Thursday, January 12, 2012


Psycho Canton, Ohio Cop Fired for Abusive Behavior During Traffic Stop

Daniel Harless fired from Canton police force

Canton Repository

A pattern of verbal abuse and death or physical threats was too much for the city to overlook when deciding to fire Patrolman Daniel Harless, according to the safety director.

Safety Director Thomas Ream issued the ruling Tuesday and released the three-page repLinkort explaining it Wednesday.

The internal affairs division of the Police Department had investigated three traffic stops involving Harless, each one filmed by a cruiser dash camera. Investigators said that the officer had violated rules for conduct, cooperation with the public and handling persons.

The most controversial and publicized was a traffic stop in June involving a man with a permit to carry a concealed handgun.

During the June stop, Harless told William Bartlett, 52, of Brewster, that “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 your drop. And I wouldn’t have lost any sleep. Do you understand me?”

Also during the stop, Harless, then 45, told Bartlett that he was “so close to caving in (Bartlett’s) head.”

The traffic stop occurred around 1:40 a.m. in the 100 block of Newton Avenue NW.

In November, a municipal court judge threw out a concealed carry charge against Bartlett. He pleaded no contest to a traffic violation — stopping in the roadway — and was fined $150.

“I believe justice was served,” Bartlett said Wednesday. “I really don’t know what to say. I’m glad to see it went that way.

“I’m ready just to get back to a normal life,” he said.

When pulled over by Harless and the patrolman’s partner, Bartlett was armed with a .38-caliber Ruger pistol, which he was permitted to carry under state law.

“It is quite clear that (Harless’) actions represented a pattern of behavior where inappropriate verbal abuse and threats of death or great bodily harm of the various complainants occurred,” Ream wrote in his ruling.

“This escalating pattern of potentially dangerous behavior cannot be justified or excused and clearly illustrates the seriousness of the departmental infractions,” he added.


The city law department asked the Massillon prosecutor’s office to determine whether Harless’ actions warranted criminal charges. John Simpson, chief prosecutor for the city of Massillon, said that he reviewed state law for menacing, aggravated menacing and assault, but there was insufficient evidence to support any charges.

“I’m not condoning anything the officer did, because (it’s) totally inappropriate,” he said.

Simpson said he examined the question of whether “a threat (is) being made when you say, ‘I should have’ or ‘I should do this,’ but (Harless does not) fulfill any of those.”

When considering the criminal charges, Simpson said, the prosecutor’s office determined Harless did not attempt to cause physical harm by touching or assaulting Bartlett.


Harless plans to appeal the decision, said Bill Adams, president of the Canton Police Patrolmen’s Association, the union that represents Harless. An arbitrator would make a final decision in an appeal, Adams said.

Harless could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The June traffic stop drew a wave of negative attention for the city after it captured the attention of Ohioans for Concealed Carry, which posted the video online.

In the footage, Harless unleashes a flurry of profanities at Bartlett, the driver, shouting he should have gunned him down for being stupid.

The police department’s internal affairs division launched an investigation, examining Harless’ behavior during the June 8 arrest and two unrelated traffic stops, which occurred in 2010.

“Well obviously, we’re very pleased,” said Doug Deeken, a coordinator for Ohioans for Concealed Carry, which describes itself as “Ohio’s premier grass-roots gun rights organization.”

“Without him being out there pulling people over, we feel like Canton will be a (safer) place and that’s what we want,” Deeken said Wednesday.

He called the dismissal of the concealed carry charge against Bartlett “another victory.”...[Full Article]

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