Tuesday, August 9, 2011


It had to be heartening for Canton City Council President Allen Schulman, in particular, to have a day-in, day-out Canton citizen step up the the Public Speaks microphone at last night's meeting to defend Schulman and Canton city officials in general from anonymous attacks on them made on the comments section of the Canton Repository.

Citizen "Pete" DiGiacomo, a regular at Canton City Council (Council) meetings, gave a heart rending presentation that had to boost the spirits of city officials.  See the presentation for yourself in the video of DiGiacomo's remarks at the end of this blog.

It appears to the SCPR that the city of Canton officialdom is not all that worried that a lawsuit may be forthcoming out of the Officer Harless incident of early June (captured by a Canton Police Department cruiser-cam).  The video shows Harless reacting in a highly agitated state after learning that one of the occupants of a vehicles he and a partner had stopped had a concealed carry weapon.

The profanity/threat ladened video was posted on the Internet by Ohioans for Concealed Carry (OFCC) and, of course, it went viral.

Within a few days OFCC was calling for the resignation of Officer Harless and, surprisingly, Council President Schulman.

Why Schulman?

For expressing concerns about the  proliferation of concealed carry weapons, that's why!

Apparently, one cannot disagree with OFCC without be subjected to an attempt to being drummed out of office for exercising one's First Amendment rights. 

OFCC bills itself as being "a civil rights organization" on its website. 

Perhaps OFCC should rephrase its self-description to:  "a civil RIGHT organization," meaning that it is only interested in promoting the civil right under the Second Amement of the U.S. Constitution right to bear arms?

Another question coming out of this incident is whether or not Canton should expect to be sued by the butt of Officer Harless' outburst?

City officials speaking on the condition of anonymity tell the SCPR that it would be surprising to them if the subject; namely William Barlett of Brewster,  (facing charges of stopping in a roadway and a carrying a concealed weapon charge with the allegation that he failed to properly notify the officer he had the gun), were to file civil litigation against Canton.

The sources are confident that any such lawsuit would not survive a Motion for Summary Judgment. 

However, the strangest things can happen in litigation. 

What if a lawsuit is filed and what if it gets by a summary judgment motion and what if Canton is adjudged to have civil liability or works out a settlement agreement?

What if, meaning:  would such a turn of events put Canton in financial jeopardy?

The answer seems to be:  no.  The Report is told that Canton carries civil liability with a cap of several million with a city deductible of $125,000.  Even in a worse case scenario, it appears that Canton only is in jeopardy - if a lawsuit is filed - for $125,000.

Canton can ill-afford any payouts given it current financial crisis in the light of coming local government funding from the state of Ohio.

Here is the DiGiacomo video.

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