This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The family of Robert LaVoy Finicum the Arizona rancher and Malheur wildlife refuge occupier who was killed by police on Jan. 26 has retained a California attorney to pursue a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Oregon State Police and two FBI agents.
Brian Claypool of the Pasadena, Calif., based Claypool Law Firm has been retained by Finicum's widow, Jeanette, and their 12 children, according to a Tuesday news release.
Finicum, along with Ryan Bundy and other ranchers, "had been peacefully protesting on the federal wildlife refuge, when law enforcement, motivated by political reasons, escalated the otherwise peaceful demonstration by pursuing Finicum despite his repeated instruction to them that he was on his way to John Day, Ore., to meet with local law enforcement and others in an attempt to resolve the protest," the news release states.
Video of the fatal police shooting appears to show Finicum reaching into his jacket before he fell into the snow at a police roadblock. The FBI has said the man had a loaded gun in his pocket.
But the Claypool news release states "there is now physical evidence (shell casings) that proves that two FBI agents lied during the law enforcement investigation by stating that they did not fire the first shots at Finicum's vehicle."
The news release also claims the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the two FBI agents for perjury.
Claypool also will be representing Ryan Bundy in federal civil rights lawsuit arising from Bundy's being shot in the arm by law enforcement, "as well as multiple egregious constitutional violations by prison guards during his incarceration in a Portland jail while he awaits trial," the news release states. Claypool will also be co-counsel in Bundy's upcoming criminal trial in Portland.
Ryan Bundy the son of Cliven Bundy, who headed a 2014 armed standoff between federal law enforcement at his Nevada ranch had participated in the Malheur occupation and was riding in the vehicle with Finicum, before Finicum was fatally shot.