Lavoy Finicum – Suicide by Cop

Draw number three for Lavoy, and his last
Draw number three for Lavoy, and his last

… by  Jim W. Dean,  VT Editor

Our sympathies go out to all the families for the lives being wasted through this
Our sympathies go out to all the families for the lives being wasted through poor choices

Well the verdict is in for me. Yesterday’s inside the car video was followed today with the transcript of who said what when the shooting went down, very critical information to have, as I have never seen a felony arrest where the officers were “silent types”, or did not know what to say.

After the release of the aerial video, there was nothing more to analyze to help determine if it was a justifiable shooting or not, and the issue needed to be settled and put to bed with hard evidence.

We had the early clues from comments of never wanting to go to prison, no surprise there, but he added reflective framing that he had “had” a good life. Here is exactly what he said.

“I’m just not going to prison… Look at the stars. There’s no way I’m going to sit in a concrete cell where I can’t see the stars and roll out my bedroll on the ground.

That’s just not going to happen… I want to be able to get up in the morning and throw my saddle on my horse and go check on my cows. It’s OK. I’ve lived a good life. God’s been gracious to me.”

Fast forward to the first stop, where the second car with Amon Bundy in it surrendered without incident. The militia bloggers have air-brushed that incident. Amon took the other fork in the road, and his battle will be fought in the courts. Finicum’s people will think they have a bad shooting crusade on their hands, but they don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell.

At the first stop Finicum’s behavior was irresponsible. You generally don’t give instructions to arresting officers unless you have a hostage. And Finicum potentially did have a car load. You notice that he and Bundy did not take their trip in one car together. They brought their human shields with them, including the women, plus their guns. 

Yesterday’s new inside the car video shows him taunting the police at the initial stop to shoot him, already playing the victim that the blood would be on their hands. But why would they shoot him and ruin their careers, and put their families through all of that for a grandstanding egomaniac?

His demeanor and what he said was putting him more and more toward his suicide-by-cop moment, and you can bet your booties that the cops had been briefed on that potentially happening. You see at the first stop they were not rushing things, I think hoping that when they saw Amon Bundy’s vehicle surrender, Finicum’s might, also.

But Finicum took off, which edged him up another notch on his final appointment.  When he barreled in on the three-car road block, where if he had plowed into them he certainly could have killed people, he crossed over to a higher threat level again. Officers say they fired three times at the truck, but hit no one inside. Later one bullet hole was found in the roof.

At 5:22 on the aerial video with Finicum barreling down the center of the road block the cell phone camera records what seems to be a bullet strike. That causes Finicum to veer left.

At 5:23 his truck is fully in the left lane.

At 5:24 he says “hang on” as he starts veering left into the snowbank. One second later is heard what sounds like a rifle blast. (Finicum’s window was open)  If he had not veered left, he would have crashed the road block at 5:24, which showed the cops withheld their fire til the last moment.

At 5:28 Finicum’s truck has stopped and he has his door fully open and

At 5:29 He says his first “Go ahead and shoot me,” and then a couple of shoots ring out and a left side back window is blown out, which seem to be gas rounds. Finicum has 13 seconds left to live.

Looking at the aerial tape and listening to the car phone, you can hear Finicum saying some version of “shoot me” over and over until the final shots ring out, starting at 5:42.

To Finicum’s credit, he jumped out of the truck to get away from those inside, and we learn quickly why. He was instructed to get down on the ground three times, ignored that, kept moving around, moving his hands, and the prosecutor’s report states he was not shot until his third reach toward his gun pocket.

This is as classic a suicide by cop situation as I have seen. The two closest officers held their fire despite his reaching for his pocket twice. Finicum knew exactly what he was doing, forcing the officers to shoot him. And it was not an honorable death. He was not man enough to fight his case in the courts, but left the others to do so. Now his family will be consumed with a fruitless fight to punish these officers for doing what Finicum forced them to do.

Maybe he felt that he if were killed that would spur donations toward their defense. Maybe that is why the militia blogs pandered the “executed in cold blood with his hands up” scam… to get the cash flowing in. Maybe they wanted to stimulate another shootout with those remaining at the reserve, over the “execution” of Lavoy, and have multiple deaths to spur the movement on.

The FBI hostage rescue team families’ lives will be changed forever also, but by their own hands, as they withheld they had fired two shots through three questionings. This is mind-boggling, as SOP usually has an ordinance check for everyone and the recovery.

The only good that can come from this is for younger people to maybe learn how not to get sucked into these Jade Helmster scams with the legends-in-their-own-minds crowd, who have the poorest track record for doing anything for social movements in America. Lost in all of this is when George Bush (43) was elected, the largest militia in the country, the Michigan Militia, disbanded, as their man was now in charge, and the milk and honey times were just around the corner.

Comments can be submitted to [email protected] and I will post a sampling to weed out the militia trolls.


Managing Editor
Jim W. Dean is Managing Editor of Veterans Today involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews.

He broke into television work doing Atlanta Public TV programs for variety of American heritage, historical, military, veterans and Intel topics and organizations since 2000. Jim's only film appearance was in the PBS Looking for Lincoln documentary with Prof. Henry Lewis Gates, and he has guest lectured at the Army Command and General Staff School at Fort Gordon, GA.

He is working to find time now to database his extensive video archive of Americana and interviews filmed during his public TV days so individual topic segments can be key word searched to quickly use in future multi-media projects.

Read Full Complete Bio >>>Jim's Archives 2009-2014

17 Replies to “Lavoy Finicum – Suicide by Cop

  1. The point was not that it was proof. These are professional clues as to his state of mind and how dangerous he might be in an arrest situation. Do you not think the cops were doing psychological profiles on him to prepare the arresting officers what they might be faced with? That is standard policy in a high profile case like this when they have the time. Why did he take the women with him? That was pitiful. His God will be having a little chat with him about that.

  2. Can someone confirm that the shots hitting the truck after Finicum was shot were tear gas rounds and not bullets? The police behavior after Finicum was shot appears questionable (much more so than his shooting) based on the evidence we have seen.

    1. It is a bit confusing. There was mention of one bullet hole in the roof. I list that in the time line as you hear it strike. Most of the rounds coming into the truck after it stopped were gas ones. There was mention of several bullets fired at the truck but we don’t know it they were to veer it off the road or after it stopped. The light injury to the arm of one of the men appeared to be a cannister shell. They had approval to use those for a felony warrant where you know you have armed occupants. With no one in the car firing at them I serious doubt they would have fired live rounds blindly into the car. But we will have damage reports coming on those details.

  3. This is missing the main point, which is, what was the reason in the first place for the road block? At the press conference, they said it was to end the standoff and occupation of the refuge. That’s all the had a warrant for. OK, then why the hell get aggressive with these folks when they THEY AREN’T EVEN THERE?! Why not take the opportunity when the leaders go to another county to retake the refuge? They were there for weeks and no one stormed the place. A shootout stopping them from coming back, yeah, but this wasn’t about thecrefuge, this was obviously about getting someone. They were lawfully armed, driving quietly and legally down the road, on their way to a meeting where lots of folks and a sheriff were waiting for them. What reason did they even have for pulling them over, let alone a killing field. It’s not like they were running for the border!! A quiet public arrest would have been better, but no, somebody had to go all cowboy. Finicum knew someone was going to die as soon as he saw the roadblock and got pissed and said some things. Who wouldn’t? I figure the word went out to make an example, to kill the virus of waking up and saying no to authority…but it won’t work, you know. No one is going back to sleep no matter what they do.

    1. When felony warrants are issued the police to not hold a “Dancing with the Stars” game show to get a vote as to how the public would like them served, which is what you are doing here. They chose to server them out in the countryside for obvious reasons as it was the safest place to do it. Finicum did not want to go to jail, period, which is why I put his quotes in. His words are in evidence as to his motive. Your question is not even going to come up in the investigation and it is not germaine to what happened. Those arrested in the car, the men with their guns, there were no gun charges at the event. But some of the earlier charges involve threatening federal officers, and I don’t think these people were smart enough to get legal advice on what was a real no no to say. Their own bravdo ended up boomeranging on them. One of the first phone reports we had was from a refuge person that described how it is best to keep your mouth shut as then you can’t be accused of threatening anyone, etc. What we don’t know is how much evidence will be used from their cell phones, but all the details of who said what and why will come out. They did get grand jury indictments on them, and that will be followed by probable cause hearings, all part of the regular process.

  4. I disagree. It should be beneath the dignity of any armed person to shoot an unarmed person like, in this case, the person running from behind shooting him twice did. We can’t, and shouldn’t, murder all the dumb or crazy people. It is obvious that he was unarmed and his whole body was clearly in site of all police who killed him.

    It is against the Common Law to kill anyone unarmed and against the rules being of the Masculine Gender. The rash of insanity seen in recent police actions is an indication of the degeneration into cowardice of a whole nation who is quick to justify murder by Police cowards.

    I say NO to killing any unarmed person and forbidding any policeman from working in civilian police ever again who commits that act. No excuses.

    There must never be the application of the rules of war for a civilian population.

    1. Your believe system hinges on ‘hindsight’.
      Yes, if we know in advance that we can safely determine that a person was unarmed, then it is wrong to shoot that person.

      But what if you can not?
      What if, the person in front of you is a known gun-nut?
      Known to carry a weapon on any occasion but a baptism?
      Should you assume that today he went to a baptism and get shot for guessing wrong?
      Or should you assume his family is not that large, today is not that day and make sure you see another?

      Bare in mind, he was known to love guns.
      He was known to love guns.
      He was known to love guns.

    2. He wasn’t unarmed, and the people in the are were not unarmed. All of the men were armed and the weapons are in evidence. You are way behind the curve on this. There are guidelines on serving felony warrants on armed people allow allow for less hand holding than with unarmed ones. Arranging to serve the arrest warrants out in the countryside where were there less chances of others being involved, or having to deal with a chase situation. What you are not getting, is that this was a carefully arranged situation based on the authorities having had time to collect a lot of Intel in them. The only goof here is the FBI team hiding their shots fired. You are also guilty of “convenient exclusion” here. The Amon Bundy car warrants were served without incident because they acted in a totally different way than Finicum did. What happened to him is on his dance card. He is 100% responsible for his being dead. Save your concern for a real victim, as there are so many that get no attention.

  5. HRT has a long and very bloody record by which to be judged. Have we already forgotten Ruby Ridge and Waco? They’re trigger-happy, kill-crazy cowboys.

    I’m not disputing the facts Jim has presented here, but some of his attitudes are different than mine. I had my first ride in the back of a police car when I was 12 years old, was manhandled by the cops for a simple comment when I was 13, and my opinion of the LEOs has gone steadily downhill since then.

    1. Even the cops know Rudy Ridge was a travesty. These high profile bad shootings triggered huge public involvement and subsequent pressure on law enforcement training on where the line is, but which is not a perfect science. We had a huge advancement when technology made for the video quick shoot training, much of it for swat teams going into houses with families, kids, a perp using a human shield, multiple perps, etc. Officers were able to train for the split second skills needed to avoid mistakes. This was a huge advancement in reducing bad shootings. We have come a long way, but still have this situation where after car chases with large numbers of offices we see a 100 rounds plus fired where sometimes the perps do not fire at the end because they are dead. This “excessive fire” issue has always surprised me to see it continuing.

  6. It’s a tough one to call. Back when, I was sitting out back of a hooch with others ready to go home when some guy everyone knew had lost it, who was put on that idiotic, shouldered and unloaded walk-around guard duty by another idiot, apparently grabbed a magazine from a pack, yelled something totally nuts, and opened up full auto on us at close range, fortunately over our heads. In a pause we rushed him from two sides, one guy tackled him, grabbed the rifle, and that was that. I’m as pro-cop as it gets, but this one stinks, like the cops were already ordered to shoot to kill, and I don’t see why they didn’t close in further where a leg shot would be certain if they couldn’t tackle Finicum before he actually pointed a gun at them, which he didn’t come close to doing from what I can see. I believe there’s an agenda to demonize cops, set them up as patsies, maybe even involving some in the FBI, to the point a Soros can spend tens of millions on rent-a-rioters in places like Ferguson to demonize the cops trying to respond with restraint, but videoed with highly selective editing to play the goons.

    1. For your scenario to fit they then could have shot him when he first took his hands down and did his first draw motion. There is a long list of people who have been shot doing this and all cleared as justifiable. You cannot “attitude” that away because you like that version better. I don’t know of, or can even remember anywhere where “wounding” is the training tactic in a close in encounter like this. Yet they have been no marches, demands or legislation submitted to make that so. There is a huge pile of lawsuits and case law on this. There have been wounding shots taken is some cases, usually by snipers, but the officers have a long history of law backing them up for shooting when they “felt” they were in mortal danger. There has never been a case made were a perp is allowed to actually get his hand on the gun and be in the act of pulling it out before an officer can shoot him. In an armed felony arrest, any movement toward what may be going for a weapon allows an officer to shoot, that includes cases where a suspect did not have a gun, cases where the dashcam caught what happened. This is a slam dunk clean shoot.

    2. Jim, I wasn’t drawing conclusions, just wondering if there isn’t some chance this was a set up of the cops, too. You mention those LE targets in another reply, and I wonder if the Internet flogging of them wasn’t intended to make citizens so wary of their police they start giving them hostile looks and blogging anti-cop venom. Human nature being what it is, it gets reciprocated by cops, whose job is tough enough. And in these Sorosite race-war media events the black rent-a-rioters and white camera crews appear to be working together as a team, with the protestors as spectators, in some independent videos.

  7. VT’s attitude here regarding the murder of Lavoy Finicum is simply outrageous, wrong and without any real foundation. It is difficult to imagine why VT would take this pro FBI track…unless…

    1. It has nothing to do with attitude. It is simple plain Jane, run of the mill intel analysis, which many of us have done all of our lives. We don’t start with “attitude” as that has nothing to do with figuring out what happened. There have been lots of suicide by cop deaths for a number of years now…and the number of questionable shooting investigations, they can hardly even been counted. So there is a huge body of material that is used now in training when to shoot.There is not a shred of real evidence submitted that he was murdered, by any credible source. That is coming from Internet people with the “attitude” that that is what they want, and can’t be bothered with any evidence support. The inside the car video synced up with the aerial footage is a slam dunk. But we have seen this over and over with internet people. Once they are set on how they want it to be, they just ignore anything that discounts where they want to go. What the militia people will do now is claim that the investigation was all rigged. But we have caught trying to rig their murder claims on innocent law enforcement officers. You will never catch us running with the lynch mob crowd. That is not our style and never will be.

    2. I do not get why you would say that Cold Wind,
      If you’d followed all the reporting that VT has done on this issue with an open mind, then you’d realize that the reporting was done fairly and unbiased (mostly, continue reading).

      They presented the information that was available at the time (starting with witness reports, later the stills and finally the videos) and at each stage they gave you their interpretation using their experience and human knowledge.

      When they were not sure, they would point it out.
      They did think it was by his own doing and they called him an *rse for it, because it hurts the cause more than it helps. This alone should tell you that they were (if they had to pick sides) more on Lavoys than that of the government.

      It’s a shame you ask Jim to defend himself.

Comments are closed.