For Immediate Release
PPN received a signed letter by the 3 commissioners of Harney County in response to our letter of intent on February 2nd, 2016. It is noted that the response is from the Harney County Court and does not include a signature from Sheriff David Ward. Also note, a copy to be served upon the FBI agent in charge was not served due to Mr. Bretzing not being in the County at the time of service.
PPN acknowledges the reply from the County and appreciates their prompt response. But in light of the explanations offered, we ask for further clarification.
PPN requests a copy of the Policy describing the use of deadly force adopted by Harney County to include the date of adoption and approval by the Oregon State Attorney General.
The explanation given by Harney County does not serve as a reason to not detain the officers involved in the shooting with the evidence that has been brought to light. This evidence shows that the traffic stop was not random, but rather premeditated and a roadblock was established prior to the stop taking place. The use of deadly force is described as:
The shooting of someone is considered a “seizure” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment and subject to a reasonableness requirement. Deadly force is not justified unless the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses an immediate threat to the officer or to others, such as threatening with a weapon or probable cause to believe that the suspect has committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm. A warning should be given where feasible. See, Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1, 105 S. Ct. 1694(1985).
The video evidence along with verbal testimony from the eye witnesses make a pretty strong case that Mr. Finicum was not threatening any officer with a weapon as his hands were in the air. Use of deadly force is only applicable when an actual threat to the safety of the officer or other person takes place. It is irrelevant whether or not Mr. Finicum had a weapon on his person as it was not in his hand with intent to use it. That justification being put out is nonsense, as every concealed carry holder in this State should be shot and killed with that explanation.
In order to refute the Peoples’ demand to detain these officers on probable cause for wrongful death, more evidence needs to be released to the public. It is confirmed that two phones in the truck were recording that day. That will have audio and add context to the altercation. Until evidence showing the actions of the officers were justified, our demand for detention remains steadfast.
PPN’s request to demilitarize the County still stands as well. The Burns Municipal Airport is described as:
Burns Municipal Airport (IATA: BNO, ICAO: KBNO, FAA LID: BNO) is a city owned, public use airport located five nautical miles (6 mi, 9 km) east of the central business district of Burns, a city in Harney County, Oregon, United States. It is included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015, which categorized it as a general aviation facility.
This property is not federally managed and the County has every right to request immediate removal of all federal personnel. If federal assistance in negotiating the issues at the MNWR is needed, that is fine. The tactical presence of heavily armed agents and military grade equipment at the airport is not.
PPN acknowledges the Commissioner’s declining to resign their positions of office. We would request a statement from the Sheriff respectively, since the response came from the County Court and Mr. Ward did not sign the response personally.