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Bill to shield cop who killed LaVoy Finicum falters in Senate

by DAVE KILLEN The Oregonian, in Herald and News Feb 26, 2016

Robert "LaVoy" Finicum< Robert “LaVoy” Finicum during an interview with The Oregonian inside one of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge buildings in January.
Oregonian photo by Dave Killen

SALEM — A bill to shield the identity of the officer who killed Oregon standoff spokesman LaVoy Finicum probably won’t clear the Senate before session ends.

“It’s a complicated issue, and there’s not a lot of time,” said Senate President Pro Tem Diane Rosenbaum, D-Portland, who chairs the rules committee where the bill is parked. The bill passed the House 55-3 on Feb. 17 and is waiting for its first hearing.

“Things can change, but right now it’s not scheduled,” Rosenbaum said.

House Bill 4087 would conceal the identity of an officer who uses deadly force for up to 90 days. A judge could only issue an order if there’s an imminent, specific threat to an officer’s life.

And there are many for the officer who shot Finicum, according to Rep. Jeff Barker, D-Aloha, who introduced the measure at the request of Oregon State Police.

Supporters say it is critical to protect the Oregon State Police officer who shot Finicum last month. But some civil liberties and advocates and media groups worry it could be used to protect police misconduct in perpetuity.

Finicum, 54, was killed Jan. 26 along a wooded stretch of highway 20 miles north of Burns. The Arizona rancher was driving three other militants to a community meaning in John Day, nearly a month after the group seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters.

An aerial FBI video shows Finicum exit his Dodge Ram pickup with his hands raised, then appear to reach for a pocket on the left side of his jacket before getting gunned down. Police said he had a 9mm semi-automatic handgun


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