BodycamATF agent james burk arrested image of ATF Agent Burk. Source: COlumbus Police Department.
Bodycam image of ATF Agent Burk. Source: Columbus Police Department
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Agent James Burk of the ATF is suing the city of Columbus, Ohio and two police officers for using excessive force against him. He claims he was tased, handcuffed, and detained while performing a “routine” confiscation of an unlawfully possessed shotgun.

The lawsuit said Burk was in his normal work attire, which was described as “casual professional” with his credentials in a pocket and an ID card around his neck. …

“When Fihe arrived at the scene, Agent Burk stood outside the home’s front door and waved the officer over to where he was standing,” the lawsuit said. “Even though Agent Burk had both hands raised and had represented that he is a federal agent, officer Fihe immediately drew his weapon and pointed it … while simultaneously screaming at (Burk) to get on the ground.”

According to Burke, he was wearing “casual professional” clothes with an ID around his neck. Let’s take a look at that bodycam image above.

  • untucked polo shirt
  • wrinkled pants
  • running shoes?
  • no visible ID on his neck
  • paper in his hands doesn’t even seem to be on a clipboard
  • hands at at or slightly above waist level.

He doesn’t look “official” at all. I don’t blame the homeowner for calling the police. If a ratty stranger — all by himself, with no backup or visible ID — looking like Burk in the image above appeared at my door demanding my gun, I wouldn’t be inclined to believe he represented any law enforcement agency.

That his appearance and posture as shown in bodycam video isn’t what he claims causes me to wonder about the allegations about police behavior. Oddly enough, while several news outlets mention the bodycam footage, none have posted anything but the image above. The full video should do more to illustrate who’s telling the truth here.

The lawsuit said the officers also used a Taser on Burk multiple times while he was face down and “not evading arrest” before handcuffing Burk and placing him in the back of a cruiser, a process that involved pulling him into the car because a seatbelt was in the way.

After about an hour, during which Burk said he was denied water and “frequently disparaged … to everyone in earshot” by Fihe, Burk was released without charges.

But as Burk’s history as a bargain-hunting wine connoisseur makes clear, the ATF only employs the most honest and upstanding individuals.

Police say ATF agent James Burk took expensive wine to the self-checkout lane and charged himself a small percent of the cost.
According to deputies, they caught Burk going to the self-checkout in August and paying $19 for four bottles of wine that had a total price tag of $222.

The report says Burk bought bottles of Stag’s Leap Wine priced at $62.99 and $33.99, but the code he entered charged him only $4.99.

According to the report, Kroger employees had grown suspicious of Burk and began watching him. They said he did the same thing multiple times.

Multiple times. Which, one presumes, is why they were watching him so closely.

It must be difficult being a dedicated oenophile on a paltry government salary.

Something else reports on the lawsuit don’t mention is the existence of a warrant to seize the shotgun in question, or an ATF 3400.23 receipt. Not even an arrest warrant to be served by Burk for the person who allegedly unlawfully possessed a firearm. But surely Burk had all of that. It’s hard to believe an ATF agent would cut corners that way.


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  1. I figured the cops had braced pistols at home, and already had to surrender their bump-stocks. LOL I would bet if we saw the bodycam footage, he was being an arrogant a$$hole and he got what he deserved.

  2. As I always told my kids(and still do 40 years later) when they tell me a story like that, I just reply, “Oh well”.

    • Oh!!!! so that was what the ATF was throwing into the branch dividian’s compound at Waco. They weren’t setting it on fire, they were throwing in bottles of water.

      • Sorry, let’s keep it straight here, that was the FBI. Both Ruby Ridge and Waco, the ATF fucked up bad enough to start the ruckus, then the FBI came in to kill everybody and cover it up.

        • Yeah, you gotta love Republican Reagan and Bush’s ATF and FBI, a bunch of killers.

          That’s what you get with a 12 year domination of the administration by the Republicans, American citizens killed and freedoms taken by the Republicans.

          Hell, Republican Ronald Reagan is the one who banned the carrying of firearms in national Forests and federally managed lands.

        • I love posts like this. You, red wolf, Chief Censor, and enuf plus plenty of other “trolls” that say such ridiculous things that it can only drive gun owners together. It’s like a beautiful cross between satire of what the most deranged hoplophobe might say and personal attacks clearly designed to guarantee no one will ever listen to you. It’s brilliant!

        • “say such ridiculous things“

          Is there a particular statement in my post that you believe is ridiculous? Please share the details of your objections, otherwise your comment is just empty speech from an empty head.

    • At the end of this horrendous ordeal they have the sheer audacity to offer him a cup of not-as-hot-as-he-prefers-it coffee too.

      Goddamn torture masters. If it wasn’t for his BATFE creds he’d probably have had his fingernails removed with pliers.

  3. There does not seem to be any ID there. I would politely tell him to fuck right off and call the cops if he came to my door without prodcuing more ID and papers.

  4. Random thoughts:

    -So, the guy committed theft (petty theft under Ohio law, but still theft) in 2015, and he still is employed as a Federal agent?

    -Speaking of theft…at my first job, back in high school, the boss used to have a saying: “if you’ve got a thief, you’ve also got a liar.” Over the years I’ve found that bit of wisdom to be true far more often than not. Color me skeptical on anything Burke claims.

    -No water for a whole hour? Heavens to Mergetreude! I hope he got an IV with nourishing electrolytes after that unbelievably long period of time.

  5. Oh no!! With that kind of excessive force it looks like that ATF agent is going to be overlooked for promotion and these two officers are going to be his bosses. If one of the officers would have ran to his house and shot his dog or burnt down his church they would have ended up with a senior leadership role.

    • I was about to say, the ATF is only interested in dog-focused violence and aggression. Usually anything directed at people is left to the FBI to come in an dish out after the ATF blunders into some self concocted and administered bullshit.

  6. Most, but not all Federal employees I have interacted with in my life have been lackadaisical, surly, rude, haughty and condescending. And those were their pleasant aspects. This guy fits the stereotype to a “T”.

    Most Federal agencies are vastly overstaffed, poorly run, overpaid, hide bound due to union work rules and many of the employees are corrupt taking bribes in cash of other items of value given by the public citizens to buy good will. Most of us have seen examples of this.

    If you want to fix the problem (which no one does) start by firing all the managers and making them re-apply after doing a thorough background check, forensic accounting of their finances and taking a lie detector test. For the one in five hundred that are actually hired back; you start with a clean slate and have them evaluate all the other employees.

    • everyone i’ve dealt with in the REGULATORY branch of the ATF have been a decent sort…the ENFORCEMENT branch is another animal entirely…and often live up to their stereotype…[Robert Stack in “Beavus and Butthead]…..

    • Please tell me what color the sky is in your world? The majority of the Federal Government Agencies are both understaffed and under paid. The Republican war on the Government employee is mainly to blame for this. Another one of those endless wars you Republicans like so much. Some are lazy but you get that any where and no more or no less than any other major corporation.

      • Must be some powerful drugs you’re on that make for that strange-colored sky, because if you’d been lucid you’d have noticed that the Democrat plan for government employment is to hire as many as the budget will allow, rather than improving salaries and benefits with it. There are a lot of government employees that don’t need to be employed by the government at all, and there are a lot more that aren’t qualified for the position they’re in because it doesn’t pay enough to get someone who is. I don’t consider myself a Republican, but there’s no arguing that their economic policy vis a vis government employment improves both efficiency and effectiveness. Government employment is a necessary evil, a means to an end. To the Democrat party it’s an end unto itself.

  7. “For ’tis the sport to have the engineer hoist with his own petard”

    My loyalties are divided on this one. On one hand, nothing bad that happens to an
    ATF agent is bad enough. OTOH, the agent wouldn’t be the first person roughed up by the cops with little to no provocation.

    Put them all in the same cage and let them fight it out with hammers.

    • Right? That’s kinda how I feel, and I would feel the same way if some feds did this to a local cop who was trying to confiscate a weapon. It’s like watching a Nazi beat up a Klansman, you’re not sure who to root for or against but either way, you know someone’s getting what they deserve

  8. I don’t know what the ATF regs are, but I was 10-8 one day when my L T called me. He said there were a couple of FBI agents at the office that wanted to talk to me about an incident that had occurred a few days earlier. A suspect had tried to disarm Kenny and was now claiming excessive force during the arrest. Maybe he thought Kenny should have bought him an ice cream. Anyway, when I walked into the interview room they introduced themselves and produced their credentials. I said, “That’s ok. I know who you are.” One replied, “We’re required to show our ID.” Every time I talked to an FBI agent they did the same thing. If that nitwit didn’t do the same he got exactly what he deserved.

  9. Unlawfully processed shotgunm, and he didn’t shoot the dog, wife and kid. Why he’s no ATF agent at all, TAZE HIM AGAIN.

  10. Come to my door…No ID, No Warrant demanding I turn over a firearm will result in getting said firearm stuck in your face and only by the grace of my disposition at the time not result in death. Nothing like putting the Fear of whatever Deity someone believes in to bring about a life changing epiphany.

  11. Anyone can dress up like LE and real LE in such a case has to identify the players before lowering their guard. Mr. sue happy sounds arrogant otherwise he’d lick his wounds and stfu.

    I don’t care what clown suit someone is wearing or driving they are not coming around me until they are on camera and identified as legit. All others will be looking down a barrel.

    • Not me, the barrels for making cannibal stew. Bring water to a rapid boil, insert ATF agent, boil for 1 hour, add taters, carrots, onions, salt and pepper, cover barrel and simmer for 30 minutes. Why the meat just falls right off the bone, yum.

      • You’re not a cannibal if you’re eating people. Only if you eat other possums. And what you did with Mrs. possum on valentines day don’t count.

      • Possum, I have missed your comments here…the trolls have made this a dreary place, nice to have some humor to cheer us up!

    • And Debbie, he was NOT even wearing anything resembling a uniform, I would have called 911 as well, and I would have had a gun in my hand before I even did that. The idea this creep thinks he can sue for *anything* brings up the question of how he got hired. Nobody can be that stupid without some mental disease involved.

  12. Clearly this particular POS agent is representative of what they are when they don’t have on assault gear and overwhelming numbers to subdue a citizen and stomp on their kitten. A whining candy ass putz that probably pulls the wings off butterflies to watch them suffer.

    • Careful how wildly you compliment them. Remember, at Waco they snuck up on women and children by hiding in horse trailers while creeping along a mile (!) of open territory which was private property, 100 of them in full armor suddenly appearing after being observed for 15 minutes and promptly got their ass kicked by one rendition, kicked their own ass by another. Incompetence far in excess of unbelievable. So the FBI had to take over and kill everybody.

        • believe the mail man was a Branch-Davidian….seen a lot of constables operate in this manner…and sometimes it doesn’t go well for them….

  13. The ATF while performing a “routine” confiscation of an unlawfully possessed shotgun. The ATF should have a warrant of arrest for the person who unlawfully possessed a shotgun then seize the weapon. If there is no warrant of arrest for the person in question then the ATF is performing a ROUTINE confiscation of a weapon ILLEGALY!

    • The ATF abiding by the 2nd, 4th and 5th Amendments? Actually pursuing proper channels (i.e. due process where the accused can face their accuser and defend themselves and make their case to a jury of their peers) before depriving one of their property? A firearm no less?

      Surely you jest…when have they been known to *ever* do that?

  14. i dont know what hes complaining about
    all things considered…for an atf agent…he could have gotten worse
    like…WAY worse
    like…the same treatment that government types got at waco and ruby ridge worse
    i dont like saying this but recent events are forcing my hand:
    knowing what we now know about the atf…id say that he likely got way better than he deserved
    at the end of the day im with the commonwealth of virginia flag on this one…SIC…SEMPER…TYRANNIS

  15. There is no such thing as “casual professional.” There is “professional,” and he didn’t come close. He’s closer to “casual trailer park.”

    Maybe the ATF would do well to tighten up its dress code?

  16. The only think that even slightly smells of anything stronger than “treated you like a taxpayer, didn’t they?” is “I was proned out and they tased me for no reason”.

    But they could very well have had a reason.
    If not, the magic words are still “he was resisting”, to which the judge will say “qualified immunity, dismissed”.

  17. The ATF is sending out lone agents to perform gun confiscation?

    That’s interesting and very useful to know.

  18. Now, it’s time for Kroger, to tally up batfe agent burk’s illicit and fraudulent wine tabs and sumbmit it to AG Barr, as a going the hell away present. This would get a REAL AGENT fired, or at least get him assigned to the Alutians for the rest of his stellar career. It would be about the only thing barr, did during his stellar stint FOR POTUS 45. I don’t know who advanced 45 on his personnel picks, but they sure sucked suggesting barr and many other”stars”

  19. Good news is local cops generally can’t stand the ATF either. They are generally loathed universally by local PDs, but then so are most federal agencies.

    Seems like he was being an aggressive dick and got what would happen to most acting like that.

    • depends…sometimes their arrogant intrusion into local investigations is resented…but their fire and arson as well as explosive acumen can sometimes come in handy…..

  20. “The lawsuit said Burk was in his normal work attire, which was described as “casual professional” with his credentials in a pocket and an ID card around his neck…”

    Ah yes, Mr. wannabe undercover cop who instead got a job as a glorified paper pusher that lets him carry a gun and dress like a hobo

    The whole @#$^ point of uniforms is so that people- including law enforcement!- know who you are and what you’re doing. There are times when this is overridden by another purpose, but even in that case, don’t then expect people to immediately believe you’re legit.

    Here were the important rules from plainclothes that I remember, although they may vary. First, take NO enforcement action without uniformed officers present unless there was an imminent threat of injury to a victim (i.e. someone getting their head beaten in, etc). If you see someone doing something criminal, call in a uniformed officer to cuff them while you can testify to what happened before that. Second, wear something with POLICE written in big block letters in it under the cover shirt, the latter of which was to be taken off in case of having to do anything- because some little badge is not easy to see and identify! Finally, at all times follow the instructions of authorized uniformed personnel, no matter what rank or department.

    But hey, I guess Mr. ATF is too important for that.

  21. Looks like distributing crap/abuse is O.K. with ATF types, but receiving same is another story. Say it isn’t so Joe,say it isn’t so.

  22. And this is why we need to support local LE. I say we flood the Columbus PD with gift baskets as a reward for good behavior. Maybe tasing and “disparaging” BATFE will catch on.

  23. It is interesting to contrast the treatment of the ATF agent with other recent LEO interactions.

    The ATF agent was held at gunpoint, forced to the ground, tasered, cuffed and placed in a cruiser even after showing his ID.

    Things are different in Georgia.

    When police officers arrived at the Ahmad Aubery shooting scene, they actually had a dead body on the ground bleeding out and two armed individuals on scene.

    Nobody cuffed, nobody tased, nobody placed in a cruiser, nobody on the ground except the dead man, no charges filed, no one went to jail for months.

    The on scene police officers even told the McMichaels “we’re here to help you”.

    Apparently, kill a black man in Georgia and you receive the grateful appreciation of the local police officers.

    That’s right boss, no systemic racism here, all good!

    • “Systemic racism” is yet another made-up term by the left in a desperate attempt to give legitimacy to some ill-conceived concept. Sort of like “social justice.”

      Just call it what it is. Racism.

  24. Lol. Funny to see pigs acting like the Feds are worse. You’re all scum. Go fuck yourself. Fucking coward pigs. Eat shit

  25. I’m a little late but this is a stupidly ignorant article. The lady who called the cops gave 911 his name and badge number so the cops had all the tools to confirm he was indeed an agent. Which is why the lady called to ask. Also the ATF goes to peoples houses to try to get them to comply before getting a warrant. It was most likely his first contact with them.
    As soon as the stupid cops showed up though they pulled out their guns and told him to get on the ground.
    The ATF officer tried to show the psychopathic cops his ID but the cop wouldn’t let him. When the federal officer did get on the ground the cop still taxed him for no reason and told all the others he refused to show ID. The federal officer could’ve complied more easily but wouldn’t have been shouted at by these idiotic cops if they actually looked at the information before coming in ready to shoot someone. And yes, you can see all this from the body cam.
    Stupid and idiotic article. Do your homework before placing blame.

    • Oh and he did have the paperwork for the shotgun because the man who lived there didn’t pass the background check.

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