PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon standoff defendant Ryan Bundy’s confrontation with sheriff’s deputies at a Portland jail stemmed from his fear that a bullet lodged in his shoulder would be surgically removed without his consent, Ammon Bundy said in a recorded message posted to the Bundy Ranch Facebook page.
In the clip posted late Tuesday, the jailed standoff leader said he was awakened early Tuesday by pounding on his cell door. It was his brother, Ryan, saying U.S. marshals were taking him to the hospital for a surgical procedure.
“He was calm but firm that they do not have consent to take the bullet out of his arm,” Bundy said.
Some sort of altercation followed. Multnomah County jail spokesman Capt. Steve Alexander said Tuesday that Ryan Bundy argued with a sergeant and was taken to the ground. Ammon Bundy said the jailers used unnecessary force.
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Alexander said he didn’t know where marshals took Bundy after the scuffle, but he was placed under higher security when he returned later in the day. Federal prosecutors declined comment on his travels or Bundy’s claim about the bullet.
Ammon Bundy said investigators want the bullet because it was fired during the Jan. 26 traffic stop that ended with the fatal shooting of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, the Arizona rancher who emerged as a spokesman during the weeks-long occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Oregon.
Oregon State Police troopers fired the rounds that killed Finicum, a shooting deemed justified because he failed to heed their commands and reached for his weapon.
As they looked into how many shots were fired and by whom, the investigators found a round in the roof of Finicum’s truck. Ryan Bundy was among those inside the vehicle.
The investigators discovered members of an FBI hostage rescue team who were at the scene failed to disclose they fired two rounds that missed Finicum. Prosecutors revealed earlier this summer that the investigation of the FBI agents is now before a grand jury.
“Ryan said he was shot in the arm before LaVoy left the vehicle,” Ammon Bundy said in the clip. “Ryan believes that the FBI were going for his head and when it hit the glass, it deflected to his shoulder.”
Ammon Bundy said his brother is willing to have the bullet removed, but doesn’t want the government in charge of handling the evidence.
“Ryan told them that if he consents, the bullet will remain in his custody and go through the forensic investigation by a private, neutral party,” he said. “They did not like his terms.”
Gerri Badden, spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Oregon, said prosecutors can’t comment on any matter in the pending investigation.
The Bundy brothers and six others are scheduled to stand trial next month on charges they conspired to intimidate Interior Department employees from doing their jobs at the refuge.
The armed group wanted the government to relinquish control of public lands and free two local ranchers imprisoned for setting fires. Ten defendants have pleaded guilty and another eight are scheduled to go on trial in 2017.
Follow Steven DuBois at twitter.com/pdxdub