Will Canton police officer who threatened to execute concealed carry licensee show up for his own disciplinary hearing?

by Chad D. Baus

As we reported last week, a disciplinary hearing for Canton police officer Daniel Harless, which has already been postponed on two occasions, is scheduled to be held on Thursday, Dec. 15.

The hearing is the culmination of an investigation of Harless' conduct during a traffic stop in June involving a concealed handgun license holder. The officer's actions were captured on dash cam video, and subsequently posted on YouTube.

In the dash cam video, the officer can be heard unleashing a profanity-laced tirade, yelling "I should blast you in the mouth right now...I'm so close to caving in your head," and "you're just a stupid human being!" He continued to berate the license-holder, shouting "You want me to pull mine and stick it to your head?" "People like you don't deserve to f#$%g move throughout public. Period!"

Harless left the driver in the rear of the police vehicle, and returned several minutes later and began shouting at the driver again. "...I swear to God this little bull crap you pulled has me so hot. You know what I should have done? I tell you what I should have done. As soon as I saw your gun I shoulda taken two steps back, pulled my Glock 40, and just put ten bullets in your ass and let you drop. And I wouldn't of lost any sleep. Do you understand me? And he would have been a nice witness as I executed you because you're stupid."

The video went viral, as did two subsequent videos that were uncovered, also showing Harless behaving in a violent and seemingly uncontrolled manner.

In a July 2010 video, Harless can be heard saying "Don't f#$%g move. Let me see your f#$%g hands," Harless shouted. "I'll kill every one of you mother f#$%ers. There's a goddamned gun in this car. You f#$%g move, I'll shoot you in the head."

Harless also threatened to send the suspects "to the grave" if they moved, adding, "I'm telling you what mother f#$%er. I'll shoot you in the face and I'll go to sleep tonight. Do you understand me?"

In a December 2010 video Harless can be heard saying "If you scratch you balls wrong, I'm going to pull my gun and I am going to shoot you."

According to WEWS (ABC Cleveland), an internal affairs investigation concluded that Harless violated three department rules and regulations during the December stop, and also during two other stops where he was captured on dash cam video yelling, swearing and threatening to kill people during traffic stops.

Unfortunately, he was put back on the street, allowing the shocking and violent events of June 2011 to unfold.

After the most recent incident, Harless was put on administrative leave, and later went on medical leave. (The Canton Repository reported last week that he has since run out of sick days, but is still reportedly receiving pay thanks to a special clause in his union contract.)

Yet another investigation was launched, and a disciplinary hearing was set for September 7. On September 3, however, The Repository reported that the hearing has been postponed until December 1 days "at the request of the union [president Bill Adams], which claimed the patrolman has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder." (The Canton Police Patrolmen's Association had actually requested an indefinite extension, which was was denied.)

"The progress that Dan Harless is making with his doctor visits would only be reversed with reliving this incident so close to his treatment for his PTSD disability," Adams wrote. "When his doctor or the city of Canton's doctor would clear him for duty, then an appropriate disciplinary hearing should be scheduled."

Adams also stated at the time that Harless could not assist in his defense or participate in his disciplinary hearing.

Last week, the hearing was again postponed. Canton Police Department Safety Director Thomas Ream told The Repository the hearing was "rescheduled because he had a scheduling conflict." While the "he" was undefined in the article, it may just have been Officer Harless whose schedule was to blame.

You see, Officer Daniel Harless, who only 90 days ago was deemed by the Canton Police Patrolmen's Association to be so mentally "disabled" that he was unable to attend his own disciplinary hearing, was busy last week testifying at a murder trial.

If Daniel Harless is well-enough to testify in a murder trial, in which the defendant was ultimately convicted, he is certainly well-enough to show up to his hearing, right? And he certainly won't attempt to claim a mental disability as a defense a week after he testified at a murder trial, right? After all, we wouldn't want the convicted killer's attorney to file an appeal based on Harless' self-admitted incompetence and possibly get his client's conviction overturned.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

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