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Cop Off Streets After Pulling Gun at Snowball Fight

Cop Off Streets After Pulling Gun at Snowball Fight

A group takes part in an impromptu snowball fight that took over the intersection of 14th and U Streets during a snow storm in Washington, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009. (AP Photo)

The AP via YellowBrix

December 22, 2009

WASHINGTON – D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier criticized a veteran detective Monday for pulling a gun during a mass snowball fight.

D.C. Police Det. Mike Baylor – a 28-year veteran of the force – has been placed on desk duty while authorities investigate the incident.

Lanier said she had watched video clips from the weekend confrontation and has no doubt that the off-duty, plainclothes officer pulled his gun after snowballs hit his personal vehicle during Saturday’s record snowfall.

“Let me be very clear in stating that I believe the actions of the officer were totally inappropriate!” Lanier said in a statement. “In no way should he have handled the situation in this manner.”

Related: DC Chief Slams Officer Over Gun at Snowball Fight

Hundreds of people were gathered for the snowball fight on a major street during Saturday’s snowstorm.

One video posted on YouTube showed a man holding what appears to be a gun in the snowy street. Another video shows the same man telling people he is “Detective Baylor” and that he pulled his gun because he was hit by snowballs.

Videos also show a uniformed police officer holding his gun by his side before holstering it again. Police said in a statement Sunday that the uniformed policeman was there in response to a call about an armed man, acted appropriately and did not point his weapon at anyone.

Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham did not identify Baylor as the detective involved in the incident, but said the officer has withdrawn his badge and weapon.

Related: See the video.

Newsham says Baylor could be fired, depending on what the investigation reveals.

“When you’re using your weapon, it’s for deadly force so you’d have to be confronted with deadly force or someone else would have to be confronted with deadly force for you to use your weapon,” Newsham says.

“I don’t think a snowball would rise to that occasion.”

Newsham said the internal affairs division wants to complete its investigation as quickly as possible, within a number of weeks.

“He has a very good reputation,” Newsham said of the officer. “We have to put the whole incident into context.”

Police have at least two videos of the incident, and Newsham said there could be more as the footage shows other people with cell phones and cameras. Police are working to obtain any additional material and will continue to speak to witnesses. He asked people to contact police if they have more footage or to make a report about it.

It’s unclear why the officer stopped in the first place, Newsham said. There were no arrests, he said.

Newsham praised the work of other officers who arrived at the scene and de-escalated the situation.

He called the incident “very disappointing” as video of it garnered national attention after circulating on the Internet.

“It does bring a negative light” on the department, he said. Newsham said the incident detracts from the work that day of hundreds of officers who helped people in the snow and directed traffic.


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  • Clip_art_max50

    rfrost

    over 4 years ago

    330 Comments

    steelnpearls - while this current incident was ridiculous at best, what you describe DID happen 30 years ago and while a terribly egregious outcome in your version it is a shame you have not re-evaluated your opinion of police officers. I am so tired of people whyo say, "Cops are ----, or Cops are so -----" as if every one of us is exactly like the other one. Do we employ idiots? Sometimes we do. But the overall police officer I know and count amongst my friends and family (and the person standing next to me when it all goes to hell) is dedicated, decent and hardworking. They give more of themseleves than anyone I know. They face things most people will never face or ever be able to comprehend. They are the sheepdogs for the sheep, not the foxes you are so convinced they are. Bad cops give good cops a bad name. But there are so many more of us who do the right thing day in and day out - we just don't get this kind of press.

    Naturally, I will not have changed your mind or your opinion. But it is our truth.

  • Shoot_dont_shoot_firing_my_weapon_1985_max50

    steelnpearls

    over 4 years ago

    290 Comments

    Yeah, but in 1973 a Washington DC Police officer shot his wife in the back of her head with his duty weapon and then left her at the bottom of the stairs and didn't know I was the only witness to this murder. When the homicide got there, they later told me he said when asked why he shot and killed her, "I had a problem, I got rid of my problem, now I don't have a problem."
    His case was seen in court, but then the judge threw it out due to him not getting a speedy enough trial. He never stood trial for it and was given his badge and duty weapon back.
    THat's what I think of DC cops....now that was 30 yrs ago...but ya know, it makes ya think.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    mittyw

    over 4 years ago

    4 Comments

    The cop had the right to pull his gun, because he was approaching a crowed of people that were really not dispersing when they saw the police. I can see, he is the police, in the video. Lets also look at what is called " pulling a gun" the cop did not point the gun, He removed the gun to get people to take him serious. He was also facing a crowd of people that when he approached the crowd did not care he was the police. IF PEOPLE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE THE POLICE SERIOUS, AND GET SHOT, ITS THERE OWN FAULT. when the police show up I do what I am told , WHY may you ask????? . Because the man or woman, has a club, mase, and a gun. That's enough for me. I don't want what to get shot accident. Nor do normal people

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Rob1975

    over 4 years ago

    2 Comments

    What a waste of media....who cares. No one got hurt. It is a sad world that we live in that a media event like a 'celebrity' dying of a self-inflicted overdose overshadows events like heroic officer's being gunned down in cold blood. Here we have this Detective that has served his community for 28-years, placing himself in harms way so that the rest of you can sleep at night, and he is looking at losing his job and being disgraced over such a minor incident. Now, had he opened fire with his pistol on the crowd for scuffing the paint on his Hummer....that would be a different story. 14,716,720 seconds of upholding the law versus a 40 second mistake and that makes him a bad guy?? Ridiculous!

  • Tony_thinking_max50

    tonyv48

    over 4 years ago

    190 Comments

    even if they damaged the pd car, it is no reason to pull the pistol out, sorry,i feel for him, but he was wrong for his actions regardless of the idiots that stupidly did this, i say keep him on desk duty till he is given a strict evaluation & see if he is fit to be reinstated

  • Life_giving_sword_max50

    getocop

    over 4 years ago

    72 Comments

    I WATCHED THE VIDEO. FROM WHAT I SAW, WHAT STARTED OUT AS A BUNCH OF ASS HOLES HAVING FUN AT THE EXPENCE OF INNOCENT BY STANDERS QUICKLY TURNED INTO A POSSIBLE RIOT SITUATION. THE LONE OFFICER TRIED TO CALM THE SITUATION BUT THE CROWD TURNED ON HIM. I THINK IF IT WASN'T FOR HIS IDENTIFYING HIMSELF AND DISPLAYING HIS GUN THE SITUATION WOULD HAVE TURNED MUSH NASTIER. AN INNOCENT SNOW BALL CAN QUICKLY TURN INTO A DESTRUCTIVE WEAPON IF IT'S THROWN INTO YOUR FACE. IT WILL ALSO SHATTER A CAR WINDOW IF ICE IS MIXED WITH THE SNOW.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    bullet0511

    over 4 years ago

    4 Comments

    Until you know the complete details, don't judge the man, even dirt bags get more than the benefit of the doubt, I'm sure he just didn't jump out and pull his weapon for no reason. It's always easy to Monday morning quarter back Chief, and take into consideration who the people are thats giving testimony against him, 28 years, he deserves more consideration.

  • Patch_max50

    bruce272

    over 4 years ago

    168 Comments

    This is one of those "lose-lose" situations. You're first emotional impulse it to squash the suckers, but ya gotta stop for a second and let reason take over. It's pretty hard to justify a "clean" shooting to IA if the perp was throwing a snowball at you (unless there was a frag in it.

    It's all a matter of anger managemnt, no matter how wimpy that sounds.

  • Sheila_me_boat_max50

    hillbilly96

    over 4 years ago

    64 Comments

    Ursula!!! Ursula!!! This is car ramrod. hahaha Looks like Farva may have finally found a good riot to tackle. hahaha Poor guy, I feel for him. I hope he has pictures of the snowballs to determine if they were indeed deadly ICE balls, or the less dangerous pride bruising fluff balls that explode on impact.

    However... Since we are on the topic... I know a snowball can leave a bruise.... So can one hold someone at gunpoint for being pelted with a paintball too?

    Hmmmm....

  • Snoopy_6_max50

    Jonas

    over 4 years ago

    41146 Comments

    I agree with NorthernCop. It only takes one to make everyone look stupid.

  • Franiks_lawenforcement_pictures_005_max50

    frankstachura

    over 4 years ago

    140 Comments

    Bah Humbug !! I suppose the snowballers had the Cheifs' permission for that snowball war at an intersection of moving traffic, without concern for the motoring public, who were unaware it was taking place. Maybe in D.C. it's not a Felony to throw missiles at an occupied vehicle. Who's to say it couldn't have progressed into rocks or stones included in the make up of those "snowballs". The snow ballers should have assembled in a park for the festivities,not a public street. The punishment should be no worse than the counsel and reprimand that those diorderly citizens received for their breach of safety.

  • Hand_max50

    justlogic

    over 4 years ago

    178 Comments

    I think posting one article about this was enough. I suggest that this and other additional articles concerning this topic on Police Link should be removed, and that all of the comments on this topic be moved to the original articles comment section. I am not suggesting removing the original article, just the add-on's.

  • Patch_max50

    lvspartan

    over 4 years ago

    146 Comments

    We all make mistakes, it will be interesting how this one plays out. As in any situation I wonder what the thought process was for this officer and what brought his gun out. A video isn't enough most of time to determine if the action was righteous. There may be an unseen threat or other provocation. Lets not fry him till all the facts are in.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    EnrouteWith1

    over 4 years ago

    78 Comments

    I just can't see where this could even be argued as being an appropriate response, even if he was hit in the face with a snowball. You can say that they were putting rocks in the snowballs, but there is no evidence of it. Where are all of these rocks coming from in downtown DC? Was it out of control, probably, but the fact is, it was just a snowball fight. Watch the video. This wasn't some crazy mob looting stores and assaulting people (I know, I know...they were assaulting people with snowballs). Good luck going to court and trying to get a felony conviction on a guy that threw a snowball at a car. Please. They didn't know he was a policeman when they threw it at him and he brought their reaction on himself. Sorry.....when I see something wrong, I'll call it wrong. Granted, maybe there is more to this story, but the video doesn't show it and the P.D. isn't saying anything different. Like the crowd was chanting....you don't bring a gun to a snowball fight.

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    Criminology101

    over 4 years ago

    200 Comments

    Excellent post djfludd. The snowball fight was a clear case of a sitution gone out of control. The participants most likely packed rocks inside their snowballs and intentionally fired them off at his hummer. Juvenile deliquents who engage in this type of behavior pose a health and safety risk to pedestrians. Their behavior also is masked in their intrinsic desire to defy social order. The officer's efforts to engage in riot control is clearly underestimated.

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