Harney County Fire Chief Resigns
FBI Caught Posing As Militia At Local Armory
Fire Chief Chris Briels spoke to a crowd today about what has happened in his town of Burns, and Harney County.
As a member of the Committee of Safety, he thought he could help keep the situation calm. He was concerned about violence erupting.
Immediately, the Committee of Safety was told they would not be allowed to use any county building for their meetings, including the Elks club and the Senior Center.
When they were finally given the chance to meet, and speak up, their Committee Chairman, Tim Smith, told them they had been black-balled within the community. As a Committee of Safety, they had only tried to do what they could to mitigate and deescalate the situation.
But, when Briels was told that their were strange-looking men poking around the Armory, he had to check it out. He had been told that these men had been seen, and turned into the police, twice at the armory.
He followed these men from the armory until they stopped. Then he questioned them. They were evasive and dishonest with him. First telling him he was mistaken, they were not at the armory. Then, when caught in that lie, they tried to say they were looking for a place to start a business. They finally admitted to being at the armory, yet they were only looking at deer.
He asked them to be truthful with him, as there was too much fear in their community.
Briels was concerned enough, he took a picture of their vehicle and license plate and went to see the County Sheriff, David Ward. He was not allowed to see the sheriff
Briels called the police dispatch number and had them run the license plate. It came back to undercover FBI agents.
Judge Steve Grasty was beside himself.
He told Mr. Briels today that he was the one causing the fear. Grasty said that he did not have a right to question anyone about what anyone is doing at the armory. Grasty said that Briels did not have the right to follow anyone and question them.
“What do you think?” he asked the crowd. “Do have the right to talk to another human being? Do I have the right to ask what is going on in my community?”
“This is absolutely appalling to me,” Briels stated.
Briels immediately resigned his position as Harney County Fire Chief. “I will not work for someone that I do not trust!” he stressed.
Grasty tried to get Briels to distance himself from the safety committee, but Briels would have none of it. Reminding everyone of the United States Constitution, he said, “We have the Right to Free Speech. We have the Right to Assemble.””I did not just quit this county! But I will not work for a government, or a person, that I do not believe in or have faith in.”
See the full press conference here.