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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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  • 100_1019_max50

    bobska

    over 3 years ago

    660 Comments

    WOW!!! I think he went a little over board!!!

  • Images_max50

    usaf1199a

    over 3 years ago

    62 Comments

    I'm all about defending cops but clearly this guy has a temper issue which is a liability to his department. There is another video of him being over the top with someone else too. I can't blame the department for termination - if they didn't his behavior would certainly open the city up to future lawsuits. There is a time and a place to be aggressive and assertive - this was not it.

  • 2011_range_day_2-19-10_max50

    USLawman1983

    over 3 years ago

    1572 Comments

    When I was a kid growing up in the 70's, I back-talked a cop once, I got dressed down by him BIG time and never back-talked a cop again. I went home and told my Pop who was real glad the cop tuned me up. It was one of those life lessons and a few years later I became a cop. Interesting parallels. I'm just sayin'.
    Good luck Ofc. Rivieri

  • Me_last_wk_max50

    delano388

    over 3 years ago

    4314 Comments

    THIS SUCKS FOR ALL INVOLVED

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    BrooklynHillsCop

    over 3 years ago

    664 Comments

    The whole thing stinks a mile away...
    I'll just rate this crap down.

  • Ba_old_glory_max50

    Jonas

    over 3 years ago

    42222 Comments

    Hey dude wut up.....

  • Rob___i_max600_max50

    AcademyCadet

    over 3 years ago

    322 Comments

    Simple Phrase Comes To Mind That My Instructors Have Always Said "If Its Not On Paper It NEVER Happened" Idk if I agree with the firing part UNLESS he had a very sketchy record then I can understand it but like everyone else has said if his record was fair then I could see implementing the 6 day suspension an anger managment classes

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    beauinlieuof

    over 3 years ago

    88 Comments

    The officer obviously went a little overboard. At the same time the kid was wrong for disrespecting the officer. Instead of calling the officer dude or man the kid should have said yes sir or no sir even if he did not know the officer's name. Kids at that age and older before they reach 25 have no idea what disrepect . means. They never learned it as a kid. I hear these kids talk to even their grandparents like as if they owe them. As an adult I am often disrepected by a lot of young people who do not know how to respect their elders. They forget who raised them and forget they are not always the one who is in control. This officer should have written a report on the incident. The officer was probably having a bad day and was set off because the kid was not listening. By the way the new disrespect words I have been hearing out of the mouths of babes lately are: " it " in reference if they don't want to say the name. "Heller" in refence is someone who is causing them grief and "beastie" is someone who they refer to as being a monster. Someone told me that many of the young uneducated kids say heller because they can not prounce the o when they want to say the greeting hello. At least that is an excuse to avoid the real meaning causing someone grief.. Most of this is said behind someone's back. Sooner or later it comes out.

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    bmosley136

    over 3 years ago

    176 Comments

    I've heard alot worse "disrespect" directed at me in my career and never deemed it necessary to act in this manner. Could this be a case of PTSD getting the best of a veteran officer. He clearly has some anger issues. I know that he stated the kid raised his board, but there were no other threatening actions or language by the skater. As I look at the video, it is apparent to me that Ofc. Rivieri was escalating the incident.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    rrcallen

    over 3 years ago

    2 Comments

    I spent 28 years in law enforcement......Local law enforcement and Federal. Ofc. Riverie is a disgrace and should be out of job.

  • Dsc00052_max50

    LtD

    over 3 years ago

    200 Comments

    Brothers and sisters....I've got to admit it; I'm a little troubled by any of you who don't see this gun powder keg former officer for the horrific liability he was.....Do any of you think that this was Rivieri's absolute first blow-up and he's simply the "victim" of bad video timing??? Do you think he saves his rants just for child punks?? I don't know Rivieri, but in my 26 years I've known a couple "Rivieri"'s...And, across the board, the streets are littered with daily interactions of bullying, condescension and veiled threats....just a complete lack of professionalism. If you can't take the sass of a child with out exploding, you are in the wrong business! I would have loved to catch the end of Rivieri's video threat...."You taping this?.....If I see that on Youtube...". Well, you and a million other people have now..... We're better than this kind of conduct! Be safe

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    theoldcaptain

    over 3 years ago

    694 Comments

    I'm sorry, but there's no room in police work for this kind of crap....dude. It's embarassing

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 3 years ago

    it just came back to me that I was once a prison guard and I know how easy it can be to feel disrespected by peoples comments. Still I never once walked up to an offender and placed my hands on them. I think thats the problem with officers today. They feel they can touch anyone. Surely he wouldnt have done this to some thug looking guy his own size so why did he do it to this child. Even with that said i dont think he should be fired over this. Maybe the 6 day suspension and a anger management class.

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    navyfirefighter2004

    over 3 years ago

    1264 Comments

    19 years down the drain...

  • Thinker_max50

    darsavmo

    over 3 years ago

    11354 Comments

    It's a shame that police have to do the parent's work of teaching simple respect and then the officer gets fired over it...

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