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CLARK COUNTY, Nevada — A man has been released after being arrested Sunday during an ongoing dispute over grazing rights between the Bureau of Land Management and a family in southern Nevada, and the family is calling for action.
A federal judge in Las Vegas first ordered Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy to remove his trespassing cattle in 1998, according to reports from the Associated Press. Similar orders were issued in July 2013, and again in October.
Saturday, the BLM began taking some of the 908 cattle from Bundy. The BLM says Bundy's cattle have been trespassing on U.S. land without required grazing permits for over 25 years. However, Bundy said he doesn't recognize federal authority on land that he says belongs to the state of Nevada.
The BLM released a statement on its website saying, "Cattle have been in trespass on public lands in Southern Nevada for more than two decades. This is unfair to the thousands of other ranchers who graze livestock in compliance with federal laws and regulations throughout the west. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the National Park Service (NPS) have made repeated attempts to resolve this matter administratively and judicially."
The situation escalated Saturday after Cliven Bundy's son, Dave Bundy, 37, was arrested. Members of the Bundy family had gathered to film and take pictures of the removal of their cattle in an effort to document the event, according to Cliven Bundy's daughter, Bailey Bundy Logue.
The family members had parked on the side of Nevada state Route 170, but the highway was included in the temporary closure of public lands, according to BLM representative Kirsten Cannon. Dave Bundy was arrested and cited with a criminal charge of refusing to disperse and resisting officers. Cannon said all public lands are closed within the designated closure area during the removal of the trespassing cattle.
Wake up America. Look what our ancestors fought for and we need to stand up for that. We need to realize what's happening. They are taking everything away from us. This isn't only about one family. This is about everyone's family.
–Bailey Bundy Logue
Logue said Dave Bundy was taking pictures and recording on his iPad when he was asked by federal employees what he was doing. Logue said that Dave Bundy told the BLM workers that he was "exercising (his) First Amendment rights."
"He did not resist arrest, but they continued to beat him," Logue told KSL. "They put him on the ground and were standing on his head and had a dozen officers on top of him and dogs."
The Bundy family was asked to leave the premises after Dave Bundy's arrest. Logue said that there were snipers and uniformed men on the scene during the cattle impoundment.
"That's scary," Logue said. "I was angry, but there was nothing I can do. We were so outnumbered. With nothing but weapons of our cameras, we did our best at taking pictures. But when you're in that situation your mind is not thinking very straight."
Dave Bundy was released Monday afternoon. However, the Bundy family said they feel that their First Amendment rights were violated and that they were entitled to meet on state Route 170 to take pictures.
“That is against our First Amendment right," Logue said. "They say it’s a First Amendment area, but we have rights everywhere. Since when have we had First Amendment areas? That’s not what it says in the Constitution.”
The Bundy family said they organized a rally for people to meet to support their First Amendment rights and their rights to public land. The rally was held near state Route 170 and I-15 on private land and around 100 people held a peaceful protest, Cannon said.
"We have got together hundreds of people from all over the world and they are here, not because this is about cattle," Logue said. "We are asking people to come and stand up for their rights. We have lost all state sovereignty. I mean (it's like) martial law in our home town, in America."
Cannon said 134 cattle had been impounded by federal employees as of Monday afternoon, but the location will not be released during the ongoing operation. The cattle roundup was estimated to take between 21 to 30 days with further temporary closures during the operation.
“Wake up America," Logue said. "Look what our ancestors fought for and we need to stand up for that. We need to realize what’s happening. They are taking everything away from us. This isn’t only about one family. This is about everyone’s family. This is martial law and it’s in America and so what are you going to do to have it stay out of America?”
Cliven Bundy reportedly owes the BLM and U.S. government $1 million in back grazing fees, according to Cannon.