According to The Oregonian, on Feb. 11, 2016, the Oregon Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, evangelist Franklin Graham, and others have successfully secured the surrender of the four remaining militiamen who were occupying the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Center since Jan. 2.
On Feb. 10, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies surrounded the refuge and the response of those in the center was that of fear. They responded with fear and taunts. Ammon Bundy reached out from his jail cell to implore the remaining occupiers to surrender peacefully.
Also, on Feb. 10, Cliven Bundy was arrested upon his arrival in Portland, Oregon. He had announced he was coming to support his sons who were arrested on Jan. 26. A press conference was originally scheduled to occur on Thursday morning. He and Fiore were in Portland to challenge the arrest and continued incarceration of his sons and those detained in connection with the illegal occupation of federal lands.
Cliven Bundy is being held on federal charges that are related to the 2014 standoff on his Nevada ranch. He was booked by the Multnomah County Sheriff. He appeared before Magistrate judge Janice M. Stuart in Portland on Feb. 11, at 1:30 p.m. According to The Oregonian, there was a 32-page complaint filed against the elder Bundy at Nevada’s U.S. District Court.
He will be appearing in court again on Tuesday, Feb. 16 for a detention hearing and again on Friday, Feb. 19 for a preliminary hearing. Each hearing will be held in Portland.
The Occupation at Malheur Wildlife Refuge Center
The siege began after a peaceful rally on Jan. 2, 2016, when a protest was organized by Ammon Bundy. His group, Citizens for Constitutional Freedom put forth a to all patriots for a peaceful rally in Burns, Oregon. The event was peaceful and held without any negative legal problems. Those in attendance came from several states and gathered to support David and Steven Hammond, ranchers who had earlier that day surrendered themselves to federal authorities in response to charges relating to illegally setting fires on federal lands.
However, once the protest within the city limits came to an end a group splintered off and departed Burns, and traveled 31 miles south to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Center. They unlawfully entered the refuge, by breaking into the administration building.
According to The Oregonian, Bundy stated, “We’re planning on staying here for years, absolutely. This is not a decision we’ve made at the last minute.”
The premise of the militia leaders was that they believed it necessary to voice their position against the government owning any land or imposing laws the American people were required to obey. During the onset of the occupation, the militia leaders were vocal about keeping the Hammonds from surrendering. The Hammonds adamantly stated, through their lawyer, the Bundys and others involved did not stand for them, not did they want them to use the Hammond name as a tool for the militia’s message.
On Jan. 6, the Harney County Sheriff’s office met with the residents of Bend and surrounding areas in a town meeting. Those present encouraged the sheriff to end the protest at the refuge peacefully. As a result, a meeting was scheduled for the sheriff to meet with the leaders of the militia for the following day.
However, on Jan 7, the sheriff released a statement that a meeting would occur shortly after 3:30 p.m. the meeting appeared to be unproductive. The meeting between the sheriff and those at the refuge was not productive. There was a statement made by one of the leaders they were planning on presenting and the announcement the following day.
Also on the seventh, Oregon Governor, Kate Brown demanded the militia members stand down and leave immediately. Governor Brown made this request many times during the 41-day occupation.
Between Jan. 7-26, the militia continued to hold the refuge, the county’s people continued to protest both for and against the occupation, and the authorities kept the area safe from violence. Barricades were erected to monitor traffic. All indications were the FBI, the Harney County Sheriff, and Oregon State Police (OSP) appeared to be keeping the peace.
On Jan. 26, a meeting was scheduled between the FBI, the Bundy brothers, and their followers. The location was set away from the refuge and in John Day. Ore. and the intent of the FBI was to “bring into custody” those militia traveling toward the meeting site.
Several people were arrested, including the Bundy brothers and many others. LaVoy Finnicum attempted to avoid a roadblock and rammed his vehicle into a snow bank. The pickup truck barely missed running down an FBI agent prior to becoming stuck in the snow. When Finnicum exited the truck he was told to keep his hands raised. He repeatedly brought his hands down and reached for his pocket while walking toward the authorities, he was shot and died as a result.
The following day law enforcement set up checkpoints on the roads surrounding the refuge, where four people still occupied the refuge center. All traffic was stopped and identification was required prior to passage.
After 41 days the illegal occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Center, the remaining militia surrendered and were taken into custody by the FBI. All those arrested on Feb. 11, 2016, as well as those previously arrested were charged with, “conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats, in violation of Title 18, the United States Code, Section 372.”
By Cathy Milne
The Oregonian: Cliven Bundy to appear in federal court in Portland Thursday afternoon
The Oregonian: Oregon standoff: 4 holdouts all in FBI custody as occupation ends (live updates)
NBC News: Four Remaining Oregon Occupiers, Surrounded by FBI, Surrender
FBI News Blog: FBI Arrests All Remaining Occupiers at Oregon Wildlife Refuge
Featured Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Top Image Courtesy of Dan Dzursin’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License