Driver feels like a 'victim' after encounter with Canton police officer

Dash cam video of incident goes viral

CANTON, Ohio - A Canton police officer is off the job and on administrative leave, following a verbal altercation with a driver who had a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

William Bartlett said the angry words of Canton police officer Daniel Harless are still ringing in his head more than a month after a verbal tirade on a Canton street.

"I was scared and I'm still a little nervous. I don't want to see that officer. I'm afraid of what he might do," Bartlett said.

Bartlett spoke exclusively to NewsChannel5, one day after the dash cam video of his encounter with the officer went viral.

"People were shocked to see what they seen on TV. You should have been there in my shoes," Bartlett said.

On the video, you can clearly hear the officer yelling and swearing at Bartlett, calling him a "stupid idiot" and "a dummy."

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During one of the most intense moments of the video, Harless said, "I should have took two steps back, pulled my Glock .40 and just put 10 bullets in your (expletive) and just let you drop and I wouldn't have lost any sleep!"

Officer Harless became furious after Bartlett said he had a concealed carry permit and a gun.

Harless yelled, "You are supposed to say that right off the (expletive) bat."

Bartlett is heard responding, "I'm sorry. I was trying to."

The group, Ohioans for Concealed Carry, which first posted the video, said Bartlett tried to the tell the officer about his permit, but Harless kept interrupting and the tongue lashing just kept getting worse.

"People like you don't deserve to (expletive) move throughout public," Harless said on the video.

Canton Police Chief Dean McKimm said officers approached Bartlett on June 8 around 1:30 a.m. because they thought he was in a suspicious vehicle in a high-crime area, but Bartlett said he was there to help a friend and did nothing wrong.

McKimm has reviewed the video and said the officer's actions were "wholly unacceptable" and his behavior violated many of the departmental regulations.

McKimm said Officer Harless has been suspended, but is currently being paid through sick leave. Harless will face a disciplinary hearing and could face termination, McKimm said.

Bartlett was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and has a pre-trial hearing on August 1 in Canton Municipal Court.

A court summons indicated, "Subject had concealed upon his person one .38 Cal Ruger pistol that was loaded and ready to fire. Subject did not inform police officers that he had a CCW permit through Stark County until the weapon was discovered during a pat down of his person during a traffic stop of his vehicle."

Bartlett's gun was seized. Now, he wonders if Officer Harless should lose his gun and badge.

"He shouldn't have said what he said, but he did, so what am I supposed to do? I'm sure not every policeman is bad. I'm sure of that. I respect law enforcement officers.

NewsChannel5 stopped by the home of Officer Harless on Friday, but a family member said he was not available for comment.

The video is posted on YouTube, but contains profanity and may not be suitable for everyone.

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