Oklahoma lawmaker demanding investigation into ATF SWAT team raid of constituent’s home

September 5, 2023

by Lee Williams

Oklahoma state Rep. Justin Humphrey (R-Lane) sent a letter to the Oklahoma Attorney General, the Sheriff of Pushmataha County, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and “All Oklahoma judicial authorities and other law enforcement entities,” requesting an investigation into ATF’s SWAT team raid at the home of his constituent, Russell Fincher.

According to a press release, Humphrey said he was contacted by Fincher after a dozen ATF SWAT team members bearing “automatic weapons” raided Fincher’s home, handcuffed him on his porch in front of his 13-year-old son and coerced him into relinquishing his Federal Firearm License.

“If this report is true, and I have every reason to believe it is, then it would appear the ATF’s actions constitute a gross misuse and abuse of their federal police powers,” Humphrey said in the press release.

Fincher’s ordeal was chronicled in a story published in July. The 52-year-old is a high school teacher, a Baptist pastor and a parttime gun dealer.

“Mr. Fincher is a distinguished figure in our community, serving both as pastor and schoolteacher in the small community of Clayton, Oklahoma. He is known as a respected member of the community, and I have every reason to believe his account. If proven true, the actions of the ATF agents could be seen as a severe misuse and abuse of their federal law enforcement authority,” Humphrey wrote in the letter to the AG, Governor and Sheriff. “Mr. Fincher claimed that the intent of the raid was evidently to coerce him into terminating his license. He said agents pressured him to declare that he was willingly signing the three prepared termination papers. He explained that he felt coerced due to the armed agents and the threatening environment. He likened the agents’ actions to extortion rather than a proper law enforcement search. One agent reportedly warned, ‘Tell your firearms buddies we are coming after them.’ If true, this statement appears to be an unlawful threat by the agent.”

Humphrey, who chairs Oklahoma’s Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee, believes the ATF violated Fincher’s Second and Fourth Amendment rights.

The raid on Fincher’s home was led by ATF Special Agent Theodore Mongell.

“You’re done. We have to shut you down,” Fincher recalled Mongell saying during the raid. “You tell all your FFL buddies we are coming for them. We are shutting the gun shows down.”

At Mongell’s order, ATF agents seized more than 50 of Fincher’s personal firearms, which he estimated have a value of $60,000. Fincher recently received a letter from ATF offering to pay him $10 per gun.

Agent Mongell was not willing to discuss or answer questions about the raid.

In his letter, Humphrey hopes the investigation focuses on whether the ATF agents abused their law enforcement power by “coercing Mr. Fincher into terminating his federal firearm license,” and whether the agents issued threats against other firearm dealers operating in Oklahoma.

Humphrey wrote that he considers it his duty to “assert that our state should not permit the intentional and egregious actions of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to infringe upon the rights of Oklahomans to possess and carry firearms.”

“As a legislative body, we have enacted laws to grant law-abiding citizens the right to constitutionally carry firearms and to prohibit the unlawful seizure of such firearms by federal agents under our county sheriff’s jurisdiction,” Humphrey wrote.

A GiveSendGo account has been created to help with Fincher’s legal fees.