Senate Criticizes Federal
Law Enforcement

Sleeping Monkeys by Mossman

"Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people."
Oscar Wilde The Soul of Man Under Socialism 1891


Hearings

From September 6 to September 14, 1995, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings relating to the Ruby Ridge siege.

Questioned about his extreme racial views, Weaver admitted he was a white separatist: "I'm not a hateful racist as most people understand it. I believe that if there is separation of races, scripturally speaking, that's what I believe is right."

As reported in the News and Observer:

"On Aug. 21, 1992, federal marshals shot my son Samuel in the back and killed him. He was running home to me. His last words were, "I'm coming dad,"" Weaver said.

On the killing of his wife, Weaver said, "She was not wanted for any crime. There were no warrants for her arrest. At the time she was gunned down, she was helpless. She was standing in the doorway of her home."

His voice broke as he described his wife slumping to the floor, their 10-month-old daughter still in her arms. Weeping in the audience was his oldest daughter, Sara, who also was to testify.

...

"If I had it to do over again, knowing what I know now, I would make different choices," Weaver said. "I would come down from the mountain for the court appearance."

Lon Horiuchi, the FBI sniper who killed Weaver's wife, refused to answer the Senate panel's questions, invoking his Fifth Amendment rights. Horiuchi's lawyer recommended that Horiuchi not testify because an Idaho prosecutor is considering criminal charges against Horiuchi.




Report

On December 21, the U.S. Senate Judiciary subcommittee on terrorism released its report on the Ruby Ridge standoff between Randy Weaver"s family and the FBI. The panel concluded that FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi"s shot that killed Vicki Weaver was illegal and violated her civil rights.

The panel criticized FBI Director Louis J. Freeh's "questionable judgement" in promoting Larry Potts after reprimanding him for his role in the incident. Potts and four other top FBI officials have been suspended while a federal criminal probe investigates the destruction of documents related to the incident.

The focal point of the Senate's criticism is the FBI's "Hostage Rescue Team," which originally only operated in foreign countries, is overtly militaristic and aggressive, and is used in situations where there are no hostages to be rescued.

The panel also criticized the U.S. Marshals service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) for their roles, saying, "While Randy Weaver made mistakes, so did every federal law enforcement agency involved in the Ruby Ridge incident."




Sources: AP news story reprinted in the August 15, 1995 San Francisco Examiner; AP story "Weaver pleads for justice, senators explore his views," in the September 6, 1995 News and Observer; New York Times News Service story "FBI sniper asserts Fifth Amendment privilege in Senate hearing," in the September 12, 1995 News and Observer; December 21, 1995 Associated Press article, "Senate report says sniper shot at Ruby Ridge was unlawful," reprinted in the NandO Times.

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