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The Suburbanite
  • Gun group calls for Schulman, Harless to resign

  • Ohioans for Concealed Carry, the group that last week released a video of a police officer threatening a Brewster man during a traffic stop, says the officer and City Councilman Allen Schulman should resign. Schulman responds that he won’t step down.

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  • Ohioans for Concealed Carry is calling for the resignation of a Canton police officer and City Council President Allen Schulman.
    On Thursday, the group — which last week posted a video of patrolman Daniel Harless’ threatening and volatile exchange with a concealed carry permit holder during a June 8 traffic stop — issued a statement asking both to step down immediately.
    Harless is on sick leave from the force, pending the results of an internal affairs investigation and discipline hearing for his behavior.
    At Monday night’s City Council meeting, Schulman lashed out at those outside of Canton who were critical of the city, and criticized Ohio’s concealed carry handgun law.
    In the video, Harless remarks that he should have executed William Bartlett for being stupid and uses profane language after learning — minutes into the traffic stop — that Bartlett had a weapon with him.
    Bartlett, 52, of Brewster, is contesting the charges against him: Stopping in the roadway and a carrying a concealed weapon charge that accuses him of failing to properly notify the officer he had the gun.
    The video went viral and has had more than 600,000 views on YouTube.
    “Over the past several days, the behavior of Harless has been roundly condemned by civil rights leaders, attorneys, law enforcement officers and administrators, law professors, news commentators and ordinary citizens across the country; Schulman, too, has been frequently named,” Ohioans for Concealed Carry said in a statement on its website.
    “We are dismayed that city of Canton leaders have not responded to this crisis with the urgency it demands, and that organizations like ours have to call for decisions to be made.”
    It is the first time in the group’s 12-year history it has called for the resignation of a public official, said Philip Mulivor, a coordinator for Ohioans for Concealed Carry.
    The group was founded in 1999. It helped spur Ohio’s first concealed carry law in 2004 and more recently the “restaurant carry” law that takes effect Sept. 30.
    Mulivor declined to reveal the number of members but said Ohioans for Concealed Carry represents more than 210,000 concealed carry licensees in Ohio.
    “We are not in this business to call for resignations but this is an absolutely extraordinary case,” Mulivor said.
    SCHULMAN REACTS
    Schulman said he will not resign.
    “Those people didn’t elect me, and, obviously, if the citizens of our community believe that I do not deserve re-election, I always defer to the voter,” Schulman said Thursday.
    “I appreciate peoples’ passion on this issue, and in America and the United States, people can have respectful disagreements,” he said.
    Ohioans for Concealed Carry also has taken exception with comments Schulman has made regarding the state’s concealed carry handgun law.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I’ve made it a point to say the law recognizes every individual’s right to defend himself or herself and their families,” Schulman said Thursday. “But the amount of force that is used has to be proportional to the danger that is encountered, so you can’t just pull out a handgun and shoot someone for calling you a bad name.
    “I believe it creates more danger for our society than it lessens,” he said.
    Schulman said he has not commented specifically on Harless’ behavior in the video because “we may have to hear a grievance” and litigation may result from the incident.
    Ohioans for Concealed Carry criticized Schulman for not opining about the video’s content.
     “By remaining silent during one of the worst cases of police abuse in recent U.S. history, Schulman has given the unmistakable impression of protecting — and even condoning — his employee’s behavior,” the group said on its website.
    The vast majority of criticism is coming from people outside the community, notes Schulman.
    “I’m just saying you can’t tar and feather our city based on one incident,” he said. “Our city is much bigger and much better than this particular incident.”