Oregon Sheriff: Thugs At Federal Refuge Will Be Prosecuted

Harney County sheriff David Ward (image courtesy Amanda Peacher, Oregon Public Broadcasting)
Harney County sheriff David Ward (image courtesy Amanda Peacher, Oregon Public Broadcasting)

The sheriff of Harney County, Oregon has a message for the Bundy brothers and their buddies who are occupying a building at a federal wildlife refuge–once this madness is over, you will be prosecuted on federal charges.

David Ward told Oregon Public Broadcasting on Tuesday afternoon that he has been in touch with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and has been assured that “those at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge will at some point face charges.” While the initial protest may have been lawful, Ward reiterated that their current occupation is unlawful, and “they know what they’re doing is unlawful.”

He didn’t elaborate on what those charges will be. However, he told the thugs that they need to “work towards a better solution” if they don’t want to face more charges. The Cliff’s Notes version: “You’re going to be prosecuted, so cut your losses and end this now.”

Ward also urged the residents of his mostly rural county to keep the thugs at arm’s length. Apparently the militiamen’s egos are so swollen that something as trivial as giving one of them “a Snickers bar” is enough to make them go on national television with claims that the community supports their efforts.

In the interview, Ward discussed the impact that the occupation has had on the area. For all intents and purposes, life in the town of Burns, where the refuge is located, has ground to a halt. The town’s schoolchildren were supposed to return from winter break this week, but school officials decided to keep the schools closed until next Monday out of an abundance of caution. The county courthouse, as well as all federal buildings within the town, have also closed, and a number of local businesses have closed their doors.

According to Ward, these thugs’ actions have been a severe drain on the local economy, and “it will have an even greater impact” if they make good on their vow to stay in the refuge. That’s an understatement.

According to Ward, his main focus is protecting his mostly rural county, and deputies from all over Oregon have come to assist him. The FBI has taken over the handling of the situation at the refuge. He did, however, say that power has not been cut off there, contrary to numerous media reports.

So now we know these thugs are going to be prosecuted. Now the only question is how the FBI is going to turn the screws on them.

Darrell is a 30-something graduate of the University of North Carolina who considers himself a journalist of the old school. An attempt to turn him into a member of the religious right in college only succeeded in turning him into the religious right's worst nightmare--a charismatic Christian who is an unapologetic liberal. His desire to stand up for those who have been scared into silence only increased when he survived an abusive three-year marriage. You may know him on Daily Kos as Christian Dem in NC. Follow him on Twitter @DarrellLucus or connect with him on Facebook. Click here to buy Darrell a Mello Yello.