Tuesday, 02 August 2011

Police Officer Under Investigation for Aggressiveness

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Canton policePolice Officer Daniel Harless, of Canton, Ohio, is making quite a name for himself, having garnered a reputation for his outrageous tirades against those he engages in traffic stops. Two weeks ago, The New American reported on Harless’ encounter with a legal gun owner, in which he berated the driver for several minutes and made several threats against the driver. Now, a new video has emerged of a traffic stop that took place in July 2010 between Harless and a car full of passengers, in which Harless threatens to kill them.

In the video, Harless is heard threatening a group of passengers engaged in a traffic stop, and grows angry after he found a gun in the car. Unlike the video that was exposed last month, however, these passengers do not appear to have a permit for the weapon.

In the first video to be released, Officer Harless refused to allow the driver, identified only as “William,” to speak, even though William was attempting to tell the officer that he had a weapon in the vehicle for which he carried a legal permit. Officer Harless adopted an angry and somewhat violent demeanor from the beginning of the stop, and only grew more angry and violent after he learned that William had a weapon in the car, despite the legality of his possession.

However, as noted by The Blaze, “While the details surrounding the incidents are not identical, it does appear Harless is starting to show a pattern of losing his temper when it comes to arrests, and even recycling some of the same death threats.”

Visibly angry, Officer Harless told the passengers, “I’ll kill every one of you motherf*****s! “You f***ing move and I’ll shoot you in the head! “I’ll send you both to the grave!” he continues. “Do not f***ing move a muscle or I’ll put you in the grave.”

“Now I’ll tell you what motherf****r, I’ll shoot you in the face and go to sleep tonight.” Later he says, “you move and I will shoot you,“ and ”get the fu** out before I shoot you.”

The Canton Repository provides specific details regarding the stop:

Harless pulled his weapon and ordered — in profanity laced language — the man and woman in the back seat not to move or he would shoot.

In his report on the incident, Harless wrote that the man looked as if he was trying to make a decision whether to pick up the gun or leave it alone, and that he yelled several orders to the man that he and the woman would be shot if she kept moving around.

The man and woman were eventually removed from the truck. The gun, a .25-caliber semi-automatic pistol, was found loaded with a round in the chamber, according to police reports.

The man with the gun at his feet pleaded guilty in March to improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle, a felony, and was placed on probation.

Though the Repository indicates that no complaints were filed with internal affairs, an investigation has been launched on the second incident.

According to the local police chief, investigations will be conducted for both traffic stops, but he has indicated a greater interest in the second stop, which took place weeks ago, since those involved had a legal permit for their gun.

 “The fact that the incident from last year involved an illegal gun and not a concealed-carry license made it a ‘much more dangerous situation to the officers and the officers would have to react in a much more professionally forceful and focused way,' ” said the police chief.

During an interview with WJW-TV, Anthony Leone, one of the suspects from the 2010 video, reported that he was “freaked out.” He said, “The whole time he’s telling me he’s going to blow my brains out if I move…I was scared, definitely.”

Harless’ behavior is in violation of the Police Department-Officer Code of Conduct, which indicates that all citizens should be “treated equally with courtesy, consideration, and dignity,” and that the “use of force should be used only with the greatest restraint and only after discussion, negotiation and persuasion have been found to be inappropriate or ineffective.” It adds that “every police officer will refrain from unnecessary infliction of pain or suffering and will never engage in cruel, degrading or inhumane treatment of any person.”

Careful viewing of both videos reveals that Officer Harless did not follow proper protocol.

Canton Public Safety Director Thomas Ream explains that Harless has been pulled off the streets while the incidents are being investigated. Part of the Internal Affairs Investigation is whether Harless’ partner should have spoken out following the first incident, explains Ream.

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