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Armed Rangers were brought in from out of state by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to assist in security surrounding the Bundy Ranch, according to the family.
A heated confrontation on Wednesday resulted in Cliven Bundy’s son Ammon being tasered by BLM officials and a 57-year-old protester being shoved to the ground.
Stetsy Bundy Cox, Cliven’s daughter, told the Washington Free Beacon that some of the rangers had Oregon and California license plates.
“You know, some of these guys don’t even know why they’re here,” she said. “A few people have talked to them and they got called in here on an emergency feed and they didn’t know what it was for, it just said they had to be here.”
“They’re almost like a hired gun,” Cox said. “Because what they’re supposed to do is they each have a road, and are told to stay on that road, and they’re supposed to keep people off that road, whatever means possible. That’s their job. They don’t even know how many cows have been gathered.”
The BLM did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
Cox said she spoke with an out-of-state Ranger who was ashamed of his job.
“I actually went and talked to one, he was in the back, nobody was even talking to him. He didn’t say much,” she said. “He had a huge big gun on him, but he didn’t really even touch his gun.”
“I asked him, ‘What are you doing? Do you know what you’re doing? You’re stealing an old man’s cattle, his livelihood. He’s a poor man that doesn’t have anything,’” she said. “And I said, ‘You’re pushing baby cows’—I watched a baby cow not want to move and a helicopter swoop down and honk at him till he had to move.”
Cox said the Ranger said, “No, no, we don’t want that.”
“But I saw it,” she said.
“‘Well, well,’ and he goes, ‘I don’t even want to be here. Do you think my grandfather’s proud of me? You think I like this? You think this is fun for me?’”
“Then what are you doing here?” Cox asked him.
“He said, ‘It’s my job.’”
As of Wednesday, 352 cattle have been removed from the public land ranched by the Bundy family for more than a century. An estimated 200 armed officials have surrounded the ranch, the culmination of a dispute dating 20 years over “grazing fees” and the protection of the “desert tortoise.”
In a statement Wednesday evening, the BLM and the National Park Service said safety “remains the number one priority for the operation.”
“In recent days, some peaceful protests have crossed into illegal activity, including blocking vehicles associated with the gather, impeding cattle movement, and making direct and overt threats to government employees,” the agencies said. “These isolated actions that have jeopardized the safety of individuals have been responded to with appropriate law enforcement actions.”
“Today, a BLM truck driven by a non-law enforcement civilian employee assisting with gather operations was struck by a protester on an ATV and the truck’s exit from the area was blocked by a group of individuals who gathered around the vehicle,” they said. “A police dog was also kicked. Law enforcement officers attempting to protect the civilian federal employee from the attack were also threatened and assaulted. After multiple requests and ample verbal warnings, law enforcement officers deployed tasers on a protestor.”
The Bundy family posted a statement online that the Wednesday confrontation began after members of the family were taking pictures on an unmarked road of “helicopters running Bundy cattle to death.”
“When we saw the BLM start to surround them we knew they needed our help so we didn’t have a repeat of what happened to Dave Bundy,” they said, referencing their other son’s arrest on Sunday. “We didn’t go there to start a fight we went to stand for our rights, video what was happening and protect those boys and gentlemen.”