In a jailhouse recording released by his lawyers Thursday, Ammon Bundy delivered a stern message to the authorities currently waiting out the occupation at a rural Oregon federal wildlife center:
“Go home Oregon State Police. You have already killed enough,” the message, which was posted to the Bundy Ranch YouTube page, says. “Go home FBI. It is time to end this.”
Bundy is in jail in Portland, Oregon, where he has been indicted by a federal grand jury for his role in leading the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. On the audio recording, Bundy claims to be in solitary confinement.
“I ask the question, what are a people to do? This is what you get when government officials ignore the people,” Bundy said in the message, arguing that the occupiers had “exhausted all prudent measures to get government officials to investigate the abuses to the Hammond family.”
The Hammonds are the Oregon father-son ranchers whose jail sentences for burning public land prompted the protest that preceded the occupation.
“The results of government officials ignoring the people are acts like the takeover of the Malheur Refuge,” Bundy said. “Taking over the refuge was not only right, it was the duty of the people to do.”
He called the occupation a “needed action to show government officials that people will not be complacent when they prosecute and bully good families like the Hammonds.”
Bundy was arrested last week with a handful of other occupiers while en route to a community meeting miles away from the refuge. Another leader of the takeover, LaVoy Finicum, was killed in the confrontation with authorities that night.
In Thursday’s message, Bundy accused government officials of “attacks of force” and warned, “It appears that they intend to do it again.”
The message was a harder line than what Bundy — through his lawyers — had been expressing since his arrest. In a press conference last week, his attorneys said that Bundy wished for the few militants who remain at the wildlife refuge to leave.
Those militants who remained were among those named on the federal indictment, which charged the occupiers with a single count of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States.