Bundy’s Son Arrested In Roundup Incident, Public Protest Results


Moapa Valley Progress

Editor’s Note: Parts of this article first appeared on the PROGRESS website at www.mvprogress.com on Sunday evening, April 6.

Participants came from all over the region to a protest rally at the Bundy Ranch on Monday morning to show support for embattled Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy. PHOTO BY STEPHANIE BUNKER/Moapa Valley Progress.

A son of Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy was arrested on Sunday afternoon in connection with the cattle roundup currently ongoing by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on nearly 600,000 acres of public land in northeastern Clark County.

Dave Bundy, 37, was taken into custody by BLM officers while he was standing along the north side of State Route 170 between Bunkerville and Riverside, taking video footage of cattle that were grazing along the Virgin River down below.

According to Dave’s brother, Ryan Bundy, several members of the family had gone out for a drive in several vehicles to try to monitor the ongoing federal action to roundup their father’s cattle from the range. They were not travelling on recently restricted federal land, but were travelling along the state highway looking north across the valley for signs of cattle, Ryan Bundy said.

Tensions have been high in the region over the past two weeks as federal agents have moved in to the area to remove what they are calling ‘trespass cattle’ belonging to Cliven Bundy.

The cattle roundup is part of a dispute that has been going on for more than 20 years. Bundy has insisted that he does not need to recognize federal government jurisdiction on land that his family has used, improved and ranched since the late 1800s.

Federal officials have ordered Bundy to remove his livestock from a grazing allotment that was retired back in 1999 out of concern for the federally-protected desert tortoise.

Lawsuits have been ongoing back and forth in the federal courts. Last fall, a series of federal court orders required Bundy to remove his cattle within 45 days. If he did not, the federal agencies were authorized to seize any cattle left on the land and Bundy was expressly forbidden to interfere.

On March 27, BLM officials announced a temporary closure of roughly 300,000 acres including everything on the eastern bench of the Moapa Valley, the Mormon Mesa, Virgin Peak range, Bunkerville Flats area and much of what is being called the Gold Butte complex.

Seizure of the Bundy cattle began on Saturday, April 5. By the end of the first day, contract cowboys had removed 76 head of cattle from the area south of the Virgin Peak range, according to a BLM statement. Another 58 were removed on Sunday.

A large number of BLM law enforcement officers have been dispatched to the area to assist and provide protection to the contractors during the operation. BLM officials will not say just how many of these officers are on the ground. But they insist that these forces are necessary, given the tension in the area regarding this action.

“Mr Bundy has created a larger burden to the taxpayers through his statements,” said National Park Service spokeswoman Christie Vanover during a press conference call held Sunday afternoon. “He has said that he will ‘do whatever it takes’ and that his response to the impound will ‘have to be more physical’. When threats are made that could jeopardize the safety of the American people, the contractors and our personnel; we have the responsibility to provide law enforcement to account for their safety. The greater the threats, the more security that is needed to provide public safety and the greater the cost to the American taxpayer. We are hopeful that lawful protests don’t escalate to illegal activity.”

But the Bundys insist that Dave’s behavior along the highway on Sunday afternoon had not escalated to illegal activity.

“He was doing nothing but standing there and filming the landscape,” Ryan Bundy said. “We were on the state highway, not even off of the right-of-way. Even if they want to call [the area that we were filming] federal land; which it’s not; we weren’t even on it. We were on the road.”

Bundy said that several of his family members had gone out in four different vehicles. They were parked along the north side of the road about 200 yards apart, he said. David Bundy had gotten out of his car to film the cattle grazing on the distant landscape below.

Suddenly a large number of BLM vehicles came down and surrounded the area, Ryan Bundy said.

“I counted, they had 11 vehicles all with at least two agents in each one, maybe more,” he said. “They also had four snipers on the hill above us all trained on us. We were doing nothing besides filming the area.”

None of the occupants in the four Bundy family vehicles were carrying any fire arms, Bundy said.

Over their vehicle loudspeakers, the BLM officers ordered the family to leave the area, Bundy said.

“They said that we had no first amendment rights except for up by the bridge where they had established an area for that,” Bundy said.

The BLM has established two fenced areas near the City of Mesquite, that they have designated as free speech areas for members of the public to express their opinions.

The family began to pull away from the roadside area in accordance with the order from the BLM officers. But Dave Bundy was out of his car at the time and didn’t immediately return to his vehicle, Ryan Bundy said.

“He was filming and talking on the phone, I don’t know to whom,” Ryan Bundy said. “It happened pretty fast. They came down on him hard and had a German Shepherd on him. And then they took him.”

Ryan said that his vehicle, which had been stopped several hundred yards behind that of his brother, had by this time approached close to the scene of the arrest.

“I stayed and witnessed the whole thing,” he said. “I told them that I was not going to engage them and that I just wanted to take my brother with me. But they were pushing, pushing, pushing! So I did stay there long enough to witness the whole thing, about 10 feet away from me.”

BLM officials, in response to questions submitted by the Progress on Sunday evening, stated via email that an arrest had been made. But the email gave few details.

“An individual is in custody in order to protect public safety and maintain the peace,” the email states. “The individual has rights and therefore details about the arrest will not be disclosed until and unless charges are filed.”

The incident spurred a public protest event which began at the Bundy Ranch on Monday morning. Over 100 people gathered at the ranch to show support to the Bundy family.

On Sunday evening, Cliven Bundy had sent out an ominous announcement to the regional press promising a range war and inviting the press to cover it the following morning.

“Press – if you are going to cover this you’d better come!” Bundy’s email stated. “We are goingt o get the job done!”

But the Monday morning rally remained a respectful and peaceful protest. The group displayed posters, listened to speakers and began raising a large banner on private land near the Riverside bridge which crosses the Virgin River.

In attendance at the rally was U.S. Congressional candidate, Assemblyman Cresent Hardy and State Assembly candidate Laura Bledsoe.

“It was a good turnout,” Hardy said. “I think that the message got across that this action of the federal government has gotten way out of hand.”

On Monday afternoon, Dave Bundy was released suddenly, after receiving a citation for “refusing to disperse and resisting issuance of a citation/arrest”.

7 Responses to “Bundy’s Son Arrested In Roundup Incident, Public Protest Results”

  • Vickie Bell:

    This man thinks he does not have to follow the same laws that his neighbors or any American has to follow. Why would anyone follow the law, pay rents, fees if he doesn’t have to. Are you telling me I do not have to bring cert. weed free hay into areas that say I do? are you saying we do not have to brand animals if we don’t want to, don’t have to have brand inspections, do not have to have health cert., Lets all sell the farms and move our livestock to BLM land, why pay taxes and insurance. OH MY NATIVE AMERICANS lets take our land back.

  • Brad Billings:

    People who think they are the law need to see a shrink.

  • Robert Cobb Sr.:

    You two are good examples of the sheep Americans have become! When kindly Uncle Sam puts his foot on your neck don’t ask us for help.

  • You two are just more examples of how this country has become a nation of sheep. Hope you never have the Feds get mad at you or you will discover the truth about kindly old Uncle Sam the hard way.

  • Tea:

    Just because it’s a law doesn’t make it right. How do you think unjust laws have been changed throughout history? By asking nicely and saying please? You know the quote: Stand up for what is right,even if you’re standing alone. Well, it just so happens, Mr. Bundy is not standing alone.

  • Don’t know Mr. Bundy but I feel for him and the good hard working people living in his area. This is nothing more than a land grab by a few greedy politicians and their lobbyist probably for a rich foreign investor. Washington selling out America and Americans for their personal gain. Sierra Club, PETA and those groups are a great way to devert the real truth the politicians have found. The land involved in litigation for over twenty years. What a joke, for the people of this country. The very idea that BLM has the authority to set up free speech zones, all this in violation of the first amendment. BLM thugs to enforce and possibly private contractors like those used in our foreign Wars abroad against our own people. All for a tortoise, that has survived for eons. Wake up and smell the roses or better described s–t their shoving down our throats. Mr Bundy attempt to set up a legal defense fund ask for donations there are many who would attempt to add you. I for one and many others.

  • Amy Wrong:

    you guys all need to read the statement by Shiree Bundy Cox. I’ve included it below. She is the daughter of Cliven Bundy

    By SHIREE BUNDY COX:I have had people ask me to explain my dad’s stance on this BLM fight.Here it is in as simple of terms as I can explain it. There is so much to it, but here it is in a nut shell.My great grandpa bought the rights to the Bunkerville allotment back in 1887 around there. Then he sold them to my grandpa who then turned them over to my dad in 1972.These men bought and paid for their rights to the range and also built waters, fences and roads to assure the survival of their cattle, all with their own money, not with tax dollars.These rights to the land use is called preemptive rights.Some where down the line, to keep the cows from over grazing, came the bureau of land management. They were supposed to assist the ranchers in the management of their ranges while the ranchers paid a yearly allotment which was to be use to pay the BLM wages and to help with repairs and improvements of the ranches.My dad did pay his grazing fees for years to the BLM until they were no longer using his fees to help him and to improve.Instead they began using these money’s against the ranchers.They bought all the rest of the ranchers in the area out with their own grazing fees.When they offered to buy my dad out for a penence he said no thanks and then fired them because they weren’t doing their job.He quit paying the BLM but, tried giving his grazing fees to the county, which they turned down.So my dad just went on running his ranch and making his own improvements with his own equipment and his own money, not taxes.In essence the BLM was managing my dad out of business.Well when buying him out didn’t work, they used the indangered species card.You’ve already heard about the desert tortis.Well that didn’t work either, so then began the threats and the court orders, which my dad has proven to be unlawful for all these years.Now they’re desperate.It’s come down to buying the brand inspector off and threatening the County Sheriff.Everything they’re doing at this point is illegal and totally against the constitution of the United States of America.Now you may be saying,” how sad, but what does this have to do with me?” Well, I’ll tell you.They will get rid of Cliven Bundy, the last man standing on the Bunkerville allotment and then they will close all the roads so no one can ever go on it again.Next, it’s Utah’s turn. Mark my words, Utah is next.Then there’s the issue of the cattle that are at this moment being stolen. See even if dad hasn’t paid them, those cattle do belong to him.Regardless where they are they are my fathers property. His herd has been part of that range for over a hundred years, long before the BLM even existed.Now the Feds think they can just come in and remove them and sell them without a legal brand inspection or without my dad’s signature on it.They think they can take them over two boarders, which is illegal, ask any trucker. Then they plan to take them to the Richfeild Auction and sell them.They have paid off the contract cowboys and the auction owner as well as the Nevada brand inspector with our tax dollars.

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