The FBI is investigating last month’s standoff between supporters of anti-government rancher Cliven Bundy and employees of the Bureau of Land Management, according to a report from the Las Vegas CBS affiliate KLAS.
The investigation is reportedly related to the April standoff between Bundy and a heavily armed ad-hoc militia and agents from the Bureau of Land Management. Bundy, who owes more than $1 million in grazing fees and penalties after using government land to feed his cattle, refuses to accept the authority of the federal government. He and his approximately 400 supporters stopped BLM officials from taking Bundy’s cattle in response to his delinquency.
The FBI would neither confirm nor comment on the reports of an investigation.
Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie and Assistant Sheriff Joe Lombard both confirmed to KLAS that they were interviewed by FBI agents, as well as members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
According to one officer’s account, “You saw kids and women and horses in the backdrop and then men with guns, laying on the ground, in the back of pickup trucks. We’re going, ‘wow, this would never happen in Las Vegas,’ But it was there.”
On Saturday, Nevada Democratic Congressman Steven Horsford asked state officials to remove Bundy supporters from their camps near the town of Bunkerville, 75 miles from Las Vegas. Horsford had previously called for federal authorities to investigate the armed horde and confirmed he is aware of the investigation.
“Residents of Bunkerville and the surrounding community deserve to feel safe,” Rep. Horsford told msnbc. “That means holding people accountable who threatened federal officials with violence and ensuring we don’t set the precedent that lawlessness is acceptable in the West.”
It is a crime to point a loaded weapon at a federal officer.
The confrontation between Bundy’s supporters and federal workers raised eyebrows because the sight of hundreds of armed men staring down BLM workers and police is so alien in the age of stop and frisk searches and heavy policing.
Not all police are as willing to avoid violence as those at the Bundy ranch in April. The Albuquerque, New Mexico City Council met Thursday night to discuss what to do about the wave of police-involved shootings plaguing the city. Police officers have shot 39 people since 2010, killing 23.