The first arrest in the Oregon militia standoff took place on Friday after police took one of the protesters into custody for stealing a car. Kenneth Medenbach was arrested for the unauthorized use of a government vehicle, a far cry from the terrorism-related charges many claim he and others would face had they been Muslim.
The two-week occupation of a federal wildlife reserve by armed anti-government “militiamen” has drawn widespread criticism of the apparent lack of response by authorities.
Medenbach was detained outside a supermarket in Burns, Oregon, according to the Harney County sheriff’s office. Reports suggest that he had driven from the occupied wildlife reserve to the supermarket in a car stolen from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which runs the reserve.
This is not Madenbach’s first run in with the law. In fact, he is currently on bail awaiting trial for a seven-month residential occupation of government-owned lands between May and November 2015.
He was tried and convicted of a similar crime in 1996, according to reports.
His arrest last week was the first major confrontation between law enforcement and the armed protesters since the occupation began.
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