Canton City Council President Allen Schulman said he takes strong exception to those from outside the area who have blasted the city with negative comments regarding a police video. The footage was taken during a traffic stop involving a citizen with a concealed weapon permit.
City Council President Allen Schulman lashed out at those from outside the Canton area who have blasted the city over a police video involving a traffic stop and a citizen with a concealed weapon permit.
At Monday’s meeting, Schulman also was strongly critical of Ohio’s concealed handgun law.
In a video recorded by a dashboard camera in a police car, Patrolman Daniel Harless berates William E. Bartlett, 52, of Brewster, during a June 8 traffic stop at about 1:40 a.m. in the Newton Avenue NW area. The area is known for drug trafficking and prostitution.
“Whatever happened will be worked out in the judicial process,” Schulman said following the meeting. Schulman declined to comment specifically on the behavior of Harless.
The issue is under investigation and review, he said, and it could come before council in the form of litigation.
Harless’ tirade included repeated foul language and threats after Bartlett indicated he was armed and had a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
In the video, obtained by The Repository through a public-records request, Harless threatened to execute Bartlett for being stupid. Police Chief Dean McKimm has described Harless’ behavior as “wholly unacceptable” and in violation of many department rules.
Harless, who had been on paid administrative leave since June 20, has been on sick leave since Monday.
HUNDREDS OF EMAILS
Schulman estimated he has received more than 100 emails through the council office since late last week. Most of them are from outside the area, including other states, he said.
The mayor’s office has received more than 200 emails, most of them from outside the area and critical of the police officer in the video.
The video went viral Thursday after being posted on the website of Ohioans for Concealed Carry and YouTube.
Bartlett, 52, of Brewster, is contesting the charges against him, carrying a concealed weapon for allegedly failing to notify police about the weapon and a traffic offense for stopping in the roadway. Both charges are misdemeanors..
Ohioans for Concealed Carry is raising money for Bartlett’s defense and using the video in its effort to repeal the law that requires license holders to promptly notify police that they have a weapon.
The requirement is vague and arbitrary, the activist group argues.
Emails were sent by “people who do not live in this community, who do not know our police ... (and) who know nothing about the city of Canton,” said Schulman, visibly angry.
“I take very strong exception ... to out-of-towners making (derogatory) comments about our city,” he added at Monday’s meeting.
Ohio gun laws allow people to carry weapons “in the worst of circumstances,” he said.
“... There are deaths waiting to happen,” Schulman said, referring to both police officers and citizens.
Page 2 of 2 - Schulman said he does not oppose handguns and weapons, including for those who hunt, but he supports “reasonable gun control laws.”
Prior to Monday’s council meeting, Healy commented on the reaction to the police video.
An email referred to Harless as a “stormtrooper of death molesting the Concealed Carry citizen. When you pigz are kidnapped off the street by citizen tactical teams and getting their throats slit on youtube, then will you admit, finally, that you have a problem in Canton? What will it take?”
Another email said that “you had best fire that maggot, out of control, scumbag cop of yours. ... This is your only warning.”
Some of the emails supported Harless. “We respect your officer and the frustration with respect to individuals who clearly do not identify to the officer I have a weapon and permit to carry,” read an email from Minnesota.”
“... Unfortunately, civilians and the media are not capable to watch this (traffic) stop on television and realize the intensity and stress this places on officers!!,” the email read.
Healy said the Police Departments Internal Affairs division is reviewing the incident. “When the results are determined, the appropriate action will be taken,” he said.