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 |  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.

  2. #2 |  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.

  3. #3 |  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.

  4. #4 |  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.

  5. #5 |  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.

  6. #6 |  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.

  7. #7 |  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…

  8. #8 |  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.

  9. #9 |  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.

  10. #10 |  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.

  11. #11 |  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.

  12. #12 |  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…


  13. #13 |  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.

  14. #14 |  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.

  15. #15 |  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 […]

  16. #16 |  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.

  17. #17 |  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.

  18. #18 |  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 […]