Skip to main content

tv   Frontline  PBS  February 5, 2019 10:00pm-11:01pm PST

10:00 pm
on >> narrator:ht... >> i'm asking you to follow me. and we're going to make a hard stand. >> narrator: how one family's fight... >> the issue the bundy famy started more than 20 years ago. >> an armed standoff in bunkerville... >> narrator: ...sparked a movement... >> we did not anticipate these lehundreds of militia peop coming in, many of them heavily armed. >> i was convinced it was going to go south. it was that close. >> this became sort of thisry rallying cor anti-government extremists everywhere. >> narrator: ...and challenged the federal government... >> bundy took over the malheur national wildlife... >> that's exactly why we had guns there. they would respect us. and if we didn't, they would've tased us and hauled us off in paddy wagons. >> our number one priority was to resolve the occupatio
10:01 pm
peacefully. they had armed guards at the gates.th had armed patrols. they clearly intended to defend their position. >>arrator: tonight on frontlinthe inside story of an armed uprising and a movement that calls themselves "american patriots." >> frontline is made pe by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. and by the corporation for public broadcasting. major support is provided by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundati, committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. the ford foundation: working with visionaries on th frontlines of social change worldwide.on addi support is provided by the abrams foundation, committed to excellence in journalism. the park foundation, dedicated to heightening public awareness ofritical issues. the john and helen glessner family trust. pporting trustworthy journalism that informs and inspires. the heising-simons foundation:
10:02 pm
uncking knowledge, opportunity, and possibilities. and by the ontline journalism fund, with major support from jon and jo ann hagler. >> i'm the son of a rancher. that's what i am, and i don't want to be anything han that. my family established a homestead inhe virgin valley in southern nevada in 1877, and they began to run cattle.al ys dreamed about being able to ranch. but the federal government hasye turned its as modern conquerors, and focused on controlling the land and the resources.
10:03 pm
we are at a dangerous time, and i'm not just talking about ranchers.lk i'm g about all aspects ofhi whatnation was built on. >> narrator: when we met ammon bundy, he was facing the possibility of life in prison. had been called a hero and a criminal, a patriot and a domestic terrorist. ammon claimed he never wanted to be anything more than a rancher, but in 2016, he lead the largest armed uprising against the federal government in a generation.
10:04 pm
>> a modern-day range wais taking place right now in bunkerville. >> cliven bundy's fight againsth the fe ignited a firestorm of debate. >> dozens of armed federal ofcers are preparing for a showdown with a nevada cattle rancher. >> rancher cliven bundy... >> cliven bundy says other cattf ranchers were forced of the land, but he is refusing to leave. >> narrator: in e fall of 2013, ammon bundy's family lost a decades-long legal battle with the federal government. they'd been refusing to removeei thcattle from public land near bunkerville, nevada. o and owr a million dollars in fees and fines. for 20 years, the government had been trying to phase out ranching in bunkervie to deal with development and environmental issues. some ranchers shut dn, others
10:05 pm
took buyouts, but mon's father, cliven bundy, refud. >> my dad said no. and when they come and said they're going to take it anyway, he said, "hell no! you're not going to take away what my grdfathers passed down to me." he said no. >> the issue with the bundy family started more than 20 years ago. >> narrator: steve ellis was deputy director of the bureau of land management, the blm, which grants permits to ranc rs to graze their cattle on public land. >> the u.s. government is a huge landlord in the west. inherently there's going to conflicts and challenges for us in making decisions. blm was making a change mr. bundy's permit.je mr. bunded that and stopped paying his grazing fees and that started the whole thing. >> the blm was threatening to
10:06 pm
decrease his cattle operation to the point where there'd bein nothleft. but ranchers can't just stop paying their grazing fees. even as a form of protest, it'si icult to make the case that if you stop paying, you can still continue operating. so the only action the blm can take at that pnt is to impound bundy's cattle. >> narrator: the bundys declared a range war, d the blm finally sent in armed agents to oversee the removal of the cattle. >> rangers and agents from several federal agencies are preparing to move against rancher cliven bundy. >> the bureau of land management came in and began to build their compound, and it was built like a military base. i'm, you know, saying, "dad, i really want to be able to do something if you need me to do it." >> narrato as the blm was impounding hundreds of the bundys' cattle, ammon's brother david began filming gont convoys. (indistinct voice on radio)
10:07 pm
>> hey, sir! >> narrator: when agents ordered him to stop, he refused, as his older brother ryan tried to intervene. m >> i am going to take hith me. >> okay, he's a grown ma he can take himself, okay, sir? this is your first choice, sir, to leave, to leave? tm going to drag you out car, okay, here in a second. sir, sir, leave now. >> several mename down, threw him to the ground, and then they detaid him and took him to the compound. >> 18 turning camera off. bundy has left the area. my>> it was that night thaad said, "well, i guess it's time for you to come." when i dropped down into the valley, i couldn't believe what i saw. i pulled into the protest site, and, uh, there's, like, 40 or 50 people there. it was quite amazing to see the people unite. >> narrator: as he arrived in bunkerville, he found that ranchers from across the state
10:08 pm
had rallied to his father's defense.s >> tndy family, no more than just a good ranch family. there's a good example of whattr they'vd to do to them right here, on this deal right here, only the people have finay had enough. >> for the last years, they've been after the good guys. >> yeah. >> ranchers have been frustrated with the federal government for a very long time. they severely cut back the amount of time cattle can be on public lands. ranchers are always having to look over their shoulder and wonder, "when is my ranch no longer gonna be viable?" the bundys are among the last ranchers in clark county. >> (chanting): no blblm! >> narrator: as the crowds grew, protesrs confronted government agents. (protestors shouting) >> they body-slammed my aunt margaret to the ground. (shouting) th aney tased me. that was all caught on video. and then that video went viral and that's when more people
10:09 pm
started coming. >> i was very worried about thep cs of it. i thought, "wow, this is not good. i mean, the optics of this isto goine horrible." >> this skirmish quickly turned into an angry mob, andrs protesto were hurt. >> then he tased me again. probably because i didn't drop on the ground. >> we always knew the potential that they would not cooperate, but we did not anticipate those large numbers of people coming in. >> in the past, we saw similar activities of protest. but what's different about 2014 and bunkerville is that a bunchp ple show up to support cliven bundy who are not ranchers at all. >> narrator: cliven was contacted by a mitia group from montana, who asked to come to the ranch.an on facebook, his wife, carol, called for militias fm across the country to come and support them. c thght the attention of ryan lenz at the southern poverty law center. >> we track anti-government groups and extremist groups. we focus on both racial extremism and anti-government
10:10 pm
extremism, bh of which have been growing quite immensely in recent years. this image of ammon bundy tasered became sort of this rallying cry for anti-gernment extremists everywhere. i don't have to explain myself, because this is america. and i want all... e >> the first theard about bundy ranch was when the youtube video came out withbu thys getting tased and the aunt getting tossed by the federal agent. (gunshots) >> narrator: brandon rla, a marine veteran, runs a small militia in oregon. >> to come in as a militarized force against your citizen like this, that's when we the people, we say, "no, this is not what the constitution stands for," and we to remind our federal government that we are the power. >> people are coming in from out of state now to ho the federal rangers and many are armed. >> we bring you now the latest from the bundy ranch, where the militia rived in support of cliven bundy.
10:11 pm
>> within ss than a 24-hour period, i got my gear ready and made an 18-hour straight drive down there. and you had people from all over the country. and a lot of the people that i met were prior military, were still active military, and special forces, in different branches. everybody had a purpose or a reason to come, but it was all based on the fact that they know somebody is being ased, and something's not right. >> narrator: militias from around the country descended on bunkerville. >> the oath keepers, which is this group of formerary and police personnel, the three percenters who believe that they are prepared to fight the federal government much like our, like the conists were against the british. and so, bunkerville becomes this sort of petri dish of anti-government extremist thought. >> narrator: the bureau of landt manageme watched with increasing alarm as the situation escalated. >> we're surrounded by people
10:12 pm
with guns, these hundreds of militipeople coming in. many of them are heavily armed fromround the country. >> narrator: on april 12, the blm said they would stop rounding up more cattle. but that wasn't enough for cliven. he wanted all his cows back. >> good morning, citizens of clark county, nevada! (crowd cheers), good mornierica! (crowd cheer >> cliven basically says, "we're about to take this country back. and let's go get my cattle." >> we're going to go and take the rest of them out of the compou corrals up here above the freeway. (crowd cheers) >> and boom, they're off! >> let's get 'er done!ra >> nr: the bunkerville protest was becoming an uprising.g >> we're takinback our county, that's basically what's going tw happen, thenre going to take back our state. >> narrator: ammon and hundreds of protesters headed for the lot where the government hadd impoune family's cattle.
10:13 pm
>> narrator: we obtained videoor taken by lawcement that day. >> narrator: some of it has never been shown before. he >> twere all heading to this wash, where the main entrance was to the pen where the blm held his cattle. >> narrator: as the protesters converged on the cattle pen, law s forcement officers from a half-dozen agencierambled to hold them off. >> where you going to set up a triage area? >> behind the vehicles over here. >> okay. >> no, that's what i'm saying. >> once we were down there,
10:14 pm
they were in stacking position with their rifles up. >> we're afraid, because they're teing us that if we don't disperse, they're going to a open firnd that's what we believed that they wou do. >> narrator: but the militias were in position, too. >> anybody who went there was prepared for the federal government to take lethal action. >> i was thinking of how serious the situation had h become, how a very >> northbound lane has rifles. with scopes. th which one? >> northbound-- furthest bridge. >> the government had snipersmi and thlitia put in place counr-snipers. it was a level of tension and borderline violence. i was convinced it was going to go south, that it was that close.
10:15 pm
>> these swat teams knew these guys are out there there to defend, and they will whip your ass, we will die. nd >> bundy! buy, come here! >> narrator: at the head of the, crowmmon bundy confrontedm blagent dan love, demanding he release the family's cattle. >> we're staying here until ey're gone. that's what we're doing. >> blm, go home! >> what was going through my mind is, it is not worth it to have anybody hurt over 400 cows that they had impounded at that point. so i told them to pull out. and to pull out now. c (crowdheering) >> narrator: the bundys and their militia supporters had led an armed standoff, in defiance
10:16 pm
of court orders, and no one was arrested. thk. even got their cows bac >> the bureau of lan nagement was trying to root myda d off his ranch for 30 years now. for it to unfold thet did was absolutely a miracle to us. and amazing. >> they can gloat all they want. but everyone went home safe. and i also knew that eventually uld wheels of justice start turning, that that was not the end of it. >> narrator: the federalad governmentacked down. but it would spend the next two years trying to bring the bundys to justice. overnight, the bundys were thrust into the national spotlight. >> welcome to hannity, and this is a fox news alert.rn the federal gont may have surrendered in the battle against nevada rancher cliven bundy. (cheerin >> narrator: the discussion was asivided as the country itself. >> the law breaking rancher
10:17 pm
named cliven bundy has literally put the bureau of land nagement in the crosshairs of sniper rifles.nk >> f, i thought there was a lack of proportionality here by the government, and snipers and surrounding your ranch and taking your cattle, none of it made any sense. >> when the standoff at bunkerville happens, it is very much local battle and local relationship with the blm, but because of the coverage it draws from the media there are other people who will appropriate bundy and his cause and make it their own because it seems to support their larr message of out-of-control, tyrannical federal government. >> i'm worried about the lies that are told to us about the s, about what happened i benghazi, and the lies that sold health care. i'm concerned that the government is overreaching here. >> i don't think in any wayen clundy wanted to be the poster child for sean hannity or the far rit. i don't think he was particularly interested in any given political movement.
10:18 pm
>> narrator: the bundys wanted to use theirew platform to talk about what mattered to them. their belief that public land should be managed locally, not by the federal government. >> the fact is, the federal government have overstepped eir bounds and taken... >> narrator: but within days, an interview with cliven makingme racist cs went viral. >> cliven bundy, it turns out, is a racist. >> narrator: the backlash was immediate. >> conservatives stampeded away from nevada rancher cliven bundy. >> i believe those comments are downright racist. they are repugnant, they are bigoted, and it's beyond disturbing. >> narrator: from then on, ammon would be the voice of the bundy family. >> the people have the power. we want to unite. we have the power. (crowd cheering)
10:19 pm
>> ammon is smarter at not sticking his foot in his mouth. cliven stays on the ranch, but ammon is slowly building up a larger network of supporters through the internet places.r >> who has heard the story of what happened? >> he is beginning to export the protest across the interior west. >> narrator: with word spreading on social media, ammon was in demand as a speaker. >> so i began to pray and ige prayed lthan i'd ever prayed in my life. >> narrator: he and his family are devout mormons. and ammon spread his family message with the zeal of a missionary. he argued that under the constitution, the federal government has no right tori re ranchers use of public land, even if they don't own it. >> if we dn't have the constitution, we wouldn't have the federal government. >> nartor: he was becoming a leader in the so called "patriot movement". >> if people want to call me a leader, that's fine, but i'm
10:20 pm
doing what every person should do, and it's that simple. >> narrator: in his travels, ammon learned of a family in eastern oregon whose battles with the federal government reminded him of his own. >> two-thirds of the way up on that mountain, where you see the snow, that's where our cattle.. are >> narrator: like the bundys, the hammonds were ranchers who derepeatedly clashed with l officers over the use of public land. twenty years earlier, their fight with the government received national attention. >> hammond has become a virtl martyr to many in the land rights movement. >> narrator: in 2012, the hammonds were prosecuted for settings fires that destroyed federal land and endangered peop's lives. they claimed the fires were to maintain their grazing land l,d had spread out of cont but they faced a mandatory minimum of five years.
10:21 pm
>> the hammonds are longtime ranche in eastern oregon that had been charged with arson. their case went torial in pendleton, oregon, and that resulted in convictions. >> narrator: the jury found them guilty but the judge reduced their sentences. three months for dwight, one year for his son, steven. t, that didn't satisy th prosecutors. >> the law wasn't followed. so, that matter was appealed and they were sentence the five year mandatory minimium. >> two oregon ranchers must goba to prison for starting fires that burned on federal land. >> narrator: when ammon bundy heard the hammonds were going back to prison, he was outraged. >> we hear about the hammonds. this urge just filled my whole body. i felt a divine drive, an urgeyo that saihave to get involved.
10:22 pm
l ofarrator: so in the f 2015, ammon went to burns, oregon, a place, like the rest of harney county, that had fallen on hard times. chris briels used to be the fire chief here. m >> ioved here in 1978. burns was kind of ol; it was the place i wanted to be because it was away from the big city and all thean exus crazy stuff that goes on in the rest of the world. and so it was a safe and wonderful place to raise my kids. i thought. the economy was booming. there were a lot of peopleg woin the mill. there we a lot of loggers, a lot of truckers hauling logs. ranchers were ing well. it was a nice place to be. but now it's just a graveyard of industry, and it's definitely not the same.
10:23 pm
but i love this area. >> my name is ammon bundy. i don't live in oregon... >> the first time that ammon came to harney county, i heard on facebook, because we don't have a radio station here.f >> were abiding by the constitution, the hammonds would never be in the position they're in. if we're abiding by the constitution, these ranchers would be able to ranch without being in fear. >> i've always been involved with the community, and thought, i'm going to go out and i'm going to find out what kind of weirdos we got inur backyard now, you know? and then, ammon got up and started talking. ord(voice breaking): the was not pleased with what was happening to the hammonds... and i apolize for being emotional, i hope you guys can get past that. >> and i listened and i was just kind of transfixed. it's like wow, this guy is
10:24 pm
sincere. you know, he had found out about the hammonds and he had some real concerns. well, i'll be danged; this is a real cowboy. >> narrator: ammon took to socialedia, trying to bring attention to the hammonds' situation. >> what has happened to the hammonds will happen to more and more people. and it is that simple. d so i am asking you to come to harney county. we are to stand now and that we are to do these things now, or we will not have anything to pass on to our children. >> narrator: ammon's call to wtion was heard by many of the same militia membeho had suorted his family at the bundy ranch. >> when i found out ammon bundy had contact with the hammonds, i contacted ammon and said, "hey, i would like to help." >> narrator: after the
10:25 pm
bunkerville standoff, militias around the country had been energized, and brandon rapolla formed an alliance with other groups in the northwest. they called themselves thepa cific patriots network. >> okay, so, two mags of five.of >> two magive for now... >> narrator: joseph rice leads a ppn chapter in oregon's rogue valley. >> ammon bundy has drawn attention to the abuses by the three-letter agencies in the management of our natural resources. it started the discussion. it's why you g here. sitting (clicking) five rounds in place, transition to pistol, two rounds. (ammunition and guns clicking) >> i don't know any other way to describe what happened to the hammd family, other than... i don't understand what country weive in when it comes to that. >> when ready... and commce. fire! (gunshots) >> there was a need for people
10:26 pm
to be defended. (gunshots) >> cease fire, cease fire. >> narrator: two days before the hammonds returned to jail, ammon bundy and the pacific patriots network organized a rally in downtown burns. >> on january 2, the bundys and his followers hanized a rally in support of the hammond family. >> where's idaho? (cheering) where's oregon? (cheering) >> several hundred people showed up at the rally... >> we're gonna continue down this road to the corner ere the hammonds live.y everybody read do this? (cheering) >> ...and they marched through the streets of burns. (crowd singing "amazing grace")
10:27 pm
>> narrator: the marchers stopped in front of the hammonds' home. rowd singing) >> the most humbling expience that anydy could have. >> narrator: the march was supposed to end in the safeway parking lot. but ammon had decided to take thin further. >> after we rallied there in burns, what were we supposed to do, just go home? just say, "oy, look, you know, the hammond family will go to prison for five years"? you know, what are the peoe, just to go home? we had to stand for them.th e who are ready to actually do something about it, i'm asking you to follow me and go to the malheur national wildlife refuge. and we're going to make a hard stand. llow me! >> about 40 miles.>> t's about 40 miles! >> narrator: ammon and a small
10:28 pm
group of armed followers raced out to malheur, taking their fight to government owned land adjacent to the hammonds' land. >> no one anticipated the malheuoccupation. nobody really was expecting it. nobody knew whatt was. nobody knew how it would end. and, really, nobody knew how far the bundys would go. >> a really bizarre anti- otvernment protest is playing out on a rwildlife refuge. >> armed anti-governmentpr esters who've taken over a group of federal buildings. police are keeping theirst ce for now, hoping to ride this thing out. >> many of you have asked us for what is our name. and that would be citizens for constitutional freedom. our purpose is to restore and defend the constitution. >> they had armed guards at the gates. they had armed patrols that roamed the perimeter of the facility. they'd moved heavy equipment to block the roads.ly they clentended to stay and to defend their position.ar
10:29 pm
>>tor: but most of ammon's militia allies had stayed behind in burns.ki for them, the refuge was a step too far.en >> oregon 3 peis not going. the pacific patriots network iso nog. we respect the patriots and the people that want to go out there and do that, buts far as oregon and idaho is concerned, that's not what we're here to do. >> us and ppn and oregon 3 percent and the other patriot , groups and leadership sao, that's not what we're here for." >> i had no idea, i had no intention, that something this .astic would come from th >> the burns incident absolutely separated the patriot movement. what happened in malheur felt offensive. it felt like you're taking the fight to them, rather than defending somebody ee. >> narrator: ammon was left with a core group of supporters. many of them had been at the standoff in bunkervie. >> over the first initial days of the occupation, we were able
10:30 pm
to identify a core gup of leadership who were active in recruiting people to come to the refuge and communicating with the press. >> narrator: one of ammon's closest allies at malheur was an old family friend. >> lavoy finicum. i'm a rancher in northern arizona. >> we were aware of who lavoy nicum was. like ammon bundy, he was part of that leadership group. >> narrator: and like ammon, he had a following on social media. hello, everyone. this is lavoy finicum, one cowboy's stand for freedom. blm, here i am. you want to pickn somebody, come pick on me. >> narrator: the occupiersms braced tves for a showdown, but the fbi raid never came. >> when dealing with a situation like this, tactical patience is as important as good strategic plan. we had seen what had happened a year and a half or so before, and the tension and escalation
10:31 pm
that occurd at that point. >> narrator: so the fbi held back and waited. the occupiers traveled regularly between threfuge and the town, and the authorities made no effort to arrest them. >> it wasn't easy. it goes counter to any law enforcemt officer that you'll ever meet to stand by and watch someone break the law, clearly break the law, and be out touting the fact they'reki br the law, and not do anything about it. >> that's exactly why we had guns there. if we had them, they would respect us and allow us to speak. these lands, they needbe returned back the people. and if we didn't, then they would do what they've done to protesters all across this nation. they would have tased us, they would have sprayed us with mace, they would have put zities on us and hauled us off in paddy wagons. >> narrator:he standoff dragged on for days, and then
10:32 pm
weeks, as the occupiers issued demands. some of them posted videos of the negotiations with the fbi.e >> youlling me these people are afraid to talk to us. how can we overcome that?ay >> well, m, first you could eyme out and look us in th first, and you could give usyo real first name and your real last name, and you could be a true representative of the people, and that would start. that wld be a great start. >> their demands were that the fbi leave harney county, and that the conol of not just the refuge but all federal lands in harney county be returned back to the citizens of the county and/or the state. those are not demands that we could meet, nor are they in agreement in any way, shape or form with the interpretation of theonstitution as has been determined by the supreme court over many, many years. >> narrator: the fbi had set up
10:33 pm
a command post in a school, and e airport became a stagi area for tactical teams and equipment. >> the sheriff, state police, and federal government all of ac suddenated their force. then we realized, "holy crap." we needed to make sure that nothing bad was going to happen to ammon. >> narrator: the pacific patriots network decided to come out to the refuge. >> back up. you guys won't be allowed to come anywhere closer. >> narrator: they saidhey still opposed the occupation, d were only there to prevent an attack by the fbi.>> s we have seen with federal operations in the past, we don't want to see a wa situation occur here at all. >> they were always armed, and ey viewed themselves as a buffer between those who were on the refuge and law enforcement. i asked, "what do you mean by being a buffer?" and i never got a great answ. >> mr. bundy, to you right t there, it e for you to go home. (cheers and applause)
10:34 pm
>> narrator: in town, the residents were turning against the bundys. h >> was harney county impacted? it's like there was a big earthquake through the population. it shattered us. you know, it fragmented people, you know? there were families that were arguing over things, you know, and friends that weren't friends ymore. and people were in fear. ge >> you peoplt the hell out of here. you don't own a god(bleep) nut, bo, or nothing else here. >> narrator: almost a month int the occupationvoy finicum told reporters that he ssed the fbi's mood shifting. >> the tenor has changed, andey ave become more hardened.
10:35 pm
and when they step out of their vehicles, now they're stepping out with their rifles.o theyt intend on losing here. and we do not intend giving it back to them. >> narrator: the next day the fbi saw an opportunity to end it. >> on january 26 the fbi had developed information that a significant number of the leadership of the occupation was gog to be traveling from t refuge to a meeting in john day, oregon. >> we knew the route twere going to take, we knew the cars they were going to be in. n >>rator: two cars left the refuge bound for john day county, 90 miles away. an fbiurveillance plane followed overhead. ammon rode in the second car. his brother ryanlavoy finicum, and a militia leader win the
10:36 pm
first. at the last minute, they were joined by two women, including awna cox. >> i wasn't supposed to be in that vehicle at all. i thought we were going to a meeting, we'll be there for a couple of hours, and we'll be back. >> you couldn't let the occupation go on forever. so the intent of this operation was to get them as far away from s populated area as possib >> narrator: 30 miwn a twisting mountain road, the vehicles entered an area outside of cell phone reception. made their move.by state police, officers pulled the cars over. ammon bundy was finally arrested. but in the lead vehicle, lavoy refused to get out.tu >> i am noing off the vehicle. this is lavoy finicum. t you washoot me, you shoot me. but i'm not going anywhere. >> they had unmarked vehicles. we don't know who thespeople are. and we didn't want to get out of e vehicle. and that's why i pulled up the
10:37 pm
camera. i was defense mode. and our best weapon is our cameras. >> who are you? >> yeah, who are you? >> who are you? >> oregon state police. >> oregon state police. >> okay, well, i'm going over te meet the sff in grant county. usu can come along with us and you can talk witver there. >> no, you're going to turn off your vehicle. >> you can go ahead and shoot me. put the laser right there. put the bullet through the head. >> i could see the laser on top of lavoy's hat. we were absolutely afraid for our life. you want my blood on your hands? then get it done, because we've got people to see d places to go. >> right now you need to do what you're told. >> no, i don't. >> you need to back off. >> you need to back off. >> well, if we duck, and you w drivt are they going to do, try and knock us down? how much further we got to go? >> we got about 50-odd miles. i'm going to go. you guys ready?
10:38 pm
>> get down. >> then you duck down. >>et down. >> go. keep going. >> what about ammon and those ouys? >> we can't get ar him. i'm going to go get help. >> coming up fast. >> yeah, they are. >> hang on! >> okay, they're shooting. >> hang on! >> go ahead and shoot me. (gunshots) >> lavoy finicum immediately pops out of the car. law enforcement enge him, and over a period of several seconds give him commands to keep his hands up, stop reaching, stop reaching. but he reached several times in cket, and was shot by law enforcement., >> damn e they shooting him? did they shoot him? you assholes. m >> oh,y god!wn >> stay stay down.
10:39 pm
>> oh, god! >> stay down. (gunshot) >> god, keep us safe, please. >> please, please protect us, god. >> please god, god... please protect us, plea protect us, please protect us. we need help, we need help, we need help. >> did they kill him? (horn blowing) ci>> our most kind and graous father who art in heaven, we come before thee in honor and remembrance of our beloved friend, your son lavoy finicum.
10:40 pm
and we thank thee, o father, for his selfless sacrifice. >> narrator: the killing ofcu lavoy fimade him a martyr to his followers. >> he had become a beacon of light. >> narrator: but it wathe beginning of the end of the malheur occupation. ammon and his supporters were now in custody, charged with felonies. he and 13 others would snd trial in portland. >> we're not going anywhere, and we will continue to take our stand. governor kate brown isth responsible foe murder of lavoy finicum, for the murder of a cowboy. >> narrator: dory dae joined the patriot movement after lavoy finicum's death and ammon's arrest. she led daily protests outside the jail where ammon and his
10:41 pm
forfendants were being he trial. >> i'm out here protesting todav and ery day against thego federarnment on behalf of our american patriots. >> narrator: federal prosecutoro had d the most severe charge they could-- conspiracy to impede federal ems. >> there were not a lot of options in the federal criminal code for really addressing the conduct. there was no blueprint for what to do when people take over a wildlife refuge. clone could reasonably cone that part of the reason that these folks were there was tois keepand wildlife employees from doing their jobs. that it simply was not normal to have thousands of roun ammunition on a wildlife refuge in a workspace. >> narrator: the prosecution entered over 1,000 exhibits into evidence, from wiretaps, electronic surveillance, and informants. their case seemed overwhelming.i
10:42 pm
was unlike any case i've ever covered. >> many of you have asked us for, what is our name? >> you had an armed occupation of federal property that was broadcast.d it was documen the defendant's own facebook pages. >> it is a time to stand up and come to harney county. >> a lot of people thought this s going to be a slam dunk conviction. >> narrator: ammon's attorney, marcus mumford, came up with a strategy to turn the conspiracy case on its head >> all the way down. >> narrator: while theie prosecution to focus on the criminal charges, mumford was making a political case. >> from very early on in the case, it was clear we needed to show they were protesting, and they were not conspiring. the government's evidence was all about the ammunition. it was all about the guns. >> the notion that you have this right, or it makes you more
10:43 pm
patriotic, if you're willing to storm into a facility with your guns, that isn't how it's done in this country. (gunfire) >> narrator: this video, the only one of the occupiers firing weapons at the refuge, was a key piece of the evidence for the osecution. let in the closing days of the trial it was revead that an fbi informant d overseen the shooting exercise. >> it was one of the turning points in the trial when we brought up this issue of gornment informants. there had been a government informant who, it appears, wasec ically recruited and instructed to go to the rege in order to get video of these guys doing violent things. >> narrator: the fbi agent who led the investigation defended the use of informants in the case. >> there are strict guines.em
10:44 pm
law enforct is not allowed, nor would they ever send in an informant to instigate any criminal activity. one of the things that i think needs to be crystal cleain any event like this-- that law enforcement is going to use any tool in their toolbox that they can to bring a situation like this to a peaceful conclusion. >> the case itself from the government side was one thing. of course our presentation of the case was, this is government overreach. and the trial itself becaman example of it. >> ammon bundy! ryan bundy! >> narrator: as the seven-week trial came to an end, protesters continued their vigils outside the ja.
10:45 pm
>> narrator: then, in late october, a verdict that shocked the city. >> it was a pretty jaw-dropping. verd everyone has been acquitted. >> seven former malheur refugeve occupiers een found not guilty. >> the jury foreman, he looked at me and i looked at him, and i gave him nod. and that was the best i could da atpoint for saying thank you. >> narrator: the jurorsn hadn't bnvinced the occupation was the conspiracy the government laid out. >> we received the verdict. it was surprising, in the almost two decades that i've been handling iminal cases as a prosecutor, it has gotten more difficult with federal law enforcement like fbi agents, because there seems to be, from our vantage point, more distrust of those institutions. >> t problem with the acquittals is that it seems the
10:46 pm
bund won twice. what it said was that you can go in, terrorize the community around you, and walk away scot- free. >> narrator: but ammon's victory would be short lived. deral prosecutors in nevada had finally filed their own charges against him and his family for the bunkerville standoff. and as the verdict wasead, marshals were there to take him back to face charges. marcus mumford started to protest. >> so i'm arguing with the marshals, and we're having this conversation about, "well, if you have the order, show it to me, if not, he should be free to go." and at that point a l came up and just grabbed me. all of them surrounded me at the same time, put their hands on me and just, you know, started to pull my hands behind my back. then they put me down on the floor. i was on my belly. they tased me. they put the stun gun on me, and they hit me with it. >> narrator: mumford was f arrest creating a disturbance in the court.
10:47 pm
the charges were later dropped, and ammon would be transferred to a prison in nevada. it turned out the fbi had been atrying to build its casegainst ammon and his family ever since the standoff in 2014. shortly after thstandoff had ended, the fbi infiltrated the family ranch. (phone ringing) >> hello, bundys. >> may i ask who's calling? nd >> okay, just a selet me get to him. >> narrator: they posed as alm documentary ompany, longbow productions, and filmed over sever months. the footage has not been broadcast before, and we've concealed the undercover agents' identities and voices. >> this is ammon bundy. w are you doing? >> i don't know if you could tell; there's a little level of you know, uncomfortable, and
10:48 pm
just wanted to make sure that we're all on the same page. ke >> so we looyou up online, and we found just a pretty sile website. >> i think i've... got what i wanted, so i feel a lot more comfortable about it. >> i never did once think i'd have to take a life. i was never armed. >> narrator: in the interviews, they wanted to know who planned the standoff, and who was in charge. >> so, at the circumstance, or just in general? >> my dad was really skeptical, you kn, he really was. then i end up basically talking
10:49 pm
my family into it.u and so, ow, they went to our home. >> can you hear me now? testing, testing >> i think about that. the whole time my mom's in there cooking for them, and they're plotting to destroy our family. >> narrator: the fbi also used its access to the bundy familymi to convince litia members to talk. one of them was greg burleson, who had been at the standoff. >> right. on that note, i'd like another shot. (laughing) >> dead bodies, literally.
10:50 pm
>> once we set up a perimeter, anything that comes into thete peri- it doesn't matter if we're up at the bundy ranch, or if we're out in the southern c desert-- if es into our perimeter, if it's not a friendly, it dies. >> narrator: the fbi declined to comment on the operation.os but federal utors used some of the footage to help convict burleson of eight arges, including threatening and assaulting a federal officer. he was sentenced to 68 yea in prison. >> i can't tell you that. >> i can't tell you that. >> if we don't stand now, we will never get our lands back. >> narrato the footage is also part of the case against the bundy family. >> is this an interview and a documentary, or is this an interrogation? that was basically our question.
10:51 pm
>> narrator: as the bundys awaited trial, once again protesters gathered, this time, outside the gates of the private prison in nevada noere they were being held. >> truth is out anwe know, let the political prisoners go! >> today, it's the bundys; tomorrow it's you. >> today, it's the bundys; tomorrow, it's you. (cheering) >> narrator: the bundys had galvanized the so-called "patriotovement", and chanled anti-government sentiment that continues. >> just as you granted a big miracle for us in portland. we know that you have miracles for us here. amen. >> amen. >> now if convicted, the bundys faced decades behind bars >> yeah, my dad's 70 years old. it's a dea sentence to him. you know, my brothers, it's all of us. all of us will be dead before they let us go. as much as i hope that we are found not guilty, and i get to
10:52 pm
go home to my family, i don't think it'll matt. i believe that what we have done has made a difference, and will contue to make a difference. >> when tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty! >> whether we agree or disagree even with thbundys, we all are victims when this is allowed to take place. when there is this kind of breach of the rule of law, we're all harmed. >> narrator: in november 2017, a surprise. >> ...ammon bundy is out of jail today... >> facing charges stemming from a 2014 armed standoff... >> narrator: the judge ordered' that the bu's could be released while their trial was under way. >> we suffered for 2 yrs trying to tell the world that what happened there was not what
10:53 pm
the governments been saying happened. >> narrator: weeks laterge all the chs against thesm bundys were dised. >> narrator: allegations swirled around this reservation doctor for year >> when i went downstairs was when i was floored because of what i saw there a lot of items that boys would play with. n >>rator: frontline and the wall street journal investigate the government's failure to stop decades of abuse. >> why protect a pedophile? ?f they knew about it why did they protect him >> narrator: despite the warnings... >> what kind of cover up is this?ve this inva lot of people in a lot of high places. >> go to pbs.org/frontline for a special inside look at the d vernment's struggle to deal with the bundys e militia movement. >> you need to leave. that's-that's... >> and i'm telling you you need to de-escalate the situation. >> learn more about the groups at the center of today's militia movement... >> and we have to remind our federal government that we are
10:54 pm
the power. >> then visit our watch page, where you can stream more than frontlin documentaries. connect tohe frontline community on facebook and twitter, then sign up for our newsletter at pbs.org/frontline. >> frontline is made possible bi cotions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. and by the corporation for public broadcasting. su majoort is provided by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, committed to buildg a more just, verdant and peaceful world. the ford foundatiois working withnaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. additional support is provideds by the abrundation, committed to excellence in journalism.th park foundation, dedicated to heightening public awareness of critical issues. the john and helen glessner family trust. rmpporting trustworthy journalism that inand inspires. the heising-simons foundation: unlocking knowledge, opportunity, and possibilities. and by the
10:55 pm
frontline journalism fund,or with mupport from jon and jo ann hagler. captioned by mea access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org , for more on this and other "frontline" prograsit our website at pbs.org/frontline. ♪ fr to ordertline's" "american patriot" on dvd visit shop pbs or call 1-800-play-pbs. this program is also available on amazon prime video. ♪
10:56 pm
you're watching pbs ♪ ♪ -you've said you'd favor middle-class tax cuts. -the front line is just up here. that's where the river... -she took nd out to those wet -i think we're off to a great start. ♪
10:57 pm
10:58 pm
10:59 pm
11:00 pm
narran this episode of "earth focus," the most basic human need is also its most precioucommodity. in california's central valley, home to 19% of the food production in the world, many live without clean drinking water while at the edge of morocco's sahara region, harvesting water from fog has the potential to deeply impact a culture.am a focus ring clicking] [shutter clicking]

152 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on