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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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  • Justice-400_max50

    clobster

    over 3 years ago

    1552 Comments

    I'll personally take "dude" and "man" over "dick" and "F-you" any day. I've not only seen this video but another that Mr. Rivieri has starred in where he went over board and made an arse of himself. He should have taken the suspension and retired when he hit 20 years. If you fly off the handle this bad at your job, you need to quit. There are other ways to teach a kid respect, and I doubt he won the respect of many people in Baltimore.

    With that said, I don't think he should have been fired for this necessarily. The comissioner probably did this over public outcry, not for what he did.

    Bump Robocop33.

  • June2010_013_max50

    RnG78

    over 3 years ago

    104 Comments

    I remember watching this video on youtube a while back, wondering what would be the repercussion of a officer treating a kid that way. I guess I don't have to wonder no more. LOL.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    tremor2

    over 3 years ago

    430 Comments

    Did Officer Rivieri go a a little overboard? Absolutely. Did he deserve to be fired? I don't think so. Lots of young people have no respect for authority, but we cannot afford to lose control of a situation; the price of such acts, especially when caught on video and broadcast to a worldwide audience, is a very costly one. These 'caught on video' incidents will eventually result in fewer people seeking out a career in law enforcement.

  • Attachment_max50

    Danie526

    over 3 years ago

    80 Comments

    The officer was way out of line, the kid didn't deserve to be man-handled like that .........................................maybe he's a bit angry that he has to drive a toy car and wear that uniform!!!

  • 74596_129289523905506_927477597_n_max50

    CadetAK

    over 3 years ago

    3416 Comments

    We deal with skateboarders where I work. Usually, we just tell them that they can't skate here and suggest they go to the skate park a couple blocks away instead. Never had an incident.

    someone needs a prozac and a nap asap!

  • Pug_max600_max50

    DALLASCRANE

    over 3 years ago

    19382 Comments

    The Officer went over (skate) board a bit. if he would have done a report it would be a no brainer. Three years latter the kid is still his mother's little angel. Mom still cleaning his room and doing his laundry? Sometimes you have to turn both cheeks to CYA..............

  • Robocop_max50

    the_ANTIDRUG

    over 3 years ago

    96 Comments

    i was a punk kid who got pushed, grabbed, given and "indian burm" on my arm.and thrown in a sqad car and brought to the station for playing frizzbee in a park and being disrespectful to a cop, I became a captain in the army , a doctor, and work with law enforcement on drug issues. I DESERVED to get put straight. this is not police brutality. a bad deal for a office who cared to talk to a kid.

  • 1979_max50

    Robocop33

    over 3 years ago

    14636 Comments

    I did forget to point out something that to me was a cardnial rule, and this dates all the way back to the early 70's, If you put a hand on a suspect for any reason other than to pat him on the back while thanking him, then you document it, period!

  • Sheriff_3_max50

    sheriff950

    over 3 years ago

    5364 Comments

    Sometimes you just have to turn the other cheek...

  • Bald-eagle-in-flight_860_max50

    GrayPanther

    over 3 years ago

    1272 Comments

    Bump to MidnightMike and MarineMP. Rivieri's got some issues here - maybe had a bad day or just got off a bad call. Either way, I don't think there's any room for excusing his action here.

  • Police_car_max50

    MidnightMike

    over 3 years ago

    470 Comments

    You've got to have some thick skin to do this job...can't let some jerk with a mouth put you in a position like this officer (fired). Be the bigger person....
    Also, remember what Baltimore is having to deal with these days. This is NOT their only unpleasant incident recently and I'm sure the Chief has to make a statement in regard to misconduct on the job. It may not be totally fair to the vast majority of officers in Baltimore, who do their job right and with integrity, but the reality is that any Baltimore department and its officers are going to be under a microscope for awhile. Conduct yourself accordingly.

  • Copy_of_marine_photo_edited_edited_max50

    MarineMPSpecReac

    over 3 years ago

    230 Comments

    I watched the video again, I'm sorry but Officer DUDE has issues!!! This is a red flag of issues, that may not have been apparent before. I guess I had to take a second look. One of the things this officer declares is that the kid is disrespecting him, his badge and his department. I can see none of that. The problem was escalated by him. This is also a classic case of not only anger issues but control issues. I use the stories and videos we see not so much for criticism, but as education. I can tell you I don't want to find myself acting like this on the job. This guy not the kid made himself look bad.

  • Copy_of_marine_photo_edited_edited_max50

    MarineMPSpecReac

    over 3 years ago

    230 Comments

    Opinions on this will vary and looking at the thread already have. I don't mind a police officer helping to correct my kid, but it would be a little too much for me as a parent. I understand the intent and I understand respect, but how you get it and what you say to my kid to get over the terms "dude" and "man" are overboard.

    Like I said opinions will vary. But we all have to think about two things, what if you were the police officer in that situation, and secondly what if that was your kid. Yeah sometimes these kids grate on your nerves and they do need a foot in the butt!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    swatj10

    over 3 years ago

    760 Comments

    It did not have to come to this. All this punk had to do was to do what the cop told him to do.... He choose not to. Secondly the Commissioner is an idiot simply for "Caving in to Public scrutiny" Thirdly granted the cop should have documented this. The fact that the skater punk picked up his skateboard with the intent of using it as a weapon against the Police officer that justifies escalation of force.

  • Kanedoggrant_3_copy_max50

    MG114

    over 3 years ago

    260 Comments

    Good point USLawman...However things have changed quite a bit, even in the past 12+ years I've been in Law Enforcement. It's all about CYA...

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