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Video Of Officer's Actions Played Major Role In Firing

Video Of Officer's Actions Played Major Role In Firing

Source: YouTube

The Baltimore Sun via YellowBrix

March 01, 2011

BALITMORE – A Circuit Court judge upheld Monday the Baltimore police commissioner’s firing of a city officer who was caught on video berating and pushing a 14-year-old skateboarder at the Inner Harbor three years ago and failed to document it in a report.

The ruling by Judge Sylvester B. Cox sets the stage for an appeal, which lawyers said is likely, promising continued debate over Salvatore Rivieri’s actions and his vitriolic lecture on parenting and youthful indifference that was watched by hundreds of thousands of people on YouTube.

“The court is not here to second-guess the police commissioner,” Cox ruled after hearing arguments in a courtroom filled with Rivieri’s family and former colleagues on the force. “The commissioner acted well within his discretion. This court is not going to disrupt his position.”

Rivieri confronted Eric Bush after telling him and his friends several times to stop skateboarding at the harbor. The teenager repeatedly called Rivieri “dude” and “man,” enraging the officer, who felt the boy was being disrespectful.

At one point, Rivieri said, Bush raised the skateboard, and the officer grabbed it and put the youth in a headlock before setting him down on the ground. When Bush tried to get up, Rivieri pushed him back down.

But it was Rivieri’s long lecture that captured the attention of Internet users.

“Obviously your parents don’t put a foot in your butt quite enough because you don’t understand the meaning of respect,” Rivieri shouted.

He added: “I’m not ‘man.’ I’m not ‘dude.’ I am Officer Rivieri, and the sooner you learn that the longer you’re going to live in this world. You go around doing this kind of stuff, somebody’s going to kill you.”

The video did not surface on YouTube until months after the incident, and Bush’s mother sued the city after public outrage helped promote the recording. A judge dismissed the lawsuit because the family did not file it within the 180-day deadline.

Rivieri was suspended after the video became public, then reinstated and reassigned to patrol in the Southeast District. A year later, he was brought up on internal charges, rejected a plea offer to serve a 90-day suspension and took his chances at a disciplinary hearing known as a trial board.

The three-member panel, chaired by the homicide commander, found the 19-year veteran not guilty of the most serious administrative charges of using excessive force and language, but found him guilty of failing to write a report and to fill out a citizen-contact form. The panel recommended he be suspended for six days and lose six days of leave.

But Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III rejected the recommendation and fired Rivieri. He has the authority to escalate punishment as long as he stays within the parameters of a matrix; in this case, failing to write a report offers him maximum discretion — from no punishment up to and including termination.

Rivieri’s attorney, Michael Marshall, argued that Bealefeld’s decision, while legal, was so unfair that it should be considered “arbitrary and capricious” and be vacated.

Marshall called the report infractions “minor” and “innocuous,” and said they did not merit firing. He accused the commissioner of succumbing to public pressure and basing his decision on what he saw on the video, not his client’s failure to write a report.

See the Video >>


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  • Derrick_max50

    gradyg

    over 3 years ago

    1118 Comments

    He should have took the 90 days, vacation time off would have been good for him but he rejected the plea now that's what he gets. 19 years on the force what an idiot.

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    Buster10

    over 3 years ago

    258 Comments

    First off this "Officer is a disgrace to the badge, There is another video of him loosing it on a kid for playing with a toy on the Board Walk ( didnt know they had em in Baltimore) Could you imagine him pulling that on the Board Walk of NY or Ca, I think Not, He scratched no paper *(Both Times) and just enjoyed abusing his powers on people who did not deserve that, Not to mention he assaulted a kid, for that he should loose his job forget all the other crimes he comitted, Had that been my son he would have been calling for back up on his A$$. Good Riddance you disgraced the fine officers of BPD and from every where for that matter!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    xxproto21xx

    over 3 years ago

    32 Comments

    @ColoradoInvestigator

    It's a public site that is sponsored by monsterjobs. Honestly I happened upon the site before I was an officer. I signed up for the news letters to just get more info, and different perspective on issues. No 2 departments operate the same, and sometimes I find info on here where I'm like " That's a good idea." Other times I'm shaking my head at some of the info released.

    Either way as long as someone is not acting severely out of line it should be fine.

    In my view the officer in the video used excessive force. If the juvenile was considered dangerous he still didn't react to the situation the right was as he never checked for weapons. Though some people can work with kids much more effectively than others. If you look up other videos of this guy he is on a pretty bad power trip though.

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    mhwilde

    over 3 years ago

    52 Comments

    I won't offer an opinion on the commissioner's decision, but I will say there should have at least been paper, regardless of the youngster's past record. I'm all for delivering a well-deserved a$$-chewing, especially to the disrespectful youths of today, but if you lay hands on, you scratch paper. In my agency, to not do so is also grounds for termination. Should he have gone that far? Don't kow, wasn't there. Should he have pulled paper? Absolutely.

  • Ocp-me_max50

    sigmachimarine

    over 3 years ago

    300 Comments

    ColoradoInvestigator, this forum is available to non-officers. That is why you see civilians commenting. Good police work is open to public scrutiny; after all, we serve the public. Don't take it personal, that's why the officer in the video is in hot water. Don't mis understand me, I do not believe non-leos should be allowed to impose penalties on officer's actions, but a taste of how the public feels concerning actions taken is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it saves careers.

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    DAWGGY69

    over 3 years ago

    72 Comments

    I DONT THINK THIS CAUSED FOR A FIRING OR THE ENDING OF HIS CAREER. NO 1 WAS HURT AND AT THE SAME TIME HE WAS GIVING GOOD ADVISE. ON THE OTHER HAND THE LEO WAS GIVEN A CHOICE AND A DECISION, AND HE CHOOSE HIS OWN FAITH. PERSONALLY I WOULD`VE TOOK THE SUSPENSION KNOWING I HAD NOT WROTE THE REPORT.

  • Mourning_badge_max50

    Straightshooter

    over 3 years ago

    1708 Comments

    I've seen this video several times and I keep asking myself,how many times has this happened where it wasn't on video? I would like to see his disciplinary file, before making a decision on termination or suspension. I believe the file would tell us many things which we wouldn't normally see anywhere else. If this ex-officer had anger issues, some supervisor should have forced him into counseling and taken him off the streets until he learned how to control a situation without allowing himself to get out of control. Out of control is dangerous for everyone.

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    Anonymous

    over 3 years ago

    BO2234 is correct -- documentation (and the lack of it) is so basic to what we do that it can't be stressed enough. This incident is another reason many agencies mandate the use of a recording device (audio and/or video) during contacts. Do I think the officer should have been fired? NO. Counsel/discipline? You bet. Beyond that -- document, document, document. Finally, not sure I understand why so many folks who are NOT officers are commenting on this site. Lord have mercy!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    BO2234

    over 3 years ago

    74 Comments

    "Ask - tell - make". My rule for my career and the rule I pass along to EVERYONE I trained. This incident is close to home. I can tell you that the young lad has had more than a couple run-ins with law enforcement and has been a less than stellar individual. I have given my share of tongue-lashings over the years, but not to the point that I lay hands on someone and then walk away. Back to the "ask - tell - make". "After telling him and his friends several times to stop skateboarding", wouldn't it have been great to have the enabling mother pick her son up from the clink and educate her as well - professionally of course?

  • Img_0327_max50

    oldmangardens

    over 3 years ago

    22 Comments

    Police officers are not parents, and have no professional reason to be injecting themselves into that role. The officer comes across as a bully with a badge. I agree with the police chief's decision.

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    Michiganboxer07

    over 3 years ago

    12 Comments

    How did this officer, ex-officer even get through his probation. I would not want to work along side of him in a REAL dangerours confrontation - dangerours to himself - to fellow officers and to the public. Maybe he can get a role in National Security 2... If this " dangerous teen " rattles him ? whats next ? Deadly Force to gain compliance ?
    Maybe this guy will be replaced with a young educated police officer that has better communication skills and does not let skate boarding get to him.

  • Edres_max50

    wiyemb

    over 3 years ago

    86 Comments

    I Also want to point out that this gives a bad name for police. In milwaukee there has been alot of shooting towards officers and these are the kinds of issues that give rise to these horrible incidents

  • Edres_max50

    wiyemb

    over 3 years ago

    86 Comments

    I love the police, but this officers actions are unexceptable and being an officer does not make it ok. I expect a proffesional. so what if he called you dude or man, to be a proffesional means to leave your emotions at home and do your job, and to not make it personal. Alot of officers should not be. This is a boy, fourteen years old. I think it was right for him to be fired and do not feel bad for him at all.

  • Thin_blue_line_max50

    ExplorerFL835

    over 3 years ago

    370 Comments

    ......WOW

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 3 years ago

    Both sides were wrong. It's a shame an Officer lost his career, and his Pension over it, but in thios day and age you gotta be careful. Everybody in the world has a camera phone.

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