A concerned citizen called police to report a suspicious vehicle parked in a parking lot that had a rifle sitting in the back seat, most likely a big scary looking one. When police arrived, they came across two men walking back to the vehicle and stopped them to chat.
That’s when things turned ugly. Luckily for the two men, one of them was capturing the encounter on video.
First, it’s important to know the law in New York State when it comes to rifles in a vehicle. A person may carry a rifle or shotgun in his or her vehicle, except it cannot be loaded.
Sgt. Shawn R. Glans, 48, who has been on the force for 27 years, was suspended without pay following the incident.
Glans observed the two men walking out of the woods and back to their vehicle. He stopped them and apparently began to discuss the .22 caliber rifle that was sitting on the back seat. Glans noted that the two were wearing dark clothing and acting suspiciously, but were not breaking any laws.
When asked for permission to search the vehicle, the owner of the vehicle refused.
“We’ll get a (expletive) search warrant,” the video shows Glans telling the young man, who was questioning the deputy’s insistence that he be allowed to search the car.
“I wasn’t in my car when all this was happening,” the young man says. “Like, why don’t you want to search, like, my house or something.”
The video depicts Glans becoming frustrated as he says: “Let me see your (expletive) keys.”
“Why?” the young man asks. “You can’t do that.”
“Because we’re searching your (expletive) car, that’s why,” Glans says.
Then, Glans apparently slaps the man in the face and says “You want to (expletive) resist?” While the slap isn’t caught on camera, you can clearly hear it and see the reaction from the man after the incident. After the slap, Glans takes the mans keys and throws them off camera to another person and tells that person to search the vehicle.
The young man filming the incident tells the sergeant that what just happened was “intense” and asks the officer if he’s going strike him next. The sheriff’s sergeant responds that he could “rip your (expletive) head off and (expletive) down your neck”
“You like that, huh? I can get a lot more intense,” the sergeant tells the young man.
While Glans states during an interview that only a portion of the encounter was captured on video, it is still no excuse to slap a person in the face. That’s assault, and it’s against the law.
During the same interview, Glans is asked if he would have done things the same way looking back. This is the part that really gets under my skin.
Asked if he would have handled the matter the same way again, Glans said he would, but not if he knew it was being filmed. He acknowledged that he did not know the incident was being videotaped.
“I was concerned. It was a public safety issue,” the sergeant said. “If I had to do it all over again … I’d probably do the same thing. If I knew the camera was there, no, because it does look bad.”
That seems to be an officer admitting that he’ll only assault a person if it’s not being video taped. I have to wonder what other incidents have happened over the years that went unreported, simply because he wasn’t caught breaking the law on camera.
Furthermore, a person with a rifle sitting in the back seat of their vehicle is hardly a public safety issue. Just because you have a rifle does not mean that your rights are thrown out the window. Well, normally.
In the end, it seems that neither of the men were charged with any crimes. The rifle was apparently purchased earlier in the day, and the man even produced the receipt for the officers to view. After this, they were allowed to leave.
If it were up to me, Glans should be charged with assault. Anyone else would be.