- Harrison Berry
- Approximately 50 people came to the Idaho State Capitol protesting the death of Robert "LaVoy" Finicum.
Demonstrators gathered at the Idaho State Capitol steps this morning to protest the killing of Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, a rancher who was part of the armed militia occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Finicum was shot and killed Jan. 26 by Oregon State Police after he fled from a traffic stop on a remote stretch of U.S. 395 in Oregon.
"We're hoping to rally support and educate people about what's going on," said Eddy Bergman, of Kuna, who works as a point-of-sale system programmer and state director of One Cowboy's Stand for Freedom, which helped organize the rally.
While the circumstances surrounding Finicum's death were recorded by a Federal Bureau of Investigation drone, many in the self-styled "patriot movement" have continued to dispute whether it was justified.
Bergman said he hoped to start a broader discussion about the plight of ranchers, who he said were being forced off their land and jailed by federal agencies like the Bureau of Land Management. He and supporters distributed a petition to have Finicum's death independently investigated.
The demonstration, which attracted about 50 people, came days after the Department of Justice announced a Nevada grand jury had charged several individuals—including four Idahoans—in connection with a 2014 standoff between the BLM and anti-government activists near Bunkerville, Nev.
According to Bergman, "it would be fair to say" the patriot movement has been unfairly treated by law enforcement and the media.
"There have been a lot of negative comments out there in the mainstream media," he said.
Meanwhile, another rally has been planned for Friday, March 11, to protest the arrest of III Percent of Idaho Vice President Eric Parker, who gained worldwide notoriety for being photographed taking a sniper position on an overpass overlooking federal officials during the standoff near Bunkerville.