There has been a lot already stated about this video over the interwebz. I have some comments on it, which originated in my disagreement with a commenter on the forum post about this HERE. The forum comments about the video start on page 2 of the thread, after the video (below) is posted. My primary disagreement was with very disparaging comments made about the account given by Victoria, who was in the white truck with Finicum as this situation developed.
My primary point is that you can only get so much out of viewing this video. There is much that you can’t see, and the internet has been alive with speculation, including about the mindset / thought processes of the individuals involved, primarily with what Finicum may or may not be thinking as he is killed. That is not analysis, but speculation. Since I commented on the forum post last night, I have had an opportunity to view the video on my computer screen, rather than my phone. It is still not the best, and it is blurry in many cases, and there is much that cannot be seen. Definitive answers need to wait on any audio / ground camera footage that may or may not be released.
You need to understand that this situation was a surprise, developed very fast, and was dynamic, violent and sudden. Lots of things can happen to people’s perceptions, to tunnel vision, problems with distance estimation, slowing of time, all sorts. It is easy to sit back and quarterback it from your keyboard, but it is for these reasons that I do not dismiss the statement by Victoria. It seems to corroborate fairly closely with the video, and where it doesn’t, it is easily explained by perception, terror, and inexperience. For example, the statement that Finicum was shot on his knees with his hands up: If Victoria was able to see him from the vehicle at the point he was shot, he was actually knee deep in snow, with his hands up. From her perspective, and her altered perception, this could well have been perceived as him being kneeling.
Not to digress, but there have been many advances in this sort of cognitive issue in terms of people’s statements after these events. Back in the 90’s I was doing public order training prior to a deployment to Northern Ireland. I specifically remember a talk we had about a soldier who had killed a man at close range with a baton round, to the head. In his statement, the man has been very close, huge, and wearing a big yellow jacket, in the act of attacking him. To cut a long story short, the man had been much further away, and not wearing a yellow jacket, but there had been a large yellow bill board behind him. In the soldier’s mind, he had faced an imminent threat, and had acted in self defense. His mind had conflated all the factors, in his terror. This is not junk science, but to do with the perception of the mind. So, to be fair, remember that these factors play out on both sides: with Finicum, with those in the car, and with the perhaps less then ideally trained OSP officers at the roadblock.
Before I get into the micro of the situation in the video, I want to look at the macro situation. In my opinion, this whole takedown was very badly planned and executed, unless it was done to achieve this very effect. It was not necessary, and the group were on their way to a meeting they had arranged with a Constitutional Sheriff, which was a lie and a trap. It is not important whether you agree or disagree with the ‘tactics’ of the Malheur protest – it was a protest and they had been conducting themselves peacefully. They had been ‘allowed’ to travel freely on the roads. Please stay ‘out of the thought box’ when assessing these matters, and avoid the whole trap of the law enforcement language of ‘furtive movements’ and whether or not you should do exactly what when faced by lethal force from a law enforcement officer. That is all just ‘in the box’ ‘law and order conservative’ thinking, a breed that I heartily despise as they cheerlead for greater tyranny.
Now that we understand that for whatever reason, the FBI had decided to carry out this ambush operation on the road, let’s look at what we can see in the video.
1) I do not know why, nor can I see a specific reason, why the white truck took off like it did from the initial traffic stop, at the 8:15 mark.
2) The roadblock was sited on a curve, whether by design or incompetence, obscured by the snowbanks. It appears that the white truck did not see the roadblock until too late, and took action to swerve into the snowbank to avoid it. Whether they were trying to get around it, or simply avoid a crash, I do not know from the video.
3) At the 9:16 mark, as the truck crashes into the snowbank to the left, an officer steps out of the roadblock into the path of the truck, into the snow. I do not know what he was thinking – perhaps he thought that the truck was going around the roadblock. It appears that he fired two or three rounds (from statements and from seeing the impacts on the windshield as the helicopter circles). Of course, it is authorized to fire at a vehicle that is being used as a weapon against you – but it is debatable if by deliberately putting yourself into the path of that vehicle the same logic applies. My assessment is that the truck is deliberately trying to not hit both the roadblock and the officer on foot. Either way, this will be used by LE to justify the initial shoot into the windshield. The officer narrowly avoids being run over, and you can see him scoot off to the side and then make his way back to the roadblock vehicle.
4) In all the discussion about the actions of Finicum as he exited the vehicle, has anyone considered that 1) He has already been fired upon as he crashed the vehicle into the snowbank and 2) could he have in fact been injured in some way by one of those shots?
5) The next thing that happens is the killing of Finicum. My video is not that clear and I cannot see some of things that others have reported. It appears to me that he is shot by the officer on the right, who is advancing from the roadblock with a handgun presented. Finicum initially has his hands up, he is in the snow, he looks confused, his hands drop and then he is not sure what to do with them. It has been speculated that he may have been going for a handgun that may or may have not been there. He may have been grabbing at where he was shot. We have no audio and no real clear video – we do not know what small arms fire was present or verbal orders were being given at this time. He was trying to surrender after crashing and rounds impacting his windshield. If the cops were shooting at him after he tried to surrender, it makes sense that he would either grab the wound, or perhaps grab for a gun that was or was not there – given that he saw the elephant at that point, and knew what they were going to do / were doing i.e. killing him.
6) The officer who appears from the left appears to have a taser, in the left hand. It seems to be the taser that puts Finicum down, because he is still standing from receiving handgun rounds. Once he is put down, he is clearly wounded, and no attempt is made to further either assist or restrain him – he is bleeding out at that point. I see a red laser on his head at various points but I do not know if he was fired at again after he was put down. It does however appear that if he was shot before he was tasered, he had his hands up and basically was given no quarter. The only justification for the shoot from the LEO perspective would probably be (in a situation they created), as a continuation of the initial near miss on the officer in the snow, and as a result of Finicum’s action to exit the vehicle, which is not usually tolerated at ‘normal’ traffic stops.
7) At 9:49 Finicum is down and dying and we switch our focus to the vehicle as the helicopter circles. I would like to take more time and focus on the actions of all the LEOs at the roadblock, something I have not had time to do so far, having only played this several times, the focus being on the action at the white truck. That would be a worthwhile Intel effort. Anyway, as the helicopter circles, and is obscured at times by trees, we see non-lethal ‘flashbangs’ impacting on and near to the vehicle. It is hard to tell if any lethal rounds are fired initially, as the vehicle sits there. These flashbangs, as designed, would have been terrifying to an inexperienced person such as Victoria, huddled low in the vehicle. There is what looks like snow kicked up in the area of the passenger side window, either from non-lethal or lethal rounds. When I first watched this on my phone, it looked like rounds impacting the side window. It may also be non-lethal kicking up snow.
8) At 10:22 I am not sure what is impacting the passenger side of the vehicle, whether non-lethal, shotgun or rifle rounds. If it is bangers, there is no accompanying flash at this time. At 10:47 there are more of these impacts, which look to me like the vehicle is being stuck by rounds (lethal or non-lethal), not kicked up snow. Whatever is being used, are they trying to suppress and dominate the passengers remaining in the vehicle, who are huddled on the floorboards at this time, as per their statements?
9) At 11:30 you have a group of officers moving out to the back of the vehicle to cover its left side. Bear that in mind as the helicopter circles.
10) At 12:13, through the gap in the tress, you see what look like multiple impacts onto the window of the camper shell of the truck. Is this hitting at an angle from the guys to the rear left of the truck? Go to point 13 for a revision on this – it may well be tree shadow instead. At 12:20 you see impacts on, through or inside the windshield, which I initially thought may be a result of through-and-through rounds coming through the camper shell, through the cab, and out the windshield. On further viewing (coming back from point 13), I think the ‘impacts’ on the camper shell window are shadow, and what can be seen on/inside the windshield may well be non-lethal gas clouds being shot into the cab through the side windows, and impacting inside. I would also consider that some of these impacts could be from non-lethal rounds, such as pepper / CS rounds, which Victoria says were used (she said gas was used). At 13:20 there is a red dot playing on the left side of the truck, and then what look like white impacts into the driver side window, on the console. Is this SAF, or perhaps gas/pepper rounds? Have these side windows been shot out?
11) At 13:42 you see the red laser playing on Finicum’s head.
12) At 14:08 we are now back around with the helicopter and you see what looks like shattered safety glass in the passenger window which was not like that on the first pass around. Shot out? At around 15:00 the agents are milling around behind their vehicle, with individuals popping out to either take shots or at least aim their rifles at the truck. Are they now giving orders to the occupants to surrender and exit the vehicle? 15:06 the left side truck door appears to be open. Someone gets out with hands raised and tosses something to the ground, probably a handgun. There is a red laser playing around on him. From this point onward, the occupants are getting out and being taken into custody.
13) 15:43: OK, go back and see point 10: I see the same effect on the left window of the camper shell. I don’t see why there would be any shooting at this time – on further inspection, it may be a play of the shadow of the trees on the window? There is however smoke drifting at 16:00 – CS gas?
To conclude: there are some things that can obviously be seen in the video, and much that cannot, or is open to speculation. More information is required. I do not see this video discounting Victoria’s statement, if you take into account her likely altered perception. The truck and the occupants were subject to a large amount of chaos and violence. I do not know to what extent small arms fire was directed at the truck once it had come to rest in the snow. I simply cannot see. I can see a number of flashbangs and other impacts, some of which may be lethal, or non-lethal, and there appears to have been some sort of ‘gas’ used on the interior of the vehicle. To the occupants, including Victoria, this would have appeared noisy, violent and terrifying.
I cannot see any justification for Finicums death. I will reiterate that none of this needed to happen, at the macro level. You can say that this was bad decision making, in your perfect Constitutional make-believe world, or you can say it was great decision making, from the point of view of power and tyranny asserting itself. On the micro level, if professionals with judgement were conducting the ‘ambush,’ Finicum did not need to die. But what happened was par for the course in the way law enforcement operates in this country. The situation was created and it went down accordingly. Basically, Finicum tried to run over an officer, he got out of the vehicle, he made furtive movements, he failed to obey lawful orders instantly, therefore he was killed. That’s how they roll.
You no longer live in the country that was created in 1781. That Constitutional Republic, based on rightful liberty and equality before the law, no longer exists. You live in a a lawless banana republic, where might is right and there will never be justice.
Update, added 19:48 1/30/2016, by the MVT G2 Shop:
As several have pointed out, there are numerous aspects to this video that are missing in order to conduct a full and proper analysis of the situation. However, some additional observations on the limited data are below:
The initial stop: Without dashcam or bodycam it is hard to observe what exactly is going on and what led to Finicum’s departure. What can be seen is that both passenger and driver have their arms extended out of the windows and appear to be cooperative and surrendering. It was reported that a shot was fired at the passenger which led to the “run.” Although there is clear LEO activity and their weapons are trained on the vehicle and the passengers we cannot confirm if a shot was or was not fired by the LEO with the limited data provided.
(Note: FBI claimed at a news conference that, obscured by trees, Ryan Payne actually exited the vehicle and was taken into custody. This cannot be seen at all in the video).
The poorly positioned “Roadblock” but strategically placed “ambush point”: It is clear that Finicum began braking at his first possible visual of the roadblock and did not release the brake until after he veered off the road. On the video they had less than 3 seconds from their first visual of the roadblock to brake prior to inevitable impact. There are other variables, such as vehicle weight, occupancy, road conditions, speed etc. that could be calculated into this analysis, but typically it is accepted that a small sized car actually takes over 4.6 seconds to come to a complete stop in good weather and road conditions and over 10.6 seconds to stop in other less favorable conditions not including ice. Taking this into account we would assess that Finicum had no other choice but to veer off the road simply to avoid collision in the 3 seconds he had to take action in a heavy truck with passengers. He again appears to veer further to actively avoid the LEO that jumps out in front of his vehicle.
Additionally the two trucks they used for the “ambush”: A grey/white truck with front lights on and a black truck with its lights off on a black top road with a snowy background. Neither truck having any other red/blue lights or even hazard lights flashing to the front. The third vehicle in the rear has two obscured blue and red lights flashing towards the back but would not have been easily seen by the driver of any vehicle approaching. These factors would have actually made the roadblock extremely difficult to see.
(Note: there are very few, if any ‘blue lights’ on the vehicles, except visible to the rear. It is customary for law enforcement to have blinding blue lights on the time anytime they are stopping anyone at the side of the road, or for any reason – many of you will have been blinded by these excessive displays of blue lights. How did Finicum even know that he was running into a law enforcement roadblock?)
There is an oddity starting at around 11:10. There is an agent in a black top who comes from the front of the roadblock, around to the left side of the screen, and comes to stand behind the agents who are sheltering behind the rear roadblock vehicle, weapons trained on Finicum’s truck. . He appears to be gesturing at the aircraft to back away. In response to this, at 11:40, the screen jumps back to a longer distance shot of the roadblock. What are the agents doing at this time? Why does he gesture the aircraft to back off? At 11:47 the aircraft is further on the circuit and the shot zooms in again. The man in the black top appears to be waving again and perhaps coordinating the agents, a couple of who are steeping out round the back of the vehicles to aim/engage Finicum’s truck. At 12;09 as you are able to see through the gap in the trees, you can see either lethal or non-lethal impacts into or behind the windshield. Did he want to video to back off so they could open fire?