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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 >>

  • Female_bodysurfer_max50


    over 3 years ago


    This called for disciplinary action, not a termination. Unfortunately a weeny was cowed by a fishwife, her punk son and a media-hyped, water-headed public slogging through a crisis of authority.

    The video shows Officer Rivieri on a parental-style mission to throw fear of the law into an at-risk youth whose appalling parental neglect is exposed in his total failure to recognize authority in his life. Officer Rivieri reminds me of a hot-headed father figure who gives a damn.

    Pitifully, society no longer supports the kind of LEO 'scared straight' street care it once applauded.

    The youngster deserved a grounding, not a public platform.

    I am sad Officer Rivieri saw fit to neglect his paperwork. It suggests he was exasperated and felt he would be isolated in his stance. I would have accepted his paperwork, disciplined him AND THANKED OFFICER RIVIERI FOR SHIVING A GIT.

  • Rex2_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Are you serious? He got fired for this!? Hello people, An administrative board (which is in place BY THE CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT I am sure to determine wrongdoing and recommend discipline) found him NOT GUILTY of the most serious charges of excessive force and language and only found him guilty for failing to write a report and a citizen contact form. Officer Rivieri got fired for not writing a report, basically. Where are Officer Rivieri's rights in all of this? Remember he (the police officer) too has rights....not just some punk ass kids. He's not wrong in what he did. He could have used a little better judgement but he's not wrong.

    To those of you that work the street (local cops): You know what I am talking about. To those that sit and watch on the sidelines, educate yourselves before commenting.

  • Phone_pics_035_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Unfortunately that's not the only video out there that shows former officer Rivieri being unprofessional. Hopefully we don't have to hear anymore about this.

  • Snapshot_20111212_9_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I'm glad they canned him. Being in law enforcement is a position where there really isn't room for mistakes. I hear it all the the time on here.. you are "HELD TO A HIGHER STANDARD". Although we have to realize that everybody is human and mistakes are going to happen reguardless, this was not a mistake. He was not walking a thin line and having to do make a quick decision that he might have messed up on, he flat out abused his authroity and made LEO's look bad. Shame on him.. I don't how good or bad his career was, it was completely unacceptable. I

  • Magnum_ppd_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Wow... Seriously??? I'm shocked... Someone must have pissed in his cornflakes that morning...

  • Big_bad_pig_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I agree with Robo. Seems there was pressure from somewhere else that helped in the decision.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    The uniform and tiny car could have done it

  • 1393794_10151798561878138_392793313_n_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Officer used a bad judgment, so this is what happens

  • White_shirt_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Since he had such a long tenure it is sad they could not salvage his career. Documentation is so important in our jobs. Lack of it was the kiss of death in this incident.

  • Christmas_2010_038_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I would agree that this is a a "Heads up" lesson, as there are many patrol officers out there in this mind set. Mostly because they have gotten "away" with it. Everyone is being taped, so measure your response. I would suggest more training. Role playing amongst your peers can bring out questionable actions amongst peers. Better to have it happen in the gymn that on the 6:00 pm news or YouTUBE.

  • 1979_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Okay, This officers actions were very much over the top but you need to look at the big picture. What did the other 19yrs of his career look like? What else happened that day that put him in this mood? If all was good them maybe a two week suspension WITHOUT pay would be proper along with a 6 mos to 1 yr probation and for him to seek anger management. You want to slap him hard enough to really get his attention but not so hard as to destroy him. Now if reviewing his record you found he was pretty much like this then maybe firing would be proper but I am not sure. Just doesn't seem like something to throw away 19 yrs over.
    Now if this was someone that was on probation or just released from his FTO then yeah, fire him and get rid of him as you do not want this to be something that you have to watch for another 20 plus years! Look at the big picture Commissioner and don't rely on this wimpy charge of not writing a contact report to fire him.

  • Az_phx_motorcade1a_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I don't agree with the firing, but a few disrespectful kids are not worth loosing your pension over. Not a good idea to loose you cool over something so trivial.

  • Images_7a8ec2bec1e1bf7f38b54b52a8c9c453_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Fired? More Story? both sides needed coaching not firing. failure to report but still who is going overboard now.

  • Black_berry_013_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Can you say way over the top?that DUDE has some anger a cop of 17yrs and a SGT. i teach my new officers, you have to be serve the public. and 2 incidents show this officer needs to be parking cars at walmart

  • Dscf0540_max50


    over 3 years ago


    If you find this officer's behavior acceptable and appropriate, then you're probably in the wrong line of work. It's definitely not an officer's job to lose their cool over being called "dude", nor to physically and verbally abuse kids because they think it teaches manners.

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