OSP gets threats after LaVoy Finicum’s death

Militia spokesman LaVoy Finicum was killed along Hwy 395 on Jan. 26

LaVoy Finicum, one of the leaders of a militia at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Jan. 10, 2016 (KOIN)
LaVoy Finicum, one of the leaders of a militia at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Jan. 10, 2016 (KOIN)

ALOHA, Ore. (KOIN) — The FBI-released video of the shooting death of militia spokesman LaVoy Finicum did little to mollify those who already distrust the government. The Oregon State Police said they’ve received death threats from all over the US.

State Rep. Jeff Barker has introduced a bill that would temporarily delay the release of the name of the officer who shot Finicum. House Bill 4087 already unanimously passed the Oregon House Judiciary Committee.

“The superintendent of the Oregon State Police came to my office and said they had a real problem that needed to be addressed,” Barker, a Democrat from Aloha, told KOIN 6 News.

Aerial video provided by the FBI shows LaVoy Finicum being shot on January 26, 2016. (FBI)
Aerial video provided by the FBI shows LaVoy Finicum being shot on January 26, 2016. (FBI)

After talking with OSP Superintendent Rich Evans, Barker believes there is a real safety concern.

He said a threat deemed serious is one that would be “articulated to a judge. That is a real threat,” Barker said. “It’s not just someone shooting their mouth off.”

Complete coverage of the Militia at Malheur

The bill would give a law enforcement unit the option to petition a circuit court judge to temporarily withhold the identity of an officer for 90 days.

“A routine police shooting would not be protected by this,” said Barker, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. “You would have to be able to articulate a real, credible threat.”

He said most of these kind of threats pop quickly.

“When things are hot and furious at first, that’s when the danger time is. When people have a chance to reflect on what they’re thinking, they calm down normally.”

The bill will be introduced to the House floor as early as this week.

Late Monday, the ACLU of Oregon’s Kimberly McCullough told KOIN 6 News withholding an officer’s name should be narrowly limited.

That’s why, she said, the ACLU “successfully urged the legislature to make the following changes to the original proposal:”

— Adopt a higher standard of clear and convincing evidence of a credible threat
— Limit the time of withholding
— Not give the officer a right to a blanket ban on disclosure
— Allow parties to litigation to obtain the name.

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