By lex, on July 23rd, 2011

In a surprising but welcome development, an English homeowner who successfully fought off a machete wielding burglar less than half his age, in his own home, will not be charged for the latter’s death:

The stabbing came just days after Prime Minister David Cameron promised stronger support for people protecting their property from burglars.

He said: “We will put beyond doubt that homeowners and small shopkeepers who use reasonable force to defend themselves or their properties will not be prosecuted.”

Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for the North West, said: “I am satisfied that Peter Flanagan acted in self-defence after being woken by noises downstairs in his house shortly before midnight.

“On investigating the disturbance, he was confronted by intruders, one of whom was armed with a machete.

“People are entitled to use reasonable force in self-defence to defend themselves, their family and their property.

In a not-so welcome development, a Canton, Ohio man with a concealed carry permit was threatened with execution  * by a rogue cop and now faces charges of “failing to disclose”:

Minutes earlier, William E. Bartlett had told police he had a license to carry a concealed gun and was armed.

“As soon as I felt your gun I should have took two steps back, pulled my Glock 40 and just put 10 bullets in your ass and let you drop. And I wouldn’t have lost any sleep,” Harless shouted. “Do you understand me?”

“Yes, sir, I do,” replied Bartlett, still sounding calm.

The dashboard camera in the patrolman’s cruiser recorded the June 8 traffic stop, and the video went viral Thursday after being posted on the website of Ohioans For Concealed Carry and YouTube.

“I think it’s important for citizens to understand that the behavior demonstrated on the video is wholly unacceptable, and it violates many of our rules, our regulations and standards we demand of our officers,” Police Chief Dean McKimm said in response.

The video is pretty awful stuff, and quickly went viral. The response of the Canton police leadership is certainly re-assuring, but the fact that Officer Harless – now under investigation and on unpaid leave – had been 16 times referred to the Canton PD’s internal affairs division for various complaints, is less so. He had two commendations, one reprimand and was “exonerated of using excessive force, but… given a letter of reprimand for not activating the in-car video camera at the scene per department policy.”

From his bearing and language, I assumed correctly that Officer Harless had a military background. Working the math, having served Canton for 14 years, and Virginia for four, so the 45-year old officer was a Marine for no more than nine or ten years: Long enough for a second re-enlistment, but evidently not long enough to make a career out of the service.

The reason for which now seems clear.

Please let this not become a commentary on how “all cops are fascist pigs” when so many give their lives each year defending us from civil evil. Nor let us ask ourselves “what was Bartlett doing in that neighborhood at 0138,” when he had a perfect right to be there, presence on a given city street not in itself sufficient to create probable cause.

Let us reflect instead on mankind’s fallen nature, and the inherent right to be safe in person and property, a right without which all others fade to insignificance. And remember that our rights are “inalienable” only so long as we stand up for them.

** Old link gone; new one with same quote found — Ed 

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Neptunus Lex

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