Rancher Cliven Bundy is planning to take the Bureau of Land Management to court following the armed standoff last month in Nevada over cattle grazing rights.
The Bundy family announced their intention on their website,
while claiming that "lives most assuredly would have been taken" if the bitter confrontation had continued.
The family said it had decided to take legal action after Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval failed to investigate "the crimes that were committed against" the people of the Silver State.
"It has been several weeks since the BLM's special forces came into the valley with guns raised, barricading our lands, stealing and destroying our property," the family said.
"The crimes and civil rights violations committed by the BLM are a lawyers’ playground. The Bundy family has been approached many times by well-known, highly effective lawyers from all over the country offering their services free of charge."
The Bundys said they had been reluctant to seek legal retribution for reasons related to their deep religious faith. But they had a change of heart when Gillespie and Sandoval failed to act in the best interests of the state’s constituents, the family said.
"They work for us, not the federal government," said the Bundys. "With a sense of sadness and duty we announce that we are assembling a team of legal advisers and will be seeking the wisest action in assisting the people in re-establishing individual protection through government.
"Our action will not be for the benefit of person or family. Any action taken will be an effort to protect individual rights and to restore the principles of the Constitution."
The federal government hired contract cowboys to round up Bundy’s cattle, which had been "trespassing" on lands that the government had designated a protected territory to preserve the endangered desert tortoise.
Bundy, of Bunkerville, Nev., has feuded for two decades with the government, which claims he owes $1.1 million in unpaid trespassing fees, while he says that the land belongs to the state.
Although the cowboys corralled 350 cattle during the weeklong confrontation, they released the animals due to the possibility of violence breaking out between the armed militias supporting Bundy and the federal agents.
Calling BLM’s hired cowboys "mercenaries," the family added, "In the six days they were present on the land, people from the community were threatened and interrogated for simply being on … public lands, others were beat to the ground, boot on head, hauled off while their families watched … with guns to their faces.
"Others were violently thrown to the pavement, gang tackled to the rocks, Tasered, threatened by guard dogs, and ultimately hundreds of lives balanced on the triggers of the BLM's special army."
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