Video: Canton officer under investigation after concealed carry arrestZoom Photos
Ohioans for Concealed Carry
This is an image from a video posted on YouTube by Ohioans for Concealed Carry. The video is from a Canton Police Department dashcam of an arrest involving a citizen licensed to carry a concealed weapon.
CANTON —Patrolman Daniel Harless raged at the man in handcuffs.
WARNING: This video was obtained through a public records request. It contains harsh language and may be considered offensive to some viewers.
Minutes earlier, William E. Bartlett had told police he had a license to carry a concealed gun and was armed.
“As soon as I felt your gun I should have took two steps back, pulled my Glock 40 and just put 10 bullets in your ass and let you drop. And I wouldn’t have lost any sleep,” Harless shouted. “Do you understand me?”
“Yes, sir, I do,” replied Bartlett, still sounding calm.
The dashboard camera in the patrolman’s cruiser recorded the June 8 traffic stop, and the video went viral Thursday after being posted on the website of Ohioans For Concealed Carry and YouTube.
“I think it’s important for citizens to understand that the behavior demonstrated on the video is wholly unacceptable, and it violates many of our rules, our regulations and standards we demand of our officers,” Police Chief Dean McKimm said in response.
Harless, a 14-year department veteran, is under investigation, and was placed on paid administrative leave June 20, according to his personnel file.
He has been on sick leave since Monday, and the results of the internal affairs investigation will be presented at a disciplinary hearing, the chief said.
“The city administration, in conjunction with the police department, recognizes the seriousness of this matter,” McKimm said.
THE TRAFFIC STOP
Harless and his partner, patrolman Mark Diels, were working northwest Canton on June 8 when they spotted Bartlett’s gold Pontiac stopped in the 100 block of Newton Avenue NW around 1:38 a.m.
The area is known for prostitution and drug trafficking. A woman was standing outside Bartlett’s car. A third person was in the back seat.
The police ordered the rear passenger to get out and place his hands on the car roof. Harless questioned the man and the woman while Diels climbed in the rear seat. Bartlett sat quietly behind the wheel, according to an enhanced audio version of the recording posted by the gun group.
The Repository obtained from the police department a copy of the recording that was not enhanced and could only immediately verify some audio of the exchange between Harless and Bartlett.
Some four minutes after pulling up to Bartlett’s car, Harless talked to him.
“I have a carry...,” Bartlett said before Harless cut him off, asking for his license. Bartlett then tried to explain why he was in the neighborhood and Harless ordered him out of the car, according to the enhanced recording.
Bartlett got out, holding a card in his hand.
“Why do you keep having that? What is that?” Harless asked.
“Because I have a concealed carry,” Bartlett said.
“You have a weapon on you?”
Bartlett had a .38-caliber Ruger pistol, according to court papers. The officers handcuffed him and put him in the cruiser.
Harless went off.
“I’m so close to caving in your (expletive) head...You (expletive) with me...You’re just a stupid human being,” he shouted at Bartlett, according to both versions of the video.
“Yes, sir,” Bartlett said.
“(Expletive) talking to me with a (expletive) gun. You want me to pull mine and stick it to your head?”
“No, sir. No, sir.”
“People like you don’t deserve to (expletive) move throughout public. Period. Stupid idiot.”
Later, Harless told Bartlett that he should have executed him for being stupid, and threatened to stop Bartlett every time he sees him, tow his car and take him to jail.
Bartlett, 52, of Brewster, is contesting the charges against him, carrying a concealed weapon for allegedly failing to notify police about the weapon and a traffic offense for stopping in the roadway. Both charges are misdemeanors.
The case is pending in Municipal Court with a jury trial scheduled for next month.
Efforts were made to contact Harless and Diels.
SUPPORTING THE DEFENSE
Bartlett wasn’t home when a reporter stopped Thursday. A call seeking comment was left for his attorney.
Ohioans for Concealed Carry is raising money for Bartlett’s defense and using the video in its effort to repeal the law that requires license holders to promptly notify police that they have a weapon.
The requirement is vague and arbitrary, the activist group argues.
“As you start implementing it, it gets real unreasonable, real fast,” said Doug Deeken, a coordinator for the group.
Harless, 45, an Ohio native and former Marine worked as a police officer in Virginia for four years before coming to Canton in 1996.
During his career he has earned several commendations.
One was from a Virginia judge, who praised the way Harless handled a situation involving a man with a gun, according to records in his city personnel file.
Canton’s internal affairs unit has investigated 16 COMPLAINTS involving Harless dating back to 2000.
He was reprimanded in one 2003 case. Harless and another officer were exonerated of using excessive force, but were given a letter of reprimand for not activating the in-car video camera at the scene per department policy.
Bill Adams, president of the Canton Police Patrolmen’s Association, has watched the video of the June incident.
“Obviously whatever transpired on that video is an isolated incident,” Adams said. “It happened and it’s being handled properly right now and the chief is doing what he feels is necessary.”
Adams said calls involving guns can be emotional and dangerous situations, but he wasn’t condoning anything that might have happened on the recording.
“We’re a very well-trained and well-rounded police department that has solid officers that can make good, solid decisions every day,” he said. “You can’t (take) one incident like this and make it like every (officer) is out of control.”
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