Oklahoma lawmaker wants grand jury to investigate ATF raid of constituent

by Lee Williams

If Oklahoma State Representative Justin “JJ” Humphrey gets his way, the ATF agents who raided his constituent’s home last June will all be arrested and charged with multiple state crimes as well as civil rights violations.

Humphrey, who has served as a law enforcement officer for more than 30 years, prepared a probable cause affidavit that he presented to the Oklahoma Attorney General, which outlines the crimes and civil rights violations he believes ATF agents committed when they sent a 12-man SWAT team to the Tuskahoma, Oklahoma home of Russell Fincher, a federal firearm licensee who also teaches high school and serves as a Baptist pastor.

“The Oklahoma Attorney General referred it to the U.S. Attorney General, but we want to get it to a state grand jury,” Humphrey said. “We don’t want the feds investigating the feds. Let’s get it before an Oklahoma grand jury.”

On June 16, more than a dozen ATF SWAT team members clad in tactical gear and bearing automatic weapons raided Fincher’s home, handcuffed him on his porch in front of his 13-year-old son even though Fincher fully complied with the agents’ orders, and then coerced him into relinquishing his Federal Firearm License. Fincher’s ordeal was chronicled in a story published in July.

“You tell all your FFL buddies we are coming for them,” ATF Special Agent Theodore Mongell told Fincher during the raid. Humphrey considers this a terroristic threat – a felony in Oklahoma.

ATF Agents disabled Fincher’s security cameras and then seized more than 50 of his firearms, which were valued at more than $60,000. They later offered to pay him $10 per gun. To date, Fincher has not been charged with any crime.

“I struggle with seeking charges against fellow police officers. However, it appears ATF is abusing their police powers and violating their oaths of office. I believe the ATF has committed crimes and violated Fincher’s civil rights and due process of law,” Humphrey wrote in the probable cause affidavit, which he also submitted to Pushmataha County Sheriff B.J. Hedgecock.

When he first began looking into the raid, Humphrey asked ATF for a copy of the search warrant. “They refused,” he said. “I’ve been an officer for 30-plus years. They were supposed to leave a copy of the search warrant at Russell’s home. It spells out their probable cause.”

Contacted on his cell Thursday, Agent Mongell wasn’t willing to discuss the raid or his probable cause.

“Sir, it’s gonna be the same info I’ve given you each time; I can’t give out any information on an ongoing federal investigation. I will forward it to my superiors.”

Mongell terminated the conversation after he was asked to comment about the likelihood he could face criminal charges.

“This is the end of the interview,” he said.

According to his affidavit, Humphrey believes the ATF agents violated the following state statutes:

  • §21-1483. Extortion or attempted extortion.
  • §21-1485. Obtaining signature by extortion.
  • §21-1484. Extortion under color of official right.
  • §21-1268. Making Terroristic Threats.
  • §21-1993.Tampering with or disabling security or surveillance camera or security systems.

He also believes the agents violated Fincher’s civil rights, specifically the Second, Fourth, Fifth and Tenth Amendments.

“I may follow up by adding theft, since they took his guns and never filed a charge,” Humphrey said. “How do you seize his guns and then maybe charge him later, and then offer him $10 per gun? Talk about extortion. What gave them the authority to take all his guns?”

Humphrey has spoken with ATF supervisors several times about the raid.

“They were just cocky,” he said. “They told me I don’t understand the federal system. I told them I do understand it. Y’all can’t break the law.”