“I firmly believe that our communities and state are stronger because of our shared experience responding to and litigating the armed occupation of the Malheur National WildlifeRefuge,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “I want to sincerely thank the countless federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officials that played a role in bringing these eighteen defendants to justice. Our message is clear,” continued Williams, “taking up arms because you don’t like how things are done will never be accepted as a lawful way to protest here in Oregon or elsewhere.”
“The U.S. Constitution granted Americans both rights and responsibilities. With state, local and tribal partners, the FBI responded to this armed takeover by defending the rule of law and protecting the people of Harney County. We stand with Oregonians committed to finding peaceful solutions and will always work to protect our communities from violent conflict,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon.
Beginning on January 2, 2016, Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, and several dozen followers, seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon in Harney County. For forty-one days, the armed occupiers prevented federal officials from performing their official duties at the refuge by force, threats, and intimidation. The Bundys and several other occupiers, were arrested on January 26, 2016, on U.S. Highway 395 near Burns en route to a community meeting in John Day, Oregon. The occupation officially ended on February 11, 2016 when the last four occupiers turned themselves in to federal authorities.