In an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial board, Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie said that BLM-defying rancher Cliven Bundy must be ‘held accountable’ for his actions.
Gillespie said he had spoken with Bundy multiple times in the months before the BLM rounded up his cattle which were grazing on government land despite Bundy’s refusal to pay grazing fees. Gillespie said that he he made it clear to Bundy that, if there was going to be a protest, it must be peaceful.
However, the sheriff said, Bundy crossed the line when he allowed supporters, including armed militia members, onto his property to brandish weapons at police.
“If you step over that line, there are consequences to those actions. And I believe they stepped over that line. No doubt about it,” Gillespie said. “They need to be held accountable for it.”
Gillespie also criticized the Bureau of Land Management for their handling of the round-up, saying they were not properly prepared.
According to Gillespie, he requested that BLM officials hold town-hall meetings prior to the roundup, but those never happened.
He also stated that BLM officials told him they had a place to move Bundy’s cattle. Gillespie later discovered that wasn’t true.
“There was no place to take them to,” he said.
After a confrontational meeting with Bundy’s children a few weeks before the roundup, Gillespie said he became concerned.
“I came back from that saying, ‘This is not the time to do this,’” he said. “They said, ‘We do this all the time. We know what we’re doing. We hear what you’re saying, but we’re moving forward.’ ”
The sheriff said his officers are still policing Bunkerville, that he is still speaking with community leaders, and that tensions over the Bundy ranch stand-off have “died down.”
“I can’t say it’s business as usual up there,” Gillespie said. “I don’t think it’s ever going to be until this situation is totally resolved, in some way or manner.”
Tom Boggioni is based in the quaint seaside community of Pacific Beach in less quaint San Diego. He writes about politics, media, culture, and other annoyances. Mostly he spends his days at the beach gazing at the horizon waiting for the end of the world, or the sun to go down. Whichever comes first.
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