BUNKERVILLE, Nev. -- A Utah man was released from federal custody Monday after being detained by Bureau of Land Management officers.
BLM officials say Dave Bundy, of Delta, interfered with the roundup of a local rancher’s cattle.
He says the issue goes far beyond the range war currently underway.
Bundy went to Bunkerville to join several dozen others in protesting the confiscation of his father’s cattle. But when he got too close, the federal officers took him in.
“One moment I felt like I was going to the gallows,” Dave Bundy said. “Then the next they were handing me a sack lunch and escorting me out of the courthouse.”
Dave Bundy said three officers threw him to the ground along State Road 170. He said he was well off the road, but the officers told him to leave. The BLM issued the following statement on the arrest:
“Public safety is central to the work of the BLM and NPS during this operation. On April 6, Dave Bundy, 37, was taken into custody in Bunkerville, Nevada, following failure to comply with multiple requests by BLM law enforcement to leave the temporary closure area on public lands.”
Officers released Dave Bundy in Las Vegas, Cliven Bundy, his father, drove to pick him up.
“It was really just unreal to experience it,” Dave Bundy said. “They believe that they can exercise unlimited authority, unlimited power upon its citizens, upon the citizens of our free America.”
The Bundy range war has been going on for more than 20 years and centers around the ownership of the public land. Cliven Bundy claims the state of Nevada is the rightful owner and that gives him inherited rights.
The BLM claims federal ownership. But protesters say their presence goes deeper.
“It’s gotten a little out of control,” said Las Vegas resident Eric Farnsworth. “Why are there 100 federal officers out here? Why are there snipers on the mesa? Really, why are there so many guns out here?”
Rangers have rounded up 134 head of cattle, deemed trespassing on public land. A spokesperson says public safety is the top priority and anyone choosing to ignore an officer could be cited.
Cliven Bundy said they’ll continue doing whatever it takes to show their opposition to what they call an abuse of power.
“We won today. We’ll win tomorrow and we’ll win forever,” Cliven Bundy said. “Liberty and freedom is not free. And these people that are here have proven that we’re willing to stand today and we’re willing to fight tomorrow.”
Roundup efforts will continue Tuesday. Public lands in the area remain under temporary closure.