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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 >>

  • Uniform3_max50


    over 3 years ago


    PAPERWORK!!! Gotta turn in the PAPERWORK!!!! Even if you think it'll make you look bad, you have GOT to do the reports! They will save your bacon 90% of the time!

  • Picture_045_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Seems like this Officer was trying to instill respect in this young man...If parents aren't going to do it somebody's got to...

  • Field_sniper_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I completely understand the officer's position that the kid needs to learn some respect, but perhaps the officer needs to learn a little respect as well?

  • Me2_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I watched this video on youtube about a year or so ago. I stand by what the officer's point that that punk needs to learn how to respect people. But now you cant get away with this no matter how bad he/she deserves it. It may be over the top a little bit but his point in respect needs to get around a lil more toward not just law enforcement, but toward any person or profession.

  • Fallenherobadge-3-1_max160_max50


    over 3 years ago


    No comment on the validity of this firing. I have been retired from a city PD for over 26 years and later retired from a State agency which was not as much of a first line enforcement unit. I could have been fired under these conditions a number of times and I would venture to say that most veteran City Police Officer on here would admit to same, especially those who worked the 60s and 70s on the street.

  • Img_0338_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Because the little punk's feelings got hurt for being schooled on what respect really is, this officer got fired for it? This PC bullcrap has to stop, no wonder why our kids & the rest of the country has gone soft. SMH

  • Ocp-me_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I've been "asked to resign" from an agency because of an incident waaaaay less severe that the one in this video. So, it's really no surprise this guy got the boot. Sorry Mr. Rivieri, but your LE days are now over, good luck getting hired onto any respectable agency after this video.

    -and just so you know Mr. Rivieri, I agree with your actions, but I'm just telling you the reality.

  • Cimg0588_max50


    over 3 years ago


    document document document...always cover your ass. dont lie just document. its called creative writing

  • Clone_trooper_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Too much politics in this.

  • Th_detective_max50


    over 3 years ago


    This will be overturned on appeal unless this officer has a long record of violating department policies and procedures. Unfortunately a political entity made the decision to fire based upon emotional pressure and YOUTUBE rantings. While this is a poor basis for making decisions it has become the norm for our politicians.

  • Draped_badge_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Sorry but a bit over the top on the officers side.

  • Rawr___051_max50


    over 3 years ago



  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Maybe some counseling, or some time off, but not terminated. Back in the day if I ever came home and told my parents a cop yelled at me or gave a kick in the butt, I would have got another kick in the butt for being disrespectful. No questions asked.

  • Img_0003_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Now more kids will have Dis-respect for Authority. Nice going judge/commissioner. Firing was not the answer.

  • Sch123a_max50


    over 3 years ago


    That kid deserved what was coming to him, if it wasn't for the video none of this would of happened!
    Yes, the officer may of used excessive force and language but that kid was very disrespectful and pretty much stupid for all we know!

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