The officer’s calm explanation, when confronted with the video of his conduct, was straightforward.
“I was concerned. It was a public safety issue,” he continued. “If I had to do it all over again, I’d probably do the same thing”
But only if there was no video, so no one, including his superiors at the Saratoga sheriff’s office could see Sgt. Shawn R. Glans’ professionalism in action.
From the Albany Times-Union:
Glans confronted the videographer and his friend because he noticed a .22-caliber rifle in the backseat of their car. In the video, Glans becomes increasingly angry and abusive because the pair refuses his demand to search the vehicle. “We’ll get a fucking search warrant,” Glans tells the friend, who calmly insists that there’s no need for a search. “Fucking idiot,” Glans responds. “Give me your fucking keys…I’m searching your fucking car.”
“You gonna fucking resist?” Glans asks as he approaches the man, whose “I’m not resisting” is met with a slap. When the videographer remarks on the “intensity” of the situation, Glans promises that he can get “a lot more intense.” For example, he’ll “rip your fucking head off and shit down your neck.”
If this scenario somehow made it before the Supreme Court, Glans’ choice of words could make for some fascinating oral argument points, such as the official, pseudo-psychological needs for control and officer safety in the use of the as adjective and adverb in lieu of all other available choices. But then, it’s not an easy job being a police officer, and being expected to take command of potentially life-threatening criminals who will not respect a cop unless he informs them of his desire to “shit down your neck.”
While Glans was embarrassed by what appeared on the video, he remained firm in his position that he was just doing his job to protect and serve.
“You saw the video. It doesn’t look good,” Glans told the Times Union. “I’m all about doing the right thing. I had to go to that point because of the factors that came into play. There was a gun that was involved (that) I spotted in the vehicle.”
The line between engaging in rank impropriety and “doing the right thing” tends to be very different based on perspective. The gun spotted in the vehicle was a .22 caliber rifle, lawfully owned and possessed, but nonetheless a gun. To a 27 year sheriff’s department veteran like Glans, the existence of the gun was sufficient cause to take any action necessary to “protect the public.” That meant his use of threats, harsh language, manipulation and a slap to the face of the young man because he refused to acquiesce to Glans may, to his twisted perspective, seem perfectly reasonable.
The Saratoga County Sheriff was not as supportive:
Sheriff Michael Zurlo on Saturday said he was “very disturbed” by what he saw on the video.
“I really am,” the sheriff said. “I don’t condone activity as it’s portrayed and we’re going to look into it and we’ll handle this quickly and swiftly.”
Sgt. Shawn R. Glans, 48, who has been a police officer for 27 years, was suspended without pay pending an internal investigation.
Suspended, of course, is significantly different than fired. Significantly, it appears that Glans not only hasn’t come to the realization that his conduct was reprehensible, but persists in his view that he was not only right, but would have done the same thing had it happened again. With one caveat:
“I was concerned. It was a public safety issue,” he continued. “If I had to do it all over again, I’d probably do the same thing” — if he knew he wouldn’t get caught, that is. “If I knew the camera was there, [I wouldn’t], because it does look bad,” Glans explained. Advocates of police body cameras couldn’t have put it any better themselves.
Without the video, of course, you bet that Glans would have provided a textbook narrative of the event where he was the poster boy for police professionalism and restraint. Just protecting the public, as a good cop should.
H/T Eric Turkewitz
Update: And Glans is charged with official misconduct and harassment and resigned from the department.
Sheriff Michael Zurlo says Glans resigned just hours before the planned start of a disciplinary hearing.
“We’re not going to condone it. Once it’s brought to our attention, we’re going to deal with it,” Zurlo told reporters Monday afternoon.
Bravo, Sheriff. Now, about the other deputy who was present but off camera, whose name is unknown but who stood by as a crime was committed?
H/T Jill McMahan