Fatal Funnel in Bunkerville Standoff?
by Shari Dovale
The prosecution of four defendants in the Bunkerville Retrial continued Thursday.
Eric Parker, Scott Drexler, Steven Stewart and Ricky Lovlein sat in a Las Vegas courtroom and watched the Bureau of Land Management Rangers talk about the Standoff in April 2014.
Ranger Edwin Whitteaker was the ultimate prosecution witness. He was polite and using all the right buzzwords. He talked about the 2nd amendment being everyone’s right and defending the Constitution … until that day in the wash.
That was the day that he felt “betrayed by Americans”. That was the day that people got violent and threatened his brothers and sisters in Law Enforcement. It did not matter that no shots were fired. Holding a gun was intent enough for him.
He complained that his ‘BLM brothers’ were in a bad position. They did not hold the advantage and it placed them in a “Fatal Funnel” as Whitteaker called it. What he was describing is a tactical concept of Close-quarters combat used by police and military.
The testimony included Whitteaker’s complaints that the protesters had the “high ground”. What he did not mention to the jury was that the BLM had chosen this particular spot.
- They set up the scenario.
- They selected they positions.
- They had they military-style compound in place.
- They dressed in full battle-ready gear.
- They all had long guns in place when the protesters arrived.
- The BLM actually had the high ground, as they had a mesa behind them and at least 3 helicopters/planes in the air overhead.
They did not expect any militia members to stay on the bridge. They did not expect the women and children to come to the wash. Dan Love, and the BLM, did not think it through.
His testimony was similar to virtually all of the prosecution witnesses in that they can never remember many details, especially about time frames. Not a single one that I have heard has been able to say when they arrived, how long events lasted, when it was over, etc. Anything to do with time has received no answer from the witnesses.
The jury questions have obviously had a major effect on the prosecution’s case. This witness seemed to be using buzzwords that were chosen for him. Until now, the prosecution has not wanted anyone to describe that day as a “protest”. Mentioning the ‘Constitution’ has been forbidden. Talk of the 2nd Amendment has been Taboo!
It will probably return to that when the defense has their turn, however, the prosecution does not have the same constraints. They can mention it if the jury questions are leading them in that direction.
Judge Gloria Navarro is also holding true-to-form in her bias against the defense and ruling on a majority of objections in favor of the prosecution, or not bothering to rule at all. I have seen that several times, and the attorneys finally just give in and deal with it as if she ruled in favor of the government, again.
The next witness was Ranger Maurice Martinez, from Alaska. This man seemed to be slowly selecting his words to go along with the prosecutions chosen scenario through the majority of his testimony. He stated that he saw [Parker] hold his gun down range and put the barrel between a 2-inch gap in the jersey barriers on the bridge overlooking the wash.
Martinez seemed more and more uncomfortable as his testimony went on. Eventually, under cross examination by Jess Marchese, attorney for Eric Parker, Martinez admitted that his report was inaccurate and he could have seen ‘shadows’ instead of Parker’s gun barrel in the gap of the barrier.
Martinez attack-of-conscience did not end there. During the jury questions, the prosecutors were obviously displeased with him when he admitted that he believed the entire day was nothing more than a ‘non-violent protest’. He also said that the LEOs considered it to be extremely violent, and that is what they based all of their decisions on.
We finally had one BLM agent that told the truth. It was a protest. This agent never aimed his gun at a civilian there, unlike all other Rangers on scene, because there was no need to do so.
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