Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Canton PD Officer Who Threatened CCW Holder Fired

Officer Daniel Harless, the Canton, Ohio police officer who threatened to kill a CCW permit holder during a stop as seen in the video below, was fired yesterday by the City of Canton.

As reported in the Canton Repository:
Bill Adams, president of the Canton Police Patrolmen’s Association, the union that represents Patrolman Daniel Harless, confirmed that city Safety Director Thomas Ream ruled that Harless is no longer a member of the city’s police force.

Ream issued a three-page ruling dated Tuesday.

“It is quite clear that (Harless’) actions represented a pattern of behavior where inappropriate verbal abuse and threats of death or great bodily harm of the various complainants occurred,” Ream wrote.

“This escalating pattern of potentially dangerous behavior cannot be justified or excused and clearly illustrates the seriousness of the departmental infractions.”

The story goes on to say that Harless would appeal his dismissal and that he has had undiagnosed PTSD for the last 8 years after an incident where his finger was bitten severely by a suspect.

The Canton Police Patrolmen’s Association, the union representing Harless, has asked for an extension of his hearing due to the PTSD. While not explicitly stated, the story implies that they are standing foursquare behind him in his appeal and many other officers have donated sick leave to Harless while he was on suspension prior to his termination.

Tolerance of bad actors like Harless entrusted with the public's safety by police unions and fellow officers diminishes the public's respect for all officers. Rather than propping him up, they should be pushing to get someone so obviously unstable off the force and into treatment (if really needed). Officers like Harless need to be out of law enforcement for everyone's good. As Thirdpower notes about Harless's PTSD:
He threatens a citizen w/ death and the union is still acting the apologist for him. Sad. If his PTSD is this severe, he is a threat to himself and others and should be institutionalized thereby making him a prohibited person.
I am reminded of the Honor Code at West Point which states "A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do." The point of that Code is that you are just as guilty of lying, cheating, or stealing if you know about it and do nothing. Likewise, in this case, tolerating someone who abuses their authority is just as bad as abusing that authority yourself.

UPDATE: Sebastian at Shall Not Be Questioned speculates that the City of Canton terminated Harless to protect themselves against a potential lawsuit.
I wish I could say this is a case of a town doing the right thing, but I suspect the primary reason is that Daniel Harless was a walking potential 1983 suit just waiting to happen, and I would point out that 1983 allows one to sue all the way up the chain of command.

A Section 1983 suit is for the violation of a person's civil rights by someone acting under State authority and traces back to the Civil Rights Act of 1871.


  1. "he has had undiagnosed PTSD for the last 8 years after an incident where his finger was bitten severely by a suspect."

    Oh please, I'm sorry he got his finger bit but I really doubt he suffered emotional trauma, unless he was already unstable in some manner.

  2. Something in this video is to often true. Had he pulled out his Glock 40 and put 10 shots in the man, his partner would have probably lied for him!
    That is some of the issue I have with LEO's! The CODE they live by needs serious examination IMHO.

  3. This cop is an idiot. That's all I have to say.

  4. Even if his appeal fail, this asshat will probably pop up on some other police force shortly. Probably a small town. His undiagnosed PTSD is a bullshit excuse for bad behavior not only on this stop, but on others as well. This fool is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

  5. The video of Harless is about as scary as it gets. It's a civillian's worst nightmare. Here is a man with full police powers threatening to kill a citicen that is helpless in the face of the threat. The citizen can't resist, can't fight back, or do anything except take the abuse, or be killed if this crazy armed man in uniform slips the last cog and kills him. That is truly terrifying.

    If Harless kills the guy, he can justify it with any number of false claims and who will know any different except for the video? How many other times has he done this that weren't caught on video? I'd bet more than once.

    This officer does not belong in uniform, his fellow officers and the union folks know it but they don't have the moral conviction or personal integrity to admit it. That says a lot about the character of that police department, and especially it's leadership.

    The support for Harless comes from the top. Nobody is going to support him if the Chief says no. Way more than Harless should be fired. In fact the whole chain of command from the chief down to Harless's immediate supervisor has known of his issues for some time, this isn't the first time this has happened with Harless - they should all be held accountable.

    I want to have faith in and admire our officers of the law, but they are sure making it difficult for me to do that when they excuse obvious documented wrong doing.

    1. You are incorrect saying a citizen can't fight back? There are several court decisions saying that in fact you can fight back, even taking the cops' life. Study the case of Sagan Penn, 1982.

  6. "The citizen can't resist, can't fight back"
    See John Bad Elk v. US - and of course you have to get a jury with brains.

  7. That whole PTSD thing is a load of BS. PTSD requires threat of death or great bodily harm to the patient or witnessed by the patient. Getting your finger bit, even severely, does NOT qualify you for bonna-fide PTSD.

    Guy is just a scumbag and his brothers of the shield are covering for him.

    More reason to never talk to or trust the police.

  8. this type of incident are getting out of hand.i have been following and watching U-tube for years and have noticed that the higher authorities condone their officers actions by excuses that the officers were acting in acordince with policy.its time this type of sweeping these things under the carpet stopped.a reprimand might go a long way to show the officer that he`s wrong and don't do it again.our police forces need to be trusted and respected.but its hard to do with the attitude of the police on duty assuming they are always right and us citizens are all liers and stupid.the I smell dope is getting out of hand.i don't want to drive on the roads with drunk drivers but the police just assume all drivers are drunk before even talking to a driver.a DWI can ruin a persons life,but officers will go so far as to plant evidence on an innocent person.lets get our officers respectabl and trust worthy again