In January of this year for almost a month, White militia terrorists occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in defiance of federal authority and law. The group received unprecedented cooperation and help from locals and law enforcement officials during the occupation even though they threatened violence. The militia was allowed to receive mail, travel freely and have internet access while many Americans decried the soft glove treatment they received. Later that month, the FBI initiated a takedown of the militia members, resulting in the arrest of ringleader Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Brian Cavalier, Shawna Cox and Ryan Payne. According to the FBI, the militia members were en route to a nearby community when they were stopped by law enforcement. A gunfight ensued and LaVoy Finicum was killed after police stated he was reaching for a gun.
The group faced a number of charges of federal felony of conspiracy to impede U.S. officers from “discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 372.” Yesterday, a federal jury acquitted Ammon Bundy; his brother, Ryan Bundy and three other people on firearms charges and conspiracy to impede federal workers. Two others who were acquitted were charged only with conspiracy. The federal jury couldn’t reach a verdict on a theft charge against Ryan Bundy.
During the dramatic court hearing, it was revealed that US Marshals reportedly used a stun gun on Ammon Bundy’s attorney, Marcus Mumford. Mumford, was arguing for the immediate release of his client and became so passionate that the judge ordered him taken into custody for a short time. The Bundy brothers and their father will still remain in custody, as they are facing charges for another Federal standoff that occurred at their ranch in 2015. During that event, dozens of armed militia from across the country confronted state and federal law enforcement officers to defend the Bundys.
There has been a rise in White militia and hate groups across the country during the presidency of Barack Obama. These groups all express a common belief that the federal government is overreaching in its policies and some even plot violence and sedition. In comparison, the peaceful activists in the Black Lives Matter movement have never promoted violence or engaged in armed confrontation with police. However, the movement and its activists have been vilified in conservative media and during the presidential campaign of Republican candidate Donald Trump. This latest court case shows that even in protest there are separate rules when it comes to Black and White activists in America.