Earlier this year, seven armed citizens took over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon and caused a standoff with authorities that lasted for more than a month as part of their anti-government, pro-militia agenda. Now, they’ve all been acquitted for that crime.
Ammon and Ryan Bundy and three of their accomplices were found not guilty of firearms charges and conspiracy to impede federal workers, according to CNN. Two other people were only charged with conspiracy.
Ammon and his followers felt that their armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was legal and justified act of civil disobedience against the government.
“I was thrilled. We all knew we weren’t guilty,” Neil Wampler, one of the defendants, told KOIN.
If convicted, the more serious charge of conspiracy to impede federal workers would have resulted in a maximum six years in prison.
The trial came to a dramatic head when Bundy’s attorney, Marcus Mumford, was tackled to the ground by US marshals after demanding that his client be released from custody. He was briefly held in contempt.
Ammon and Ryan still have to go to trial for federal charges for a standoff on their ranch in 2014.
Many who watched the situation play out this past January and February are concerned over a double standard that this case continues to support. While unarmed people of color across the country are being attacked by authorities – and the officers are rarely convicted, if even indicted – a group of white militants can get into an armed conflict with authorities and be acquitted.
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