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LaVoy Finicum: Family Of Fatally Shot Rancher Files $70 Million Lawsuit Against Feds, Police

Patricia Ramirez

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Despite a finding that police were justified in the shooting of Oregon refuge occupier LaVoy Finicum, his widow is seeking $70 million in damages as part of a lawsuit filed on the two-year anniversary of his death.


The family of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, an Arizona rancher shot and killed by police in Oregon in 2016, filed a massive $70 million federal wrongful death lawsuit on Friday. Finicum was involved in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation, which was organized and led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy in early 2016. He was shot and killed by Oregon State Troopers as he attempted to flee the area.

As KTVZ 21 reports, LaVoy Finicum had a prominent position as the spokesperson for the armed militia members who took over and held the remote Malheur Refuge hostage for weeks. According to the occupation, which ultimately resulted in the deadly confrontation that cost Finicum his life, they were occupying the federal refuge to oppose the arrests of two ranchers, as well as federal control of much of the U.S. west. Prior to the Oregon standoff, the Bundy brothers were involved in a 2014 armed standoff against federal agents near their home in Nevada as part of their father, Cliven Bundy’s, dispute over cattle grazing rights. As Inquisitr previously reported, federal charges against the Bundy family members related to the 2014 standoff were dismissed with prejudice on January 8.

LaVoy Finicum was shot three times in the back and killed on January 26, 2016, after being stopped at a police roadblock in an attempt to flee from the Malheur Refuge occupation. According to official reports, Finicum had gotten out of his vehicle at the roadblock after participating in the armed occupation. Investigators claim that he initially raised his hands in the air before reaching toward a gun concealed in his jacket. It was then that law enforcement opened fire, ultimately hitting and killing LaVoy.


The government’s investigation into the death of LaVoy Finicum revealed that while the wildlife refuge occupier was shot and killed by state troopers, he was also shot at twice by FBI agent W. Joseph Astarita. The agent originally failed to disclose that he had fired his weapon at the roadblock and is now facing federal charges of obstructing justice and making false statements. He has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges, but is reportedly named as a defendant in the Finicum family’s federal lawsuit.

Based on witness statements and video captured at the scene of the shooting, the family and supporters of LaVoy Finicum have long disputed the official version of the events leading up to his shooting and death. In their Friday lawsuit, the family of the slain rancher alleged that he was “deliberately executed by a preplanned government ambush,” and it is no coincidence that the suit was filed on the second anniversary of Finicum’s death.