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The Ruby Ridge Incident: Abuse of Force or Standard Operating Procedure - Research Paper Example

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This paper aims to examine the Ruby Ridge incident. The Ruby Ridge incident presents a challenge to law enforcement officers in the United States and the world relating to the proper response and show of force in regard to the apprehension of terrorist subjects…
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The Ruby Ridge Incident: Abuse of Force or Standard Operating Procedure
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Download file to see previous pages The Ruby Ridge Incident occurred in a remote region of Northern Idaho in 1992 when a “siege” of Randy Weaver’s family cabin and prolonged stand-off with law enforcement officials led to the death of Weaver’s wife and son. The Ruby Ridge incident was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms, the Department of Justice, the FBI, the U.S. Marshalls, and Congress to determine if the government had made mistakes or acted improperly during the raid. Numerous mistakes in tactics were identified, including the de facto issuance of “shoot-to-kill” orders to commandos on the Weaver property. (DOJ, 1992) The strongest historical assessments of the validity of the ATF officers in the raid is the actual legal proceedings which failed to convict Weaver of any of the alleged charges that were the cause for the incident, and a further civil suit which resulted in the Weaver family receiving over $3.1 million dollars in a wrongful death settlement with the U.S. government. (Booraem, 1995)
The Ruby Ridge raid is complex and filled with civil rights and liberties questions, but these only highlight the importance of historical accuracy in the assessment. If Randy Weaver was an Aryan Nation member and planning armed terrorism in Idaho, the police response will be viewed in a different light potentially than if he and his family were peaceful, patriotic, religious people attempting to live an ideological life based on the American pioneer spirit. In reviewing the combined decision of the U.S. Marshalls, FBI, Idaho CRI, and BATF in the raid, as directed by the U.S. Attorney’s office and field officers, the decisions and tactics can be seen to be determinant on the actual identity and nature of Weaver’s alleged criminal or terrorist activity vs. the inherent right to presumption of innocence until proven guilty by the State in a court of law. Analysis The initial situation had the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms investigating Randy Weaver in Northern Idaho in order to infiltrate the White Supremacist group ‘the Aryan Nation’. (FBI, 1992) This investigation had been ongoing since 1989 when Weaver allegedly sold illegal weapons (“sawed-off shotguns”) to an undercover officer working for the BATF. (Linder, 2010) In 1992, U.S. Marshalls undertook what can be described as a tactical raid on the “Ruby Ridge” property in Northern Idaho where Weaver had his family farm. According to the Department of Justice Ruby Ridge Report (1992), “In August 1992, six marshals travelled to an area in northern Idaho known as Ruby Ridge to conduct surveillance of the Weaver residence in preparation for the undercover operation. During the surveillance mission, the Weaver dog discovered the marshals and began to bark. The marshals retreated with the dog, Harris, Randy Weaver and his son, Sammy Weaver, and other family members in pursuit. At an area known as the ‘Y,’ a gun battle occurred in which Deputy Marshal Degan and Sammy Weaver were killed.” (DOJ, 1992) After the initial gunfight on August 21st, 1992, where Sammy Weaver and a U.S. Marshall were killed, over 450 armed police ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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