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  /  Firearms   /  Gun Culture   /  On Duty ATFE Agent Tasered by Columbus Police Officers: Excessive Force?

On Duty ATFE Agent Tasered by Columbus Police Officers: Excessive Force?

According to reporting by Bethany Bruner in the The Columbus Dispatch, Agent James Burk, a 16-year veteran of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was Tasered multiple times by Columbus Ohio Police officers and taken into custody while attempting to seize a gun from a local resident.

Agent James Burk has filed a federal lawsuit accusing two Columbus police officers of using excessive force. Burke claims in the lawsuit that on July 7, 2020 he went to a citizen’s home to retrieve a shotgun from a person who was not permitted to have a firearm. Burk had no police markings except an ID card around his neck. 

When he knocked on the door of the home, a person inside called 911 while refusing to open the door.  Responding Columbus Police Officer Fihe immediately drew his weapon and pointed it at Burke while simultaneously screaming at him to get on the ground.

P4 Exclusive: It appears that this same ATFE agent Burk, is an alleged wine thief…

Burk claimed in the law suit that he had seized many guns before under similar circumstances and never had a problem. This time, the dispatcher told the 911 caller not to answer the door and dispatched Columbus police officers Joseph Fihe and Kevin Winchell, both 20-year veterans. 

The law suit claims that Officer Fihe pointed his firearm at Burk, used a Taser on Burk multiple times while he was face down and that both Fihe and Winchell “climbed on his back while violently twisting and pulling his arms to handcuff him.”

After about an hour, Burk was released without charges. Burk has since moved to an administrative role because of the incident. According to sources who have viewed the body cam footage, it shows the first officer on scene told ATF agent James Burk to put his hands up and then drew his gun. Burk repeatedly identified himself as a federal agent and offered to show his badge. The officer tells him to keep his hands in the air. Another officer who arrived on the scene also pointed his gun at Burk. The officers then tasered him and handcuffed him. 

The lawsuit said body cameras captured much of the incident and alleges that the footage was shared within the police department for no apparent purpose. I can’t wait to see the body camera footage.

Featured photo: Body camera footage from Columbus police officer Joseph Fihe shows James Burk, a special agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, pointing at his badge. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.



  • Bob Blogs

    December 18, 2020

    Amazing, ATF agents roaming the streets in civilian clothes demanding guns.

  • DJ_Zephyr

    December 18, 2020

    No such thing as excessive force against the ATF. And the only permit a man needs to own a gun in this country was issued nearly 250 years ago.

  • Paul A Strickland

    December 18, 2020

    Unless, of course, if the “man” is a known felon and not allowed to have a gun by law and the ATF agent was just doing his job.

    • Alex

      December 19, 2020

      “Just doing his job” if the original man whom the ATF agent was there for was actually harming anyone it would be the real police there to serve a warrant, instead it was an ATF agent coming to infringe on a mans 2nd amendment rights. The police in this case were just doing their jobs by defending the constitution.

    • grifford rossdale

      December 19, 2020

      the constitution clearly states that the right to bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.. so, the atf agent is just doing his job just like every other underling in any other tyrannical state

    • Joe

      December 19, 2020

      If one is too dangerous to own a gun then that person should still be behind bars!!

    • Bob Ross

      December 20, 2020

      I don’t recall a felons exception to the 2nd amendment. If they’re too dangerous to own a firearm they should never have been released in the first place.

    • Heath

      December 21, 2020

      even then….. Day one of LE training, uniformed officers are always in charge over plain clothes in chaotic situations. Period.

    • Johnathan Saegal

      December 27, 2020

      Even so… why was the ATF agent NOT accompanied by Columbus PD? The Tenth Amendment affords states to be protected by the Federal Government unless the Fed has a Constitutionally-written right to perform that duty.
      My brother being a retired state trooper has had to accompany many Federal agents on various arrests… it the ATF man had a legal warrant, he would not be “retrieving an unlawful shotgun” or anything by knocking on the door by himself. He would have backup… and would have kicked in the door if it was not opened for the warrant.
      I think this ATF agent was on a sniffing test, otherwise he would have been shouting “I have a lawful warrant to get this gun!” over and over with the Columbus PD. This is really fishy. Also, the ATF did not say the man was a felon or a prohibited person… just “he had a shotgun he wasn’t allowed to have”. What kind of language is that?
      Even IF the guy was a felon, it is not the ATF’s job to come take the shotgun, the ATF would contact the local PD and have the PD or joint force to arrest the man and THEN take the shotgun. Nothing like him being a felon was ever mentioned… and the PD did not arrest the guy with a shotgun, so if he was a felon, they would have.
      Fishy, fishy, fishy… and Columbus PD caught their fish.

  • ForeignDork

    December 19, 2020

    This was excessive use of force. Why kick the door, when ringing the doorbell would have worked and saved all this?
    I hope the cops hit by accident the more sensitive parts of his anatomy with the taser. That would accelerate the learning of how to behave like an officer of the law and not a cheap thug beyond the laws.

    • Johnathan Saegal

      December 27, 2020

      Oh, how I would love to see the body cam footage (all of it) and showing the ATF agent resisting in some manner!

  • billdeserthills

    December 19, 2020

    This is great news, I love hearing it!

  • Maggot4lyf

    December 19, 2020

    *No free man shall be debarred the use of arms…..

  • Jack O. Heartz

    December 19, 2020

    I’m pretty sure a right cannot be taken away regardless, unless we’re talking about something that isn’t a right and more of a privilege. But that begs the question: where in the constitution are “privileges” discussed?

  • fallschirmjager

    December 20, 2020

    Why was the ATFE agent alone? They usually have at least one other agent with them. Did he have a warrant? If not then didn’t he have one to seize a firearm and charge the person
    It just seems fishy to me.

  • Don Vosburgh

    December 21, 2020

    I anticipate many reports of this nature, as sworn peace officers will side with law-abiding firearms owners in their jurisdictions being victimized by ATFE “agents” who will be enforcing unconstitutional edicts from the Biden/Harris administration. Any sworn officer of the law who states that they’re “just doing their job” in committing unconstitutional acts has a deep misunderstanding of just what their oath meant. Glad to see some officers understand their duty to God and country! Carry on.

  • Joshua Westmoreland

    December 21, 2020

    I don’t know this to be fact, but if the ATF agent was “just doing his job” , then maybe he should have notified the local PD. These officers clearly had no knowledge of him being there, doing a “lawful” seizure( whatever that is).

    Regardless of his federal status, he still has to abide by local PD and thier jurisdiction. So it’s evident he did not counicate well, and in doing so he payed a penalty.

    On that note, he is an agent of a federal body whose sole existence is based on violating the constitution. This is the America I want to live in. Where local cops protect thier residents regardless of who the threat is.

  • Dale Phillips

    December 21, 2020

    Remember that the Police do this very same action to civilians all the time and never get in trouble for their criminal behavior.

  • Jason Bartlett

    December 21, 2020

    Where can we contribute to the CPD officers defense? Im in for $100 per zap!

  • Rick Dembroski

    December 23, 2020

    I think this is funny, too many people think that because someone has a badge is a good person. Just like there are good plumbers, mechanics , EMT’s etc there are bad people in every career that will break laws. I just wish we had the video of the ATF guy riding the lighting

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