with your guns pointed at LaVoy Finicum. The video still haunts me.
I would have been the first one to give you the benefit of the doubt. I was raised around law enforcement. I know good men in law enforcement. But that changed for me, as it did thousands of Americans, with the events that unfurled in Oregon as I felt utterly stunned at what I viewed in that video.
I watched the grainy version of the video that the FBI administration released of LaVoy Finicums death, even though I knew that with our technology today, they have better, more clear footage and footage with audio from this event. But you will not release that, it is too incriminating for the FBI. They did this with purpose to deceive the public and that video would have revealed to the world your actions that day . This footage you did release, left people arguing about what they were seeing in the blurry video rather than to bring their attention to the way that three FBI agents ambushed and murdered an innocent, non-violent rancher with no criminal history. A man with a large family. A good man. A man who never threatened you.
The FBI had clearly set this up in advance with stops prepared and dozens of agents ready to end the protest because four weeks of a land rights issues protest was all the patience they could muster. The protesters had left the ranch many times before and on this day we’re headed for a meeting to inform ranchers of their rights. You knew that. You stopped the two cars and started shooting at LaVoy’s truck full of passengers- unprovoked. They never brandished a weapon against you.
Finicum told you he was driving to the Sheriffs office for protection from you. The only place he felt safe. You fired on his vehicle. You could have just followed him if you had ever intended to have a peaceful outcome. But that was never your intention. Finicum knew why the local law enforcement wasn’t invited to this event- why the local Sheriff was intentionally kept at bay- Finicum feared what you would do to him with no local oversight. The Sheriff of Grant County, just over the county line where you ambushed him, valued Constitutional rights and Finicum knew the Sheriff would never approve of an ambush on the highway and and execution of a protester.
A tax-paying citizen who loved America could not trust you and fled for his life because he knew you could murder him and get away with it. Let that sink in.
When Finicum got out of his vehicle with his hands up, within seconds you gathered around him and shot him in the back.
You shot him him in the back.
Who would carry out such a cowardly deed? Who would follow orders to shoot a rancher with his hands up and shoot him in the back seconds after getting out of his vehicle? The three of you would do this. What were you thinking? How do you reconcile this in your head and in your heart?
No talking? Not one attempt at a peaceful negotiation? At the refuge all he did was talk to you, never threatened you. His hands were UP. Did your conscience allow you to shoot him without any reservation? After his lifeless body dropped into the snow, you cared so little for this fellow citizen that you walked around his body and didn’t check for a pulse for 15 minutes? Why? Because of your guilt or because you had such little regard for him or for human life in general? Both of those answers are equally terrifying to me.
Moments later you shot rounds of ammunition into Finicum’s truck with scared women inside screaming for help- trying to surrender. You threw gas cans inside the vehicle. Is this how you do it now? Are you sincerely okay with this? Look at what you have become. By a miracle they survived.
Before you hunted him down and silenced him like wild game, Finicum carried out two heroic acts. As he turned the blind corner on the highway, he almost ran into your barricade head on, as vehicles and men stood standing in the middle of the highway at your “stop”. He veered to the left on the snowbank to avoid hitting you. To preserve your lives. He then got out of the vehicle with his hands up to divert your attention from his truck with passengers inside, so you would stop firing upon them. To preserve their lives. This is the man you surrounded and killed within seconds. You killed a hero.
I wonder what has happened to my America where you could easily tell the good guys from the bad guys. Are you mercenaries now? Carrying out executions on demand? Have you realized yet that you did the bidding of a government that is seeking to violate the property rights and steal the land of your fellow citizens? Do you realize that you are a citizen and that these ranchers were standing up for YOUR rights, too? Or have you not realized this.
Most Americans won’t take the time to do the research to find out that you shot him in the back two times before he ever reached for his stomach – the area where you shot him. And your bosses instructed the media to tell everyone he reached for a gun to justify this cowardly act of murder on a fellow citizen. What a pathetic cover-up for your actions that day.
I’m asking all three of you who carried out the execution of Finicum, to RESIGN.
Resign, because I have to know that you will never be allowed to act with force again. I have to know that men like you would not be allowed to continue on as FBI agents. If you are rewarded for this dastardly act, I will lose all faith in our justice system.
We need men with a conscience and a soul in law enforcement.
We need good men who are there to protect the citizens rights. Your fellow men.
You took an oath to defend the Constitution. Did you understand this oath when you excitedly repeated its words to get your badge? It wasn’t a promise. It was an oath. An oath to protect and to serve- us. LaVoy was one of US.
Are you going to protect us or are you going to protect orders? Even if those orders compel you to disregard someone’s Constitutional rights in the most brazen and corrupt and evil way? Was this you “just doing your job”, so that you could end their protest?
Millions of people have died as a result of those ” just doing their job”. Under Hitler. Under Stalin. Is this who you have become? Shooting someone with their hands up because you were told to?
You can no longer hide behind the lie that you felt threatened enough to shoot him dead. With a dozen or more of you ready to attack him, the only one that felt threatened was Finicum, I assure you. You murdered an innocent man. The salt of the earth. A man who would have stood up for you and who would have respected you. A man who would have shaken your hand and talked to about his love for America. You killed him.
Let me ask you this. In all of your years in the FBI, how many ranchers have ever threatened you or have drawn weapons on you? I’m guessing the thugs you deal with everyday do not include ranchers and farmers.
How many ranchers over the years have left their working farms, to protest over the stealing of another ranchers land and imprisonment? I’m guessing probably none.
Here’s the difficult question. After decades of government abuse to rancher’s property rights, how many ranchers have YOU defended, or aided, or stood for- because you did take an oath to defend the Constitutional rights of those in your care. I am going to guess that you have never stood for any of these men against the abuse of the government. You have become pawns. You are protecting the governments special interests, not the people’s.
Resign, so I can sleep at night with some of my faith in America restored.
Resign, so I can tell my kids to respect the FBI.
Resign, because I need to know there are not monsters out there with guns and badges that will do anything they are told to do, like killing innocent Americans, because we could be next.
Resign. You may be a fellow citizen, but you are not my fellow American.
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