I-Team: Video shows exchange between Bundys and BLM officers days before standoff

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Earlier this week, a U.S. District Court judge dismissed the trial with prejudice against Rancher Cliven Bundy, sons Ryan and Ammon Bundy and Montana militia leader Ryan Payne.

The federal government claimed Bundy was a lawbreaker and that he and his supporters forced the Bureau of Land Management to back down in a show of force with weapons.  But the Bundys and their supporters say it was the other way around, saying the government was the bully and that they had to defend themselves.

On Wednesday, the I-Team obtained video that was a part of the trial against Bundy. The video, which hasn’t been seen by many people, is an example of how heated the interactions between the Bundys and their supporters and law enforcement became.

The video is dash cam from April 2014, just days before the armed standoff in Bunkerville. The Bureau of Land Management was set up to take cattle rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle which was illegally grazing on public land.

Dave Bundy, his son, stopped on the side of the road to take photos.  Two men who appear to be snipers are seen on a hill.

Ryan Bundy, Dave’s brother stopped in the area in a van, but BLM rangers told him to leave, and that’s when things escalated.

Cliven Bundy referred to the incident during a news conference in front of Metro Police’s headquarters on Wednesday.

“You guys think I’m supposed to just love what happened,” Cliven Bundy said. 

As they Bundy and his supporters stood in front of the sheriff’s office, they made it a point to say that Sheriff Joe Lombardo failed to do his job in 2014.  Bundy doesn’t recognize the BLM as law enforcement, and says the sheriff needs to protect him.

“The only thing I can say is we ask and hope that he takes that position seriously and if he doesn’t, I guess we will replace him one way or the other,” Cliven Bundy said.

The 71-year-old became a free man Monday when a federal judge said prosecutors failed to turn over evidence which could have been helpful to the defense, including information about snipers.

“I just spent 700 days in their damn jail.  I’m a little bit upset about that sometimes,” Cliven Bundy said. “Now, I have to make the decision whether I’m gonna be bitter the rest of my life or whether I’m going to forgive them, but one thing is for sure, I’m gonna go back and ranch.”

Earlier in the day on Wednesday, several groups spoke out against Bundy and his supporters.

“Apparently it’s beneficial to be both armed and white,” said Chris Charles Scott, American Values Network. 

Fawn Douglas is an activist and a member of the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe.

“I do believe the land should be protected and we have worked for a very long time to get protections in place for that area,” Douglas said.

Bundy says if the federal government moved forward to take his cattle again — if the sheriff won’t protect him — there could be another round of what unfolded.  In response to Bundy, Metro sent the following statement:

“The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Sheriff Joe Lombardo respect the federal court’s decision in the Cliven Bundy case. Mr. Bundy has his own beliefs and has the right to express his opinion.  The LVMPD will continue to follow the law and has no further comment on this case.”
 

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