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Crime, Law and Justice
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon House Approves Measure That Would Shield Officer Who Shot LaVoy Finicum

finicum_shooting.jpg
FBI
Screengrab from an FBI video moments before the shooting of Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum by an unnamed Oregon State Trooper.

Oregon lawmakers are advancing a measure that would allow law enforcement officers involved in fatal shootings to ask a court to shield their name for 90 days.

The bill is designed to protect the Oregon State trooper who killed LaVoy Finicum. The Arizona rancher was fatally shot as officers attempted to arrest him along a rural highway in eastern Oregon January 26. He was part of the armed group that occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Supporters say there have been credible threats against the unnamed officer since Finicum was killed. But some lawmakers, including Republican Rep. Carl Wilson, said the bill would establish a dangerous precedent.

"Will this be the camel's nose under the proverbial tent, leading to a point in time where we can never know the name of an officer who's been in involved in a shooting?” Wilson said.

The bill would allow a court to extend the disclosure ban for longer than 90 days if a judge deems the threat to be ongoing. The measure now heads to the Oregon Senate.