LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. (AP) - A 2-mile section of road in Mohave County, Arizona, is being renamed after a resident and militia member who was killed during last year's standoff at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.
The Mohave County Board of Supervisors on Monday approved the renaming of a section of Yellowstone Road to LaVoy Finicum Road, Today's News-Herald reported .
Finicum was a member of Citizens for Constitutional Freedom. He was shot and killed during the standoff in January 2016 by law enforcement officers. The state troopers who killed him were cleared of wrongdoing.
The organizers of the occupation were seeking an opportunity to advance their view that the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies were constitutionally required to turn over most of the public lands they manage to the individual states.
The supervisors voted 3-2 in favor of the name change, with supervisors Buster Johnson and Jean Bishop voting no.
"I believe LaVoy Finicum died defending the Constitution in a manner of his own choosing," said Supervisor Hildy Angius, who introduced the proposal. "That is why I told his father, who stood in front of me with tears in his eyes, that I was proud to make the motion."
Several residents spoke in favor of the name change at the meeting. Kingman resident Jennifer Jones-Esposito called Finicum an "American patriot" who was "murdered in cold blood" at the hands of authorities.
Bishop, however, being a former law enforcement officer, sees it differently.
"He kind of threw our laws back in our face," Bishop said. "The proper venue for this was in the court of law. I don't think what he did was the right way of handling things. I don't recognize him as a hero, but I do recognize him for being a well-respected member of his community."
Johnson argued that Finicum put people in danger and could have found a peaceful way to get his point across.
"You also have to look at the long-term effect of the image Mohave County wants to project," Johnson said. "I think this is a black eye on Mohave County and sets a tone when we are trying to stimulate economic development. This could really hurt that goal."