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D.C. Policeman Accused of Pulling Gun to Quell Snowball Fight

D.C. Policeman Accused of Pulling Gun to Quell Snowball Fight

Two D.C. police officers, on not in uniform, involved in the snowball fight controversy during a winter storm on Saturday. (Screen shot from home video of the incident.)

USA Today via YellowBrix

December 21, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC – A Washington, D.C. plainclothes police officer accused of pulling a gun after his car was pelted during a Twitter-inspired snowball fight in downtown Washington has been placed on desk duty pending an investigation, The Washington Post reports.

Police initially denied any weapon had been displayed until video footage and witnesses indicated otherwise.

The video footage shows that the unidentified officer drew his gun and exchanged angry words with the boisterous crowd after his Hummer was hit by one or two snowballs, the Post said.

The City Paper reports said the police department, after initially denying a weapon was involved, issued a press release saying it had “subsequently received additional images and statements that would seem to support the allegation that the off-duty member did pull a gun” and was now investigating the matter.

The snowball fighters, mostly in their 20s and 30s, organized the “fight” at 14th and U street as a break from a huge snowstorm that had paralyzed the city this weekend.

Related: DC Chief Slams Officer Over Gun at Snowball Fight

The Post says 25-year-old Yousef Ali, a media and technology geek, spent 11 hours using Twitter and other social media to spread the word.

If the final investigation shows the officer pulled his weapon after being pelted with snowballs, D.C. Assistant Chief Pete Newsham, head of the investigative services bureau, said that “would not be a situation in which a member [of the force] would be justified,” The Post reports.

“We have to see what the entire circumstance was,” Newsham said Sunday. “But just a snowball fight, not in my mind. That doesn’t seem a situation where we would pull out a service weapon.”

Video Coverage of the Incident >>>

  • Geiger_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Stupid Move !

  • Draped_badge_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Can we say no people skills...I have been known to engage in a couple rounds of snowball fights when I was on the street...Snowed so rarely in Va Beach why waste it...Just good community policing...

  • Msst03_max50


    over 4 years ago


    On the one hand, he displayed a service weapon as a result of being the target of frozen water. My immediate reaction is probably not the best move in the world. On the other hand, he didn't shoot, spray, taser, kick, hit, or cuff anyone, so the standard newspaper tripe of 'police brutality' just isn't gonna get much mileage. Magic Eight-Ball says "outcome cloudy, ask again later".

  • Joker-as-police-man_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Sometimes your cellphone is your best tool when off-duty. IMHO this looks like a case of "contempt of cop", not sure why he interjected himself into what appears to be a planned snow ball fight. Just one cops opinion.

  • Swat_guy_transition_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I hope there was more then a snowball being displayed for an officer to feel threatened enough to have weapon pulled! If not, you have a snowballs chance in h*&# talking your self out of this. By the sound of the sound bites that won’t help you either.

  • Mourning_max50


    over 4 years ago


    eh.....may be the observe and report might have been an option in this case.

  • Cdcr_badge_max50


    over 4 years ago


    No bueno...this is not going to have a good ending

  • 74596_129289523905506_927477597_n_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Not defending his actions or anything but why couldn't the crowd stage a snowball fight at a park instead of the middle of town??

  • Img_20111016_163737_max50


    over 4 years ago


    this will not end well

  • Img_0103_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Well... as "chiefmillan" said, this is not a good situation for anybody to be in. There will be no winners here. The threat of loosing and having to replace one of there own, once he is suspended or worse, fired....The city will suffer the loss as well as the Dept. that this man served on. "Just not good at all!!!!!

  • 005_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Let's just see what happens, maybe there was something that he saw or someone was being to rowdy. He should have just waited in his car, or just kept going.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    Not a good situation all around. Time will tell what the internal investigation pans out

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    After watching 10 different versions of "videos"... I have some comments which may not necessarily be to everyone's taste... Sorry.

    1. This guy should have kept driving... I would problably do so in a similar situation.
    2. If he decided to stop, he should have been in the phone with a 911 Operator... I would.
    3. When out of the vehicle, he should FIRST ID himself as a PO...
    4. When at the phone, point out to the 911 OP a disorderly crowd and request back up.

    Then again, I wasn't there. It was his call, not mine...
    Althought I have been in similar situations... WITH SNOWBALLS... YES.

    That said, I have to remind everybody here: It's a PO. Duly authorized to to have a firearm. He didn't point the gun at anyone. He didn't threat anyone...
    So, please... Don't crucify him just yet....

  • Spartan_cops_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Not good............

  • Image_max50


    over 4 years ago


    All of this over a snowball fight. Crazy. These people must have nothing better to do with there time off.

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