An Open Letter To The FBI and OSP

Federal Bureau of Investigation – Portland Division

9109 NE Cascades Pkwy

Portland, OR 97220

(503) 224-4181


Oregon State Police

3004 Blue Mountain Dr

La Grande, OR 97850

(503) 378-3720


To whom it may concern,

I write this letter as a concerned citizen of the United States.  The events of January 26, 2016, in the vicinity of the Malheur Federal Wildlife Refuge, have sparked both heated debate and irrational rhetoric regarding the manner of death of one Robert “Lavoy” Finicum.  I am sure you are aware of, and monitoring, said communications via social media so there is no need to mention specifics in this matter.  The very moment news of Finicum’s death filtered out of Harney County, a problem was created that must be resolved immediately if more unfortunate bloodshed is to be avoided.

Supposed eye-witness accounts in the moments following Finicum’s death asserted that Finicum was shot and killed while attempting to surrender.  Furthermore, assertions were also made that gunfire was directed at the vehicle from which Finicum emerged for a period of between five and ten minutes and involved hundreds of rounds of ammunition.  These accounts were soon contradicted by others in the vicinity but the question of accuracy remains.

I was not a supporter of the Malheur Refuge occupation.  A simple scan through my website will solidify that fact.  But, I am very much a supporter of truth.  The truth must be revealed in this matter as soon as humanly possible.  There are large groups of very angry people in this country who are operating on the assumption that Finicum was murdered in cold blood.  These groups are armed, unstable, and not well-known for their rational thinking.  I fear the threat to law enforcement, and anyone else incidentally in the area, is very real.  If the truth were known about this incident, and evidence of the circumstances surrounding Finicum’s death were revealed to the public, the potential for further violence could be dramatically reduced and cooler heads could prevail.  The last two years have been very difficult for law enforcement / citizen relations and no further justification for distrust of the men and women who serve in our nation’s law enforcement agencies can be tolerated or encouraged.  The truth must be brought into the open.

The worldwide reputation of the FBI CIRG, whether in the form of a field office SWAT unit or the HRT, is one of professionalism and exceptional skill.  I do not believe there is cause to question their conduct in this incident but I do believe the accusations and rumors, even if completely fabricated, could do much harm to that organization’s reputation and to the authority with which it is entrusted.  The further deterioration of trust could have the inevitable effect of encouraging resistance from the various fringe groups in question.  We, the people of the United States, neither want, nor could withstand, such a situation.  It could lead to the destruction of all trust between our agents of government and our citizens.  This situation must be avoided at all cost.

We, the people, ask that details of the roadblock operation, attempted apprehension, and death of Robert Finicum be revealed to the public, including any evidence such as helmet-cam, dash-cam, or other video recordings.  We are not requesting data that will reveal FBI or OSP operational procedures or that may jeopardize ongoing or future investigations.  We are only seeking video showing the circumstances that lead to Finicum’s death.


Ross Elder

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