An FBI agent has been charged with making false statements to investigators probing the fatal shooting of an armed protester who took part in standoff last year at a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, court documents showed on Wednesday. Joseph Astarita was charged in an indictment handed down in U.S. District Court in Oregon on June 20 with three counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction of justice.
According to the indictment Astarita falsely told FBI investigators that he did not fire his weapon during an attempt to arrest Robert “LaVoy” Finicum on Jan. 26, 2016.
Finicum, a 54-year-old rancher who acted as a spokesman for the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge protesters, was shot dead by Oregon State police on a snow-covered roadside in eastern Oregon where leaders were taken into custody.
Members of Finicum’s family have accused law enforcement of covering up the circumstances surrounding his death.
(Reporting by Eric Johnson in Seattle and Steve Gorman and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Leslie Adler and David Gregorio)