Above Photo: Screenshot of Art Roderick.
“They’re not looting anything…”
CNN law enforcement analyst Art Roderick said that armed protesters who took over a federal building in Oregon did not warrant harsh law enforcement treatment because they were “not looting anything.”
On Saturday, Cliven Bundy’s son, Ammon Bundy, and a group of armed militiamen seized the Malheur Wildlife Refuge headquarters to protest sentences against two ranchers who were convicted of setting wildfires on federal land leased for cattle grazing. Both Dwight and Steven Hammond were re-sentenced to 5 years in prison for arson.
Bundy addressed reporters late Saturday evening, stating “We pose no threat to anybody. There’s no person that is physically harmed by what we’re doing.” However, The Oregonian reported that the group occupying the building has not ruled out using violence against police who try to forcibly remove them from the building.
Roderick told CNN host Brian Stelter on Sunday that law enforcement should not react with force to end the militia’s occupation of the federal building.
“The last thing we need is some type of large confrontation because that’s when stuff goes bad,” Roderick explained. “And I think in this particular instance, if we just wait them out, see what they’ve got to say, then eventually, they’re all going to go home.”
Stelter noted that many activists had pointed out that if the militia members were “Black Lives Matter protesters or if these were peaceful Muslim Americans [then] they would be treated very differently by law enforcement.” Others on social media have been making similar comments since the standoff began:
— Kwame Rose (@kwamerose) January 3, 2016
“This is a very rural area. It is out in the middle of nowhere,” said Roderick. “What are they actually doing? They’re not destroying property, they’re not looting anything.”
“I mean, there’s a whole separate situation going on as to exactly why they’re there and that will be worked out through the legal process,” he continued. “But I think now that they’ve taken over this location out at the fish and wildlife, this brings in the federal side. And I know the federal government has learned over the years how to deal with these types of incidences.”