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.