Judge throws out "failure to notify" case against Canton concealed carry licensee who police officer threatened to "execute"
by Chad D. Baus
The Canton Repository is reporting that a judge has dismissed the case against Ohio CHL-holder William Bartlett, who was threatened with "execution" by a Canton Police Officer Daniel Harless during a traffic stop, saying the prosecution had not proved its case.
From the article:
"I thought it would turn out this way,” is all William E. Bartlett had to say Wednesday afternoon after a judge threw out a concealed carry charge against him that took on a worldwide half-life when the arrest video went viral.
Bartlett's ex-wife, Deborah Bartlett, stood by his side as he shyly shook hands with a gaggle of demonstrative concealed carry permit well-wishers. “I was behind him all the way,” she said quietly.
A conviction could have sent Bartlett to jail for up to six months.
With that charge out of the way, Bartlett pleaded no contest to a traffic violation — stopping in the roadway — and was fined $150 by Municipal Court Judge Stephen Belden.
The Repository article also gives an account of how the prosecution worked to prevent the jury from seeing Harless' violent behavior:
Jurors were shown some of the controversial arrest video but not the portions in which Harless threatened to "cave in" Bartlett's head and later to execute him for being stupid.
Belden ruled that those portions of the video should not be shown to the jury.
The trial was contentious with Assistant City Prosecutor Jennifer Fitzsimmons and defense attorney Timothy E. Bellew of Girard trading objections and requesting sidebar consultations with Belden.
Fitzsimmons did not call Harless as a witness before resting the state's case early Wednesday afternoon.
...Even the portions of the video the jury did view revealed that within the space of a few minutes, Harless' verbal assault on Bartlett ramped up exponentially, despite Bartlett's repeated attempts to inform the officer he was armed.
After the state finished its case, the defense argued that the prosecutor did not meet its legal burden for the weapons charge and asked the judge to throw it out before the defense took its turn. Belden agreed.
What the jury didn't see was Harless raging, "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. Do you understand me?"
"Yes, sir, I do," Bartlett replied, still sounding calm.
The article concludes by noting that Harless has a disciplinary hearing on Dec. 1 regarding this stop and two others in which he became violent and verbally abusive.
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.
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