Finicum supporters hold memorial at statehouse

Posted at 6:32 PM, Feb 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-06 20:39:00-05

More than one week after the FBI released video of the shooting death of the man who acted as the spokesman for the Oregon militia, LaVoy Finicum, a crowd gathered outside the Idaho state capital to honor his life.

Finicum was laid to rest Friday in Kanab, Utah, just north of the Arizona border. He is being hailed by some as a hero who had no fear in standing up for what he believed in.

One of the speakers said at the memorial on Saturday: "We all need to put our differences aside, stand shoulder-to-shoulder and fight this fight together."

Those that gathered along the statehouse steps were there to pay their respects for Finicum.

The organizer of the event spread the word through his Facebook page: 1776 Revolutionist.

"We're just here to show the family support mainly because, at the end of the day, a man was gunned down," said Andrew Chavez, the event organizer. "They should have resolved it in a different way."

It is Chavez's viewpoint that the shooting was unjust and that authorities acted as the judge, jury and executioner.

The ordained minister who provided the opening and closing prayers, Russ "Thor" Ward, said he can relate to Finicum's desire to make a difference.

Ward is the founder of a non-profit called Riders Against Domestic Violence and Rape. He thinks more people should have the courage to stand up for what they believe in.

"It's the same with my organization, I'm there to make a difference," Ward said. "I'm not some communist, militant, terrorist person. I fight for the rights of other people."

The overall goal was to let Finicum's family know his name will not die in vain and that he has supporters in Idaho, many of whom never even met him.

Ward said he realizes that Finicum broke the law but thinks the situation didn't have to end the way it did.

"We're here to celebrate his life," Ward concluded. "He lives within us all and should live within a lot more people."

While some call Finicum's shooting death use of unnecessary force, authorities say the 54-year-old was reaching for a gun during the confrontation.