A Canton, Ohio, police officer remains on administrative leave this week as video of the officer yelling, cursing and threatening a citizen during a routine traffic stop goes viral online.
"The video shows, frankly, a bad cop combined with bad law," Doug Deeken, a coordinator for the organization Ohioans for Concealed Carry, told The Huffington Post.
The controversy centers on a dash cam video that was obtained by OCC through a public records request. The video, which is about 18 minutes long, shows patrolman Daniel Harless, 45, berating William E. Bartlett, 52, of Brewster.
The incident began at 1:38 a.m. on June 8, when Harless and his partner, patrolman Mark Diels, spotted Bartlett's car stopped on Newton Avenue in northwest Canton. The area is reportedly a hotbed for prostitution and drug trafficking. The patrolman pulled up behind the vehicle to question Bartlett, an individual who was in his backseat and a woman who was standing outside the car.
After questioning the woman and the passenger, Harless approached Bartlett, who was still behind the wheel.
"I have a carry...," Bartlett can be heard saying before he is cut off and ordered out of the vehicle. Bartlett can be seen holding a card in his hand. When asked what it is for, he replied, "Because I have a concealed carry."
After taking Bartlett's .38-caliber Ruger pistol, Harless placed him into the back of the patrol car and began yelling at him for not notifying him he was armed.
"Right now, the s - - t you just pulled, I could blast you right in the mouth ... you're going to catch a felony on this one," Harless said.
"It’s how f - - king cops get killed ... I'm so close to caving in your goddamn head," the officer continued. "You f - - k with me. You're just a stupid human being. F - - king talking to me with a goddamn gun."
Harless goes on to ask Bartlett if he wants him to pull his own gun and stick it to his head, to which Bartlett replies, "No sir. No sir," and then Harless said Bartlett did not "deserve to f - - king move throughout public."
"I swear to god man this little bull crap you pulled has me so hot," the officer said. "You know what I should have done? I tell you what I should have done. As soon as I saw your gun I should [have] taken 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. Do you understand me?"
Bartlett was charged with a traffic violation and failure to notify a police officer about a concealed weapon, according to Deeken. Both charges are misdemeanors. Bartlett is contesting the case and is scheduled to go to court sometime next month.
OCC is raising money for to pay for Bartlett's defense. It is also trying to reform concealed carry laws in the state of Ohio.
"This is not the first or only instance of notification gone wrong," Deeken said. "There have been several other cases where notification was attempted to be made and charges were still brought against lawful concealed carry holders, so this is something we really need to reform."
Bill Adams, president of the Canton Police Patrolmen's Association, told CantonRep.com that he felt the stop was an "isolated incident."
"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."
Canton's police chief Dean McKimm issued his own a statement last week about the incident. "The behavior demonstrated on the video is wholly unacceptable and it violates many rules, regulations and standards we demand of our officers."
Harless has been on paid administrative leave since June 20.
According to Deeken, the city of Canton Prosecutor's Office has offered Bartlett a deal.
"The prosecutor in Canton is using a rather distasteful tactic," Deeken said. "They are trying to get the driver to sign a waiver that he won’t sue the city, which he certainly ought to do. In exchange, they will drop the criminal charges they trumped up against him."
Contacted by The Huffington Post, a person answering the phone at the prosecutor's office and identifying himself as a media spokesperson had little to say.
"I haven't heard of anything about that, so as far as I know it is still under investigation. That is the extent of where the case is right now," said the individual, who would only identify himself as Mark. He added, "I am just a legal intern. I am not supposed to comment on stuff like that for the press."