Goofus and Gallant: Cops and Guns Edition

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

So for this first video, I’d only toss in the caveat that if open carry is legal in your state, I don’t like the idea that you can expect to be periodically stopped and asked to explain yourself for carrying openly—you shouldn’t have to regularly explain yourself to police for any activity that’s perfectly legal.

That aside, this police officer is the epitome of professionalism. Good for him.


This on the other hand . . . well, just watch.

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68 Responses to “Goofus and Gallant: Cops and Guns Edition”

  1. #1 |  AdamH | 

    “So for this first video, I’d only toss in the caveat that if open carry is legal in your state, I don’t like the idea that you can expect to be periodically stopped and asked to explain yourself for carrying openly—you should have to regularly explain yourself to police for doing any activity that’s perfectly legal.”

    I think you meant to say: You shouldn’t have to regularly explain yourself to police for doing any activity that’s perfectly legal at the end of the sentence. Not: You SHOULD have to…

  2. #2 |  CK | 

    I am unsure of the virtues of either open or concealed carry of an empty weapon.
    As a fashion statement in CA it probably makes as much sense as argula sandwiches.

  3. #3 |  Marty | 

    the Canton cop yells about ‘this is how cops get killed’ because the guy was unable to inform that he was carrying, then proceeds to shit all over the guy and the chick… I suspect treating people like shit will get you hurt a lot faster than some guy minding his own business having a gun.

  4. #4 |  Wiregeek | 

    My name is.. my badge number is.. god bless america.

    Gallant is still attempting to coerce a citizen into giving up his papers with no legal right to do so.

    Goofus needs, desperately, to stop breathing.

  5. #5 |  Joe | 

    At least it appears that Canton is going through the steps to get rid of that out of control officer. Definitely one worth following up on, just to make sure they are being honest.

  6. #6 |  Andrew S. | 

    Future Canton PD Statement: After reviewing the dash cam footage, we believe the officer acted properly in accordance with all relevant procedures. Policemen have a difficult and dangerous job, yadda yadda, police being shot, etc., and no discipline will take place.

  7. #7 |  Lorenzo | 

    In fairness to the Canton officer, he may have possibly been fueled by steroids, at least based on his Bondsian noggin.

  8. #8 |  Juice | 


    Arugula on sandwiches is delicious.

  9. #9 |  Andrew S. | 

    Unsurprisingly, the comments on the local article about the Canton PD Officer make me sad.

  10. #10 |  Joe | 

    Andrew S, I understand your concerns, but let’s at least let them fuck up first. So far it appears they are responding appropriately to this:

    I want to assure our citizens that the behavior, as demonstrated in this video, is wholly unacceptable and in complete contradiction to the professional standards we demand of our officers. As such, appropriate steps were placed in motion as dictated by our standards, policies and contractual obligations. Those steps included: The officer immediately being relieved of all duty. The incident has been referred to the Internal Affairs Bureau for what will be a complete and thorough investigation. As bad as the video indicates our officer’s actions were, there is a due process procedure to follow. That process is designed in the best interest of both our employees and the citizens at large. That process will be followed in this case as in all others. Anyone shown to be in violation of our rules and regulations will be help appropriately responsible as dictated by all the facts. ~Chief Dean McKimm

  11. #11 |  Neil | 

    If Canton PD had pulled out his Glock .40, put 10 bullets in him, and gone home to sleep soundly, I bet this tape would have been conveniently lost.

  12. #12 |  JSL | 

    The Ohio cop would be another perfect example why we(citizens) cannot trust the police and answers the Oceanside officer’s question of why the gentleman was video taping the stop. We’re not a 3rd world nation yet but its getting that way Officer Gallant.

  13. #13 |  Sean L. | 

    Could anyone explain to this idiot (in the second video) that someone who was going to actually shoot you wouldn’t follow a lawful order to step out of the car much less announce they had a gun.

    Not excusing anything that happened in the video, or that he should even have to notify, but to comply with the (seemingly unconstitutional) law, he should not have answered the cop’s first question, but stated “Before I answer that I am required to inform you…yadda yadda yadda.”

    That probably would not have made the stop much different, but at least he would have had a leg to stand on against the felony charge.

  14. #14 |  Leonard | 

    you should [not] have to regularly explain yourself to police for doing any activity that’s perfectly legal

    The activity that “Jeremy” was doing was in fact legal. However, it was visually indistinguishable from an illegal activity (carrying a loaded gun). Now, I’m all for legal carry of any kind, open or concealed, and preferably loaded. (I’ll second CK in questioning the value of carrying an unloaded weapon.) I think the 2nd amendment ought to apply. However, obviously it doesn’t.

    The question is: should police be proactive in checking out highly unusual behavior that may or may not be illegal? I think so.

    It is interesting to try to think of other pairs of unusual legal/illegal activities which are visible but visually indistinguishable. But as a thought experiment: breaking into a house/breaking into your own house.

  15. #15 |  Cyto | 

    #10 | Joe |

    I think the fact that these actions were not taken until the video went public is reason enough for skepticism.

    Even if they do right, the fact that one only does right after one is caught doesn’t engender confidence.

  16. #16 |  Cyto | 

    Andrew S – I was somewhat heartened at the number of comments that could have been posted by Agitots. However, there’s also the other sort, like “bigbeak”, who concludes his bootlicking post with:

    Those cops put their lives on the line whenever they go out. I support them. They are the ones trying to keep me safe. Not the NRA!

    You really are drinking the cool-aid if you post that in response to this video.

  17. #17 |  OBTC | 

    #15 | Cyto

    Nailed it!

    In addition:

    “Never trust the members of a profession who are legally empowered to lie,
    then swear to tell the truth about it later.”

  18. #18 |  jb | 

    “The activity that “Jeremy” was doing was in fact legal. However, it was visually indistinguishable from an illegal activity (carrying a loaded gun)”

    Seriously? I am in favor of open carry being legal, but it is beyond ridiculous for a legal activity to be visually indistinguishable from one that is illegal and justifiable suspicion for being stopped. Under those conditions, the legal activity is effectively illegal (doing it exposes you to harrassment and contempt-of-cop prosecution).

  19. #19 |  yonemoto | 

    Uh, in video #2 what exactly were they doing that got the police’s attention in the first place??

  20. #20 |  SJE | 

    Where is the NRA? They were AWOL on the Heller case until the last moment. Now they are AWOL on these cases. I think that the NRA has safely won the right to possess and go hunting, but if they want to claim the mantle of guns for self defense, they need to stand up for citizens and against the cops. I realize that this might provoke some dissension, with all the cops among NRA members, but if you are single issue organization, you lose credibility if you waiver.

  21. #21 |  greenish | 

    Carrying a firearm is still useful even when unloaded. Most of the time when a firearm is used to deter a criminal, it’s not fired at all, merely brandished. Most criminals aren’t willing to take the risk.

  22. #22 |  MacK | 

    Second video: I Love the search of the car without even asking if the vehicle may be searched.

  23. #23 |  BSK | 


    That is a tricky argument to make. If someone reasonably appears to be under 21 but is drinking a beer or carrying a 6 pack down the road, is it unreasonable for the cops to ask for identification? If a parent is carrying a child who is kicking and screaming, “LET ME GO! LET ME GO!” would it be inappropriate for an officer to make sure that it is indeed the parent and not a kidnapper? If someone is climbing in through the window of a house, can a cop stop and make sure they are a resident of the house?

    Obviously, all of these situations are opportunities for abuse. But let’s assume the cop handles it properly, even better than the guy in the “Gallant” video. I do think that when a legal activity and illegal activity are indistiguishable, it is reasonable for a cop to quickly and as unobtrusively as possible ascertain whether the act is legal or illegal. If they can only act when absolutely certain a crime is happening, they could see a stream of people climbing out of the broken window of a house with TVs and DVDs under there arm because, hey, maybe that is just how a guy is choosing to move. There is no law against taking TVs out of your own window, is there?

    What I’m not clear at is what law the guy might have been breaking? Is it illegal to carry a loaded weapon? Does one need to be permitted (it appears not because I didn’t see the cop ask for any documentation of that form)?

  24. #24 |  MassHole | 


    Criminals conceal their weapons and keep them loaded, regardless of what the law says.

    Openly carrying a firearm in a state where it’s mandated the firearm be empty = shoot me first badge. Pointing an unloaded gun a someone with a loaded one is a good way to get shot.

  25. #25 |  bigjohn756 | 

    The Ohio cop f’d up big time when he failed to interrogate the driver at the outset. After trying to pin a whole bunch of stuff on the passengers in an effort to find an easy arrest, the cop is clearly scared and embarrassed by finding an armed man in the car. Then the a-hole tries to cover his huge mistake by yelling and screaming and manhandling the driver in an effort to transfer the blame from himself.
    This cop is terminally stupid. Did he forget that his dash cam was on to give lie to everything he said? I wonder what he intended to charge the driver with after the video was viewed? It is really too bad that such incompetence is, generally, encouraged in our police forces by ignoring such blatant miscarriages of justice such as this without any consequences for the officer.

  26. #26 |  Anthony | 

    Bigjohn: he didn’t forget about the camera, he just assumed it would “malfunction” at the right time for him.

  27. #27 |  BSK | 

    That “prompt inform” law or whatever it is called seems a recipe for disaster.

    “I have a gun.”
    “He made a threat! FIRE!”

  28. #28 |  BSK | 

    Now, I will say that the department seems to be taking the Canton issue seriously and hopefully they follow through on that.


    ““Obviously, whatever transpired on that video is an isolated incident. It happened, and it’s being handled properly right now, and the chief is doing what he feels is necessary.””

    Isolated? Really? Perhaps in Canton using a very strict defintion of “incident”, but I’m pretty sure we can Rickroll this guy with dozens of videos demonstrating the exact same or similar abuses by cops.

  29. #29 |  Deoxy | 

    I’m pretty sure we can Rickroll this guy with dozens of videos demonstrating the exact same or similar abuses by cops.

    and that’s just the ones we actually have video of.

  30. #30 |  Leonard | 

    What I’m not clear at is what law the guy might have been breaking? Is it illegal to carry a loaded weapon? Does one need to be permitted (it appears not because I didn’t see the cop ask for any documentation of that form)?

    BSK: See open carry is legal in CA. Open carry of an unloaded gun is legal in California, and does not require any permit. Carrying loaded guns is illegal.

    For those wondering, you are allowed to carry ammo including in a magazine ready to be loaded. You just cannot have it in the gun. Given a loaded clip, loading most semiautomatic pistols is fast. You just slide the magazine in the bottom and rack the first round (i.e. here). So carrying unloaded can be a pretty good crime deterrent. Not as good as a loaded gun — but far better than nothing, I think.

  31. #31 |  Big A | 

    In the Gallant video, the second officer blatantly jaywalks to make it to the scene. I await his prosecution.

  32. #32 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    I wonder if sadistic goons like Gallant are why we need the Second Amendment in the first place…

  33. #33 |  Michael Chaney | 

    People need to pull Harless’ other videos and see what else he’s been up to. As others have pointed out, his partner needs to be charged, also (failure to intercede). And, finally, he needs to be drug tested. I’m not the only one thinking it’s roid rage….

  34. #34 |  Charlie O | 

    #21 SJE,

    Fuck the NRA. They are worthless as tits on a bull. The NRA is interested in one thing, squeezing as much cash from its members as possible. I resigned the NRA after receiving, get this, daily pieces of mail from that shitbag Wayne Lapierre begging for money. Every freaking day, a letter from the NRA begging for money. And this goes on for months. Screw them.

  35. #35 |  JOR | 


    That’s a good point. Openly carrying an unloaded weapon functions perfectly well as a deterrent unless there’s a law specifically permitting open carry only of unloaded weapons. I’m usually perfectly willing to ascribe deliberate malice, rather than mere stupidity to policymakers and lawmakers, but whoever came up with that idea has to be totally clueless about personal violence and self-defense situations.

  36. #36 |  James J.B. | 

    Gun rule 101

    Don’t pull the gun unless you plan to shoot and kill your assailant. Warning shots are for the movies.

  37. #37 |  Buddy Hinton | 

    Maybe Kerr or Jenkins or one of the other crim law savvy posters can clue me in, but was was the 4A exception that allowed the popo to search the back seat???

  38. #38 |  Jim | 

    ‘Gallant’ may be professional, but his “muzzle-awareness” is lacking-he has a firearm (which may be chambered) pointed at passing traffic while trying to rack the slide.

    Start pushin’, Bub.

  39. #39 |  DocHoliday916 | 

    OK…this is latter half of July and the Canton video occurred in June. Ohio CCW got this video say…in the last three days? So how did this video get out of the control of the Canton PD and into the hands of Ohio CCW? Did someone inside the Canton PD give this cop up? If so, he deserved it. The time gap still bothers me. Videotape print states that the DA has offered the suspect a deal not to prosecute if the suspect signs a deal not to sue. DA might as well telegraph the world they’ve got a weak case if any. This cop needs to find another line of work say florist?

  40. #40 |  Joe | 

    Cyto, I am not overly confident. But it was a step in the right direction and that should be encouraged (and verified).

  41. #41 |  Joe | 

    Definitely verified. I want to see a proper outcome. Words are cheap.

  42. #42 |  Josh J | 

    Radley, you are so bad for my blood pressure.

  43. #43 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I’m sure this is the very first time the officers of the Canton PD were aware that O1 (Officer Harless) was abusing his powers. But, now that they know, they will definitely take appropriate action. I’m sure they are extremely thankful to the Ohio CCW for posting this on youtube, bringing it to their attention for the first time so they can rectify the situation and make their department a better, more friendly, place.

    Well, either that or this kind of behavior is just so common that no one even gave it a second thought.

  44. #44 |  Robert | 

    Leonard “BSK: See open carry is legal in CA. Open carry of an unloaded gun is legal in California, and does not require any permit. Carrying loaded guns is illegal.”

    In CA, loaded open carry is illegal in incorporated areas. It is legal in unincorporated areas, with certain other restrictions.

  45. #45 |  croaker | 

    Goofus, huh? IMO that clown would have to climb Mt. Everest to come up to the level of Goofus.

  46. #46 |  pbk | 

    Okay, I want to comment on the first video. While the immediately striking feature is the cop not being a raging ass-hole from the get go, the real take-away for me is how well he does is job.

    I don’t think it’s too much to ask for cops to be able to figure out what’s going on in a situation quickly and effectively, in fact it seems like something that the police officers themselves would value even more than I would. This guy peg’s the videographer immediately. He’s smart! He reads the situation and modifies his behavior and demeanor accordingly. He de-escalates the situation and treats the dude with respect. He explains his rational for each of his actions and requests. He busts out the non-threatening grandpa glasses. Brilliant!

    All in all, some refreshing video evidence of a police officer doing his job smartly and effectively. He should get a commendation.

    Good job.

  47. #47 |  BSK | 


    Thanks for clarifying. Does that mean you don’t even need an owner’s permit for the gun? I’m just trying to understand. You can’t do shit in NY.

  48. #48 |  Curt | 

    I should’ve quit watching after the first video. Wouldn’t be so pissed right now.

  49. #49 |  mekender | 

    “In CA, loaded open carry is illegal in incorporated areas. It is legal in unincorporated areas, with certain other restrictions.”

    Correct, and since the vast majority of counties in CA are virtually non-issue when it comes to CCW permits, there are wide swaths of the state where the right to bear arms is completely prohibited. I suspect that these laws will be forced to go away within the next few years.

  50. #50 |  Cyto | 

    #43 | Dave Krueger |

    from other sources, there have been 16 complaints against this officer in the last 11 years. No idea if they are valid numbers.

  51. #51 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #50 Cyto

    from other sources, there have been 16 complaints against this officer in the last 11 years. No idea if they are valid numbers.

    Christ. I hope the media puts some emphasis on that fact.

  52. #52 |  Rich | 

    I have a CCW and routinely carry.

    I live in a state that does not have duty to notify. Neither does my state have CCW info tied to your driver’s license. I find this amazing since this is a very gun rights hostile state.

    One night I get pulled over by the local PD while carrying (my head light was out). I put on all of the interior lights, put down the driver window, and put my hands on the steering wheel in plain sight.

    When the officer comes up to the car window he asks for my license and registration. I say “Before we get started I want you to know that I have a carry permit and I’m armed”. His look of surprise almost made me laugh.

    He asked what I had and where I was carrying it so I told him. And no, I won’t tell you, “concealed” means concealed.

    I tell him and he asks to see my permit along with my license and registration. I produce the paperwork and he does the standard check thingy they do when they stop somebody.

    He comes back with a ticket (grumble, grumble), and I’m on my way.

    Even though I wasn’t required to let him know, I figured that we would both prefer it if I told him than have him find out on his own.

    As for the Ohio cop in the second video, he should be fired and prosecuted.

    Threatening to shoot someone counts (at least in my state) as assault with a deadly weapon even if you don’t actually have a gun.

  53. #53 |  Dave Krueger | 

    The way I see it, just requiring a license seems like a violation of the Second Amendment. If you have the right to a gun you shouldn’t be required to ask anyone’s permission. Even if you loose that right because you commit a felony, that shouldn’t mean others should have to get a license.

  54. #54 |  Ron Good | 

    @ Dave Krueger :

    Well, yes, you are totally correct *logically*…but you only say that because you understand:

    1) that words mean things, and

    2) that “rights” and “permissions” are different things, and not synonyms at all.

  55. #55 |  Laura Victoria | 

    I recommend everyone read the link provided by #9 from the Canton paper. There are lots of backstory details. ‘Roid Rage has 16 prior complaints, and was “disciplined” for one. That discipline consisted of a warning letter because he intentionally turned off his dash cam in a case of excessive force. He was exonerated of the excessive force. I have a feeling he wouldn’t have been if the dash cam had been on.

    #9 – thanks for the link. You’ll be heartened to see that now, about 90 percent of the commenters in Canton are anti-Officer ‘Roid Rage.

  56. #56 |  Laura Victoria | 

    Meant to add that the video was apparently obtained via an open records request. That’s what the bad language warning above the video in the Canton paper says, again, the link is in #9’s comment. And the search was unlawful too, as far as I can see. And, according to a Canton commenter, the victim needed medical treatment the pig cranked the cuffs so tight.

  57. #57 |  JSL | 

    From #9’s link:

    “Harless, 45, an Ohio native and former Marine worked as a police officer in Virginia for four years before coming to Canton in 1996.”

    Further proof Officer Gallant on that 3rd world country problem…

  58. #58 |  homeboy | 

    @ #14, Leonard

    I wonder about the relevance of your thought experiment. I can easily understand the reasonable suspicion arising from watching someone break into a house, any house. After all, breaking into a home is a violent behavior, relatively unlikely to be expressed by an innocent party, and one not generally countenanced by statute. But the open carry of an unloaded firearm in the precise manner prescribed by statute is normative to the legal behavior the statute defines, and is, perforce of definition, specifically countenanced by the statute. It seems we have a case of animal and mineral here.

    Remember, reasonable suspicion cannot arise from ambiguity in observation. According to the Supreme Court, it must be particularized and articulable from specific observation or evidence. I don’t believe that stopping and detaining someone who is expressly complying with a statute (and is incapable of complying with the permissive ambit of the statute in any other way) should pass muster.

  59. #59 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I think the state might try and make a case that the rarity of openly carrying a weapon could be considered enough of a deviation from the norm to constitute a reason to investigate further.

    On the other hand, it could be argued that openly carrying a weapon is an indicator that a crime is NOT being committed since illegally carried firearms would almost certainly be concealed.

    For the record, I am of the opinion that openly carrying a weapon should not be construed to be reasonable suspicion. In fact, I’m more inclined to think that, absent any other factors, reasonable suspicion doesn’t enter the picture at least until the guy actually pulls the gun out of the holster and has it in his hand.

  60. #60 |  homeboy | 

    @ #59, Dave Krueger

    Yes, I anticipate that is precisely the case that the state would try to make (either that or that somehow the subject’s statutory compliance created an exigency). My point would be simply that I find such a case without merit. Legally, it is not enough to say, “I had a reasonable suspicion that the subject was deviating from the most common norm.” The cop must be able to state, “I formed a reasonable, particularized, articulable suspicion, based on specific evidence or observation, that a crime was being committed” before he is allowed to detain someone. I am fine with a cop investigating further by speaking to a subject as he walks by or through continued observation, but to detain someone to question him and perform a search of his effects requires reasonable suspicion.

    I agree entirely with the remainder of your comment.

  61. #61 |  Joshua | 

    #2: California residents sometimes carry unloaded guns with a magazine in a pocket or belt holster. The law requires them to carry the gun unloaded, and the thinking is that it’s better to have a gun that you have to load (which can be accomplished relatively quickly, with practice) than no gun at all. Obviously, a loaded gun is preferable, but not within the bounds of the law in CA.

    #21: You’re right, but pointing an unloaded gun at somebody is stupid. It’s a bluff, and you shouldn’t bluff with matters of life-and-death unless you’ve got no other choice.

    #24: I basically agree with your comment, but regarding “shoot me first,” I open-carry in my state, and you would be simply amazed at the number of people who simply don’t notice you’ve got a gun on your hip.

    #27: That’s why you don’t say, “I have a gun,” you say, “I have a carry permit… and I am carrying a firearm.” Lead with the permit! Practice saying it at home so you don’t blurt out anything stupid!

    #47: In most parts of the US, you don’t need an owner’s permit to buy a firearm. You go into the gun shop, fill out your federal form 4473, the proprietor runs a background check via an automated phone system, you pay your money, and away you go. In most states, you need a permit to carry the gun in public, however.

  62. #62 |  John C. Randolph | 

    >. Given a loaded clip, loading most semiautomatic pistols is fast. You just slide the magazine in the bottom and rack the first round (i.e. here).

    And if you’re lucky, that’s only enough time for someone who’s not carrying his weapon unloaded to put four or five rounds in you…


  63. #63 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I understand that citizens carrying guns is a potential threat to cops, but one must always remember that all cops are about a million times greater threat to citizens at all times.

  64. #64 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    The officer in the second video threatens with physical violence two people on video multiple times. This is the poster child for what a cop shouldn’t be, what the police union should be against, and what type of people shouldn’t be cops. So…I assume he’s getting medals all over the place and a few raises.

  65. #65 |  Officer Daniel Harless’ Greatest Hits | The Agitator | 

    […] is the Canton, Ohio cop who went nuts on a conceal carry permit owner during a traffic stop in June. There’s now a second video of a […]

  66. #66 |  Stray | 

    Having been born and raised in Canton, grew up a couple blocks behind the Football Hall of Fame, I can say that Cantonians in general always had an innate irrational fear of guns. Don’t know why, but if you ever told your friends or anyone that you owned a gun they would automatically look at you like you had a trunk full of dead hookers. Most people wouldn’t want to hang out around you anymore, feeling certain that YOU were the one who would go nuts and kill everybody you know. Funny though, if you said you were a hunter and had a deer head on the wall then it was perfectly okay?

    Then almost all people (my mother being the worst one) had that BS belief that if the cops pull you over you MUST be guilty. Why would they waste their time otherwise? Cops always had the reputation of having that belief also.

  67. #67 |  Stray | 

    Also, for other gun carriers out there (Rich above #52), I have been carrying in Phoenix for 30 years. It was always legal to wear a holster here. I learned from somebody right off, when a cop pulls me over I stick both arms out the driver window and yell, “I AM ARMED!” Every single time I have ever been stopped it went like this;

    “Where’s your gun?”
    “On the console.” <– Always never concealed
    "Slowly hand it to me."

    Conversation goes on about the stop. Things wrap up and the cop always
    hands my gun back and says;

    "Thanks for telling me about your gun and the way you did that! You should teach a class."

    I've been stopped about 10 times in 30 years, speeding or whatever and every single cop handled it this way. I never had a problem, then again I have no record.

  68. #68 |  Legally carrying a weapon is a crime | 

    […] arrested for videotaping police encounters with civilians: because no one knows the law (see also this post by Balko on an issue similar to the one in the instant […]