Federal rangers allegedly used a stun gun on the son of a defiant Nevada rancher fighting a cattle roundup during a tense confrontation — caught on video — in which authorities used dogs and pointed electroshock weapons to keep screaming protesters at bay.
"You want to tase me? Go ahead," Ammon Bundy, a son of rancher Cliven Bundy, shouted during the Wednesday scuffle, later claiming he was stunned twice, CBS affiliate KLAS-TV reports.
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Margaret Bundy-Houston, Cliven Bundy’s sister, said a federal parks ranger hit her with a car that knocked her to the ground.
"I'm shook up, my hand's cut, my knee's you know, banged up," she told the television station.
Since the roundup of “trespass cows” began Saturday, there’s been just one arrest – of another Bundy son, Dave, who was jailed on Sunday and released the next day. His mother, Carol Bundy, alleged he was roughed up by BLM police.
In a startling video
loaded onto YouTube, law enforcement officers are seen holding yellow stun guns and leashed barking dogs as trucks involved in the roundup try to drive through State Route 170 in the community of Bunkerville, Nev., Wednesday.
The Bureau of Land Management has shut down a 1,200-square-mile area while contractors gather about 900 cattle officials say are trespassing on the fragile habitat of an endangered desert tortoise. Cliven Bundy says the land doesn’t belong to the government, and has been used by his cattle-ranching family since the late 1800s.
So far, 352 cattle have been rounded up, the Las Vegas Review Journal
Hours after the stun gun confrontation, residents poured into a town meeting, giving Cliven Bundy a standing ovation, KLAS-TV reported.
"I love you people. And I love this land, and I love freedom and liberty," he told them, the station reported.
The BLM and U.S. Park Service issued a statement confirming the vehicle incident, and justifying it.
“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,” the agencies said, The Blaze reports.
Protesters, many of whom have traveled from neighboring states to form “militias” in support of the rancher, have “crossed into illegal activity,” the statement added, claiming demonstrators are “blocking vehicles associated with the gather, impeding cattle movement, and making direct and overt threats to government employees.”
“These isolated actions that have jeopardized the safety of individuals have been responded to with appropriate law enforcement actions,” the agencies said.
Three militia members were at the Bundy ranch to protect the family, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported.
“We need to be the barrier between the oppressed and the tyrants,” Ryan Payne of the West Mountain Rangers in Montana told the newspaper. “Expect to see a band of soldiers.”
The feud between the Bundy family and the BLM dates back to 1993, when officials yanked his grazing rights. Bundy, who has long since stopped paying fees to use the grazeland, claims his Mormon family’s 19th century melon farm and ranch operation in surrounding areas predates creation of the BLM in 1946.
The bitter standoff, according to The Associated Press, is seen by some as the latest battle over state and federal land rights in a state that has fought that battle before, including the Sagebrush Rebellion of the 1970s and ’80s.
Nevada, where various federal agencies manage or control more than 80 percent of the land, is among several Western states where ranchers have challenged federal land ownership.
But Cliven Bundy has compared the situation
to the fatal 1992 standoff at Ruby Ridge, Idaho and the 1993 raid on David Koresh's Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, which ended with 82 deaths.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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