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Oregon House Approves Measure That Would Shield Officer Who Shot LaVoy Finicum

Screengrab from an FBI video moments before the shooting of Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum by an unnamed Oregon State Trooper.
FBI
Screengrab from an FBI video moments before the shooting of Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum by an unnamed Oregon State Trooper.

Oregon lawmakers are advancing a measure that would allow law enforcement officers involved in fatal shootings to ask a court to shield their name for 90 days.

The bill is designed to protect the Oregon State trooper who killed LaVoy Finicum. The Arizona rancher was fatally shot as officers attempted to arrest him along a rural highway in eastern Oregon January 26. He was part of the armed group that occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Supporters say there have been credible threats against the unnamed officer since Finicum was killed. But some lawmakers, including Republican Rep. Carl Wilson, said the bill would establish a dangerous precedent.

"Will this be the camel's nose under the proverbial tent, leading to a point in time where we can never know the name of an officer who's been in involved in a shooting?” Wilson said.

The bill would allow a court to extend the disclosure ban for longer than 90 days if a judge deems the threat to be ongoing. The measure now heads to the Oregon Senate.

Copyright 2016 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman covers the Oregon state capitol for JPR as part of the Northwest News Network, a group of 12 Northwest public radio organizations which collaborate on regional news coverage. Chris graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He began his career producing arts features for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana and has been a reporter/announcer for NPR station WNIJ in DeKalb, Illinois. Chris has also reported from overseas, filing stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda.
Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.