Body Camera Footage Shows Columbus Police Officers Pointing Guns, Tazing ATF Agent

Dec 11, 2020

Body camera footage shows Columbus police officers handcuffing and tazing a special agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms during a July 7 incident. The agent is bringing a federal lawsuit against the Columbus Division of Police. 

The footage shows Columbus police officer Joseph Fihe arrived first on the scene. As soon as he sees ATF agent James Burk, Fihe tells him to put his hands up and then pulls his gun.

Burk repeatedly identified himself as a federal agent, and tells Fihe he will not get on the ground. He offered to show Fihe his badge, but Fihe tells him to keep his hands in the air.

Another Columbus police officer Kevin Winchell then arrived on the scene, and also trained his gun on Burk. They again ordered him to the ground.

Burk complied but instead of checking his badge, the officers attempted to handcuff him. Burk pleaded with the officers who held him face down on the sidewalk. His glasses fell off onto the ground.

Fihe tazed Burk, and after he put handcuffs on him, the officers got Burk's identification out of his pocket.

However, instead of releasing Burk, the officers forced him into the back of a cruiser until other officers arrived.

Burk has filed an excessive force lawsuit in federal court against the city of Columbus and the two police officers. The complaint alleges Burk was trying to confiscate an illegally-held firearm when the suspect called 911 and the dispatcher sent officers Joseph Fihe and Kevin Winchell. 

Burk contends this sort of confusion isn’t unheard of. However, in a typical situation, the police officers would have checked his credentials and then either assisted with retrieving the firearm or left the scene.