Skip to main content
Wikispaces Classroom is now free, social, and easier than ever.
Try it today.
Pages and Files
Civil Rights Homepage
! Ruby Ridge !
Ruby Ridge was the site of a violent confrontation and siege in northern Idaho in 1992. Randy Weaver and his family were involved, as well as Kevin Harris, the FBI, and the United States Marshals Service.
Randy Weaver, the main person, was a former Iowa factory worker and U.S. Army Green Beret. He had a wife named Vicki, a son by the name of Sammy, daughters, Sara, Rachel, and a 10 month year old girl Elisheba. Randy bought 20 acres of land at Ruby Ridge, in northern Idaho. His neighbor Terry Kinnison had a dispute over a $3,000 land deal. Kinnison lost the lawsuit, and was ordered to pay Weaver an additional $2100 for court costs and damages. Kinnison wrote to the FBI, secret service, and the county sheriff alleging that Weaver had threatened to kill the pope, president, and governor of Idaho. Weaver then denied the allegations and no charges were filed. The Secret Service were wondering then if Weaver was a member of the Aryan Nations, and that he had tons of weapons at his cabin on Ruby Ridge. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) claimed that Weaver sold two sawed-off shotguns with overall lengths shorter than legal limit. The ATF filed gun charges, and said that Weaver was a bank robber. For this court case, Weaver did not show up. Then the US Marshals made plans to capture Randy Weaver.
On August 21, 1992, FBI teams were deployed to Weavers cabin. Snipers had been given the “green light” to shoot on sight. The "green light" to shoot was based on a military-like engagement procedures and contradicted standard FBI rules of engagement. Military-like engagement protocols assume deadly force can be used because a determination has been made there is a war (declarations of war are supposed to be made by Congress) and the targets of military acts are enemy combatants. Randy Weaver was an American citizen. the FBI obviously concluded this American citizen was guilty before proven innocent, which is unconstitutional. This is because you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. The Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments to the Constitution show that it is incorrect to do so.
One of the Marshals threw rocks at his cabin to test the sensitivity of their guard dogs, and how much noise was required to agitate those dogs. A few minutes later, Randy, Kevin Harris, and Sammy came out and began to follow the dogs. The 3 Marshals began tearing through the woods, and running away. One of the Marshals called orders to take up defensive position, because he did not want to be shot. As Sammy and Kevin came upon the marshals, gunfire erupted. No one knows who shot first, although the agents claimed that Harris fired first. Harris claimed he fired after the boy was shot. The Agents told the media that their men had been pinned down for eight hours, which was a lie. Sammy was shot in the back and killed. Marshall Degan was killed by Kevin Harris. The Jury concluded that Kevin Harris’s kill was legitimate self-defense. The next day, his wife was murdered by Lori Horiuchi who was holding one of the most accurate sniper rifles made. After the death of the U.S. Marshal, the FBI was called in, and said that its snipers “can and should” use deadly force against armed males outside the cabin. Kevin Harris surrendered August 30th, and Weaver and his daughters surrendered the next day.
Randy Weaver at the Testimony on the Ruby Ridge Case told both stories from his perspective as his wife, and kid were shot dead. First he starts describing Sammy’s death: “On August 21, 1992, Federal Marshals shot my son Samuel in the back and killed him. He was running home to me. His last words were, “I’m coming Dad.” They shot his little arm almost off, and they killed him by shooting him in the back with a nine millimeter submachine gun...Sammy was just 14 years old. He did not yet weight 80 pounds. He was not yet 5 feet tall. The Marshals who killed Sammy were full-grown men. They were in combat green camouflage.” Weaver described as how his little son was no match for these marshals who were trained professional snipers. Now, he describes his wife murder. “On August 22, 1992, completely without warning of any kid, an FBI sniper shot and killed my wife...He had years of training to kill.. I heard him testify at the trial that he wanted to kill. He shot my wife in the head and killed her. She was not wanted for any crime. There were no warrants for her arrest. At the time she was gunned down, she was helpless. She was standing in the doorway of her home. She was holding the door open for me and Sara and for Kevin Harris. She was holding Elisheba our 10-month old baby-girl, in her arms. As the bullet crashed through her head, she slumped to her knees, holding Elisheba tightly so she would not drop her. We took the baby from her as she lay dead and bleeding on our floor.” In both stories, its extremely saddening how he watched two of his family-members killed right in front of him.
The 36-day trial was held in the U.S. District Court, with Judge Edward Lodge presiding. In this, the government put on 56 witnesses. The defense did not call a single witness, confident that the government had destroyed its own case. They were right. The jury took almost three weeks to make a decision, and found Harris not guilty of murder, or any other chargers. He was ruled that his actions were self-defense. They found Weaver not guilty of eight federal felony counts. The only things he was found guilty of were not showing up to court, and violating his bail conditions. During this trial, the government admitted the FBI had tampered with the evidence! That the crime scene photos given the defense were phony reenactments. Physical evidence had been removed and replaced. Gerry Spence told the jury, “This is a murder case, but the people who committed the murder are not here in court.” The surviving members of the Weaver family filed a wrongful death suit. To avoid trial and a possibly higher settlement, the federal government awarded Randy Weaver a $100,000 settlement and his three daughters $1 million each in August 1995. The shooter Lori Horiuchi was finally indicted for manslaughter in 1997. Overall, this case was another helpful point to the FBI abuses on American’s Civil Rights Movements.
Randy Weaver holding the photo of Vicki & Elisheba
Randy Weaver holding the photo of 14 year-old Sammy
Back to Home
help on how to format text
Turn off "Getting Started"