BURNS, Ore. (KOIN) — Ammon Bundy, the leader of the militia that overtook the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge as a protest over the prison sentence of convicted arsonists, said Monday his group intends to “help the citizens of Harney County” any way they can.
But the sheriff of Harney County told them to leave.
The militia is called Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, Bundy said during an 11 a.m. press conference. Shawna Cox, a member of the group, read a statement calling for an investigation into the case against Dwight and Steve Hammond, the ranchers convicted of burning federal land in 2001 and 2006.
Bundy said the group sent a “demand for redress” to local, state and federal officials.
They want a response within 5 days. Bundy did not say what the group would do if they don’t get a response.
Bundy said the group started to take action once they understood the Hammonds were put under duress from the federal government.
“Dwight and Steve Hammond are being forced to report to prison today for a crime they did not commit and they have been put twice in jeopardy for it,” Bundy said. “They have already served prison time for this already and they are being forced to go back again.”
But the Hammonds are not facing double jeopardy. They were tried and convicted, then the sentencing judge ignored the federal minimum sentence. Prosecutors appealed, and the Hammonds were ordered to return to prison to finish their federally-mandated sentence.
Bundy described the Hammonds as a “good ranching family”. He said Dwight and Steve Hammond shouldn’t be going to prison.