Life is tough nowadays for cops at all levels — federal, state and local. And this makes cooperation, communication and understanding among them all the more important.
A video has been making the rounds on social media the last few days that should terrify not only every law enforcement officer, but also every civilian. It illustrates what happens when cooperation and communication is absent.
It depicts body-cam footage from Columbus, Ohio, police officer Joseph Fihe confronting James Burk, a special agent and 16-year veteran with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).
The video is actually three years old, but it recently reemerged because of a lawsuit that resulted.
Burk arrived at a Columbus residence in order to confiscate a shotgun that the resident shouldn’t have had in his possession. Instead of handing Burk the weapon, the resident refused him entry and called 911 to report what he thought was suspicious activity — that someone was impersonating a police officer.
That’s when Officers Fine and Kevin Winchell — both 20-year veterans — responded to the call and the confrontation quickly escalated into a shouting match.
Fine had his weapon drawn and pointed at Burk, and he repeatedly ordered Burk to lie down on the ground. Burk responded, “It ain’t happening.”
Burk repeatedly identified himself as a federal officer, but short of his credentials, which he kept in his pocket, and an ID card around his neck, there was no way to identify him as an ATF agent.
He wore no jacket signifying this, and he was dressed in what he described as “casual professional,” according to a lawsuit he filed in federal court against the city of Columbus and the two arresting officers.
When Winchell, the second Columbus police officer, arrived on the scene Burk finally complied and laid face-down on the ground.
But if anything, things escalated even more. Burk kept telling the officers to pull his ID out of his pocket, and the officers kept telling him to stop resisting arrest.
It ended with the officers tasing and then handcuffing Burk. Once they got Burk’s identification, instead of releasing him, Fine and Winchell placed him into the back of a police cruiser until other officers arrived.
Burk alleged in his lawsuit that confrontations with local police occasionally happen, but they never escalate like this one did. In such instances, after he presents his ID the officers either leave or assist him.
All of this could have been avoided if Burk had informed local law enforcement of his intention to confiscate the illegally-obtained firearm.
It didn’t have to escalate when Winchell, the second officer arrived on the scene. If they felt that their lives were at risk, one officer could have kept his weapon trained on Burk while the second checked Burk’s ID.
And it demonstrates a final point — how difficult it can be to confiscate weapons.
That’s something the Senate may want to consider when they vote on a new so-called “assault rifle” ban, one that would make 24 million AR-style modern sporting rifles in circulation in the United States illegal.
The last time the government tried to confiscate weapons was in the late 1700s by the British at places called Lexington and Concord. And it resulted in the Revolutionary War.
Watch the clip of the confrontation here. Turn the sound on by clicking the speaker icon in the lower-right corner of the video.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to Newsmax. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter. Read Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.
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