Aftermath of Ruby Ridge

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Art Wolfe

"The Communist is a Socialist in a violent hurry."

The Economic Consequences of Socialism, I, 1926

The FBI and BATF received harsh criticism after the set-up and military siege of a rural Idaho family. In the siege, federal agents killed Randy Weaver's dog, son and wife.

Justice Department Report

The Justice Department's own 542-page report on the incident recommended criminal prosecution. The report found that FBI agents violated agency guidelines and overstepped Constitutional Fourth Amendment protections.

The Justice Department began investigating the matter in July 1993 after Weaver was acquitted of weapons and murder charges. The final report said the FBI's Rules of Engagement for the Ruby Ridge incident "contravened the Consititution of the United States" and "encouraged the use of deadly force."

FBI Disciplinary Actions

Deval Patrick, the Assistant Attorney General for civil rights, and Louis Freeh, Director of the FBI, took no serious action.

Larry Potts was the senior official in charge of the operation. Not only was he not prosecuted, Freeh promoted him to acting deputy FBI director. After two months, controversy over Potts' role in Ruby Ridge prompted Freeh to remove him from the position.

A total of twelve agents were disciplined. None have yet been prosecuted.

Civil Suit

On August 15, 1995, the U.S. Department of Justice agreed to pay $3.1 million to the family of Randy Weaver. Weaver will receive $100,000, while each of Vicki Weaver's surviving three children will receive $1 million.

The Weavers had sought $200 million in civil suits filed against the federal government.

Sources: Justice Department report on Ruby Ridge; January 10, 1995 Wall Street Journal.

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