A stream of calls, emails and Facebook postings continue to threaten law-enforcement officers and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown since the Jan. 26 shooting death of a protest leader during the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
SALEM, Ore. — Officials say threats against police and public officials that started within hours of the Jan. 26 death of ranching standoff leader Robert “LaVoy” Finicum have continued.
One anonymous caller threatened to kill Gov. Kate Brown the day after Finicum died. Earlier this month, authorities documented up to 80 threats against police officers and others, according to The Oregonian newspaper.
“We’re going to shoot to kill,” one anonymous caller said in a message left for Brown.
“You killed an unarmed rancher, so now one of you must die,” said another caller to her office.
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Finicum was shot by state troopers as he tried to evade arrest. He and others were part of the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
The governor’s office reported Friday that threats related to the standoff and Finicum shooting continue to come in against Brown.
One email demanded the release of refuge occupiers jailed on federal charges. It also demanded indictments for the officers involved in Finicum’s death. If that doesn’t happen, the writer said, “I am going to begin returning fire.”
Reports of Finicum’s death started the cascade of threats. They surged again when investigators earlier this month announced the details of how Finicum died.
State troopers, FBI agents and federal officials “will be murdered in retaliation,” a Tillamook County man wrote on Facebook days after the shooting. The man raged against police and urged that more of them be killed.
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, which investigated Finicum’s death, this past week released a sampling of threats collected by investigators. The threats contain sometimes vile language. Police redacted the names and other identifying information from the records.
Oregon State Police are investigating the threats.
Authorities learned in the past week that some people are aggressively hunting the identities of the troopers who fired the fatal shots at Finicum. An online radio broadcaster publicly identified a trooper, whose name and home address soon found their way onto militant Facebook postings. State police wouldn’t comment, but law-enforcement sources confirmed the trooper had no role in Finicum’s death.
Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris, who oversaw the Finicum investigation, said such acts underscore the need to continue to keep the officers’ names confidential. A bill to protect the troopers’ names faltered in the Legislature. The governor has said she expects their names to be released “in due course,” but she offered no timetable.