Note: Previous reports say a citizen passing by noticed the rifle and called police. According to the man involved, it was the police who noticed the rifle.
A video recently surfaced that showed a rather tense confrontation between Sgt. Shawn Glans of the Saratoga County Sheriffs department and a young man, but it wasn’t tense because of the young man. Police on patrol noticed a rifle in the back seat of a vehicle. No one was in the vehicle but they were able to track down the owner inside the Walmart.
This is where the story begins.
I was able to speak with the vehicle and rifle owner, Colin Fitch, about what happened during the confrontation. Here are the questions that were asked:
Brandon: When the officer first mentioned the rifle being in the back seat, did he ask you if it was yours?
Colin: Yes he did ask and I said yes and had a receipt to prove it he also searched the gun
Brandon: Did the officer ask to see your ID? If so, was it before or after the video footage? And did you show it to him?
Colin: When he first came up to us in Walmart he patted us down and took my id from my wallet without my permission
Brandon: Articles say that you purchased the rifle that morning. Was it purchased from a local gun shop?
Colin: I purchased the gun from a local shop in round lake
Brandon: Out of curiosity, what kind of rifle was it?
Colin: .22 savage mark II
Brandon: Did they give a reason as to why they patted you down and asked for ID?
Colin: No they didn’t
Brandon: So were you inside a Walmart when they approached you?
Brandon: How did they know you were the owner of the car?
Colin: He ran my plates before hand and learned my name and when he approached me he asked my name
Brandon: When the car was searched, you said that they checked the rifle. Did they check to see if it was loaded?
Colin: Yeah they did and I told them before hand the magazine was seperate from the gun and the mag wasn’t loaded
Brandon: Did they take the rifle [afterwards]?
Colin: No they didn’t
Brandon: Did you or your friend face any charges at all in the end?
Colin: We did not
Brandon: When you were with the officer, did he say you were being detained at any time?
Colin: No he didn’t
According to Colin, we have two individuals who were minding their own business in a public place, not breaking any laws, were not being detained, yet were still subject to an act of violence and aggression from Sgt. Shawn Glans. Not to mention having their rights violated. That just doesn’t seem right.
The police hunting down the owner to begin with is something that is debatable. There is nothing illegal about having a rifle or shotgun inside of a vehicle in New York State, except that it cannot be loaded. During the illegal search of the vehicle and rifle, they found that it was indeed unloaded. The owner had followed the law to a T, yet Glans was breaking the law by conducting an illegal search after physically assaulting the man.
It’s important to note that the Glans has been suspended without pay until the investigation is complete.
The best part about this entire ordeal is the response that Glans gave during an interview with the Times Union. This one is a doosie:
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.”
In the end, a great piece of video evidence has been making it’s way around the internet at viral speed. Luckily for Colin, his friend took out the camera and started rolling. If he hadn’t, this would have likely been swept under the carpet as just another ‘routine’ traffic stop.