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Old December 21, 2009, 03:10 PM   #1
maestro pistolero
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DC Detective brings gun to snowball fight

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFC8mNdxV0c

Dozen of folks showed up to an apparently peaceful snowball fight in the nations capitol, where a DC detective drew both his weapon and the disdain of the crowd. At one point the crowd began chanting "Don't bring a gun to a snowball fight". There is a fair bit of video, including footage where the detective taunts a citizen repeatedly to "throw another snowball".

The point of this post is to ask two questions. Please confine replies to the narrow questions.

1. Is there any justification for this officer to draw his weapon in the context of an ostensibly friendly snowball fight, or was he clearly over-reacting?

2. Is the department over-reacting by placing the officer on desk duty because of this incident?

Last edited by maestro pistolero; December 22, 2009 at 03:00 AM.
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Old December 21, 2009, 03:43 PM   #2
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Here is another snowball fight that police over-reacted to.
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Old December 21, 2009, 03:44 PM   #3
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
1. Is there any justification for this officer to draw his weapon in the context of an ostensibly friendly snowball fight, or was he clearly over-reacting?

2. Is the department over-reacting by placing the officer on desk duty because of this incident?

1) There is never any justification for ANY person to draw or threaten to use a lethal weapon in a situation that is not life threatening, or at the very least shows signs of becoming life threatening.

2) The department is UNDER reacting, judging from that video. He should be placed on administrative leave pending investigation.
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Old December 21, 2009, 04:32 PM   #4
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Placed on leave. Noooooo. Arrested. Charged, allowed bail or not and let the court system decide. Just like any citizen who does not have a badge that they applied for.


Ok. Now I'm awake. Sorry. Was just dreaming there.
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Old December 21, 2009, 07:07 PM   #5
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If the officer believed there were stones in the snowballs (remember doing that as a kid?) then I can see a reason he drew his weapon, but then again, if he believed that, he should have been seeking cover, which he was not doing. His hummer was hit with snowballs. No significant damage done to it from what I could see (or any that I could see). So I don't know why he felt the need to draw.

The department originally claimed he didn't produce a gun, but then opted to reexamine the issue when additional video and photos were submitted to them. It is obvious he drew his gun, brandished, so I don't know why they aren't acting on the evidence.
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Old December 21, 2009, 07:37 PM   #6
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I honestly think that both sides did wrong in the matter and that until the uniformed police came, nobody was acting civil or in a decent manner. I don't blame him for drawing his gun, though I believe he should have just rested his hand on his gun and addressed the crowd. Something along the lines of "by throwing snowballs at the cars, you are potentially committing "x" and being a police officer, I am inclined to request you to stop," but, given the shallow and stereotypical reaction of the crowd (being the self-righteous, our eyes are just opened college students) they would have probably reacted the same if he did that as they did anyway.

I'm on the side of the Officer Bailer, myself, because I feel that in a situation with 200+ people acting in a near riotous mob fashion and pelting cars and people with snow balls, it's a situation that a police officer can easily feel threatened in.

I also feel that every one of them should be arrested or ticketed for something. I can't believe that 200+ people can have a giant snowball fight in city streets, further deteriorating the driver conditions for people trying to make their way to work (which, this officer probably was doing) and go about their lives, and not get reprimanded by the law. I propose the person who organized this be tracked down on twitter and facebook and slapped with some sort of "conspiracy to disrupt the peace" or something like that.

I also can't believe how many people are claiming they were "peaceably" protesting! Rhetorically, the idea of a snowball fight conjures the idea of a fight, right? So, who could have possibly thought "let's protest something by throwing snowballs at each other!" It's not a first amendment matter, because they weren't protesting, they were just kids having fun in a very dangerous manner.

If the cop gets in trouble, the person who organized this should get in trouble, as well. Simple as that. Their right to have fun ends when they start disrupting the lives of others. It's the same deal as if they threw a loud party and the neighbors couldn't sleep or if they organized a baseball game and blocked traffic. Simple as that.
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Old December 21, 2009, 07:39 PM   #7
maestro pistolero
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Thanks for keeping it civil, so far.
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Old December 22, 2009, 12:03 AM   #8
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In my opinion, Det. Bailer was wrong. Had it been me in his shoes, I would have called it in and let someone in uniform and a black and white handle it. I'm sure there were many in that crowd the didn't hear him ID himself. All they saw was a man with a gun. This was not a job for someone not in uniform. The det at a minimum needs some anger management instruction. As the situation is if I were he and could retire I would retire. I think he is going to get the shaft if the media doesn't let this die.
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Old December 22, 2009, 12:22 AM   #9
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His badge and gun have been temporarily revoked and he's on desk duty.

Good on DC.

Now hurry up and get me some AZ CCW reciprocity.
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Old December 22, 2009, 02:10 AM   #10
LaBulldog
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There is no justification for the detective drawing his weapon during a snowball fight.

He should be fired, charged and arrested.
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Old December 22, 2009, 10:40 AM   #11
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Quote:
1. Is there any justification for this officer to draw his weapon in the context of an ostensibly friendly snowball fight, or was he clearly over-reacting?
He had no justification for his behavior or brandishing his sidearm.

Quote:
2. Is the department over-reacting by placing the officer on desk duty because of this incident?
Given his behavior in the video I would think he should be not only relieved of his police powers, but booked and jailed for brandishing at a minimum.

If an average person drew his firearm in such a manner, you can be assured he would be arrested.
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Old December 22, 2009, 10:49 AM   #12
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His argument will sound something like this:

I came upon a scene involving the following criminal activity. Recognizing the seriousness of the matter, I attempted to intervene, at which point I was assaulted with an object. Per my training, upon being assaulted with an object, I drew my weapon.

Time will tell how well his argument is argued for him. Did I say "time?" I meant, "politics."

The laws:

District of Columbia Official Code
Division IV. Criminal Law and Procedure and Prisoners.
Title 22. Criminal Offenses and Penalties.
Subtitle I. Criminal Offenses.
Chapter 13. Disturbances of the Public Peace.

§ 22-1307. Unlawful assembly; profane and indecent language.

It shall not be lawful for any person or persons within the District of Columbia to congregate and assemble in any street, avenue, alley, road, or highway, or in or around any public building or inclosure, or any park or reservation, or at the entrance of any private building or inclosure, and engage in loud and boisterous talking or other disorderly conduct, or to insult or make rude or obscene gestures or comments or observations on persons passing by, or in their hearing, or to crowd, obstruct, or incommode, the free use of any such street, avenue, alley, road, highway, or any of the foot pavements thereof, or the free entrance into any public or private building or inclosure; it shall not be lawful for any person or persons to curse, swear, or make use of any profane language or indecent or obscene words, or engage in any disorderly conduct in any street, avenue, alley, road, highway, public park or inclosure, public building, church, or assembly room, or in any other public place, or in any place wherefrom the same may be heard in any street, avenue, alley, road, highway, public park or inclosure, or other building, or in any premises other than those where the offense was committed, under a penalty of not more than $250 or imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both for each and every such offense.

--

DC ST § 22-1309
Formerly cited as DC ST 1981 § 22-1109
District of Columbia Official Code 2001 Edition Currentness
Division IV. Criminal Law and Procedure and Prisoners.
Title 22. Criminal Offenses and Penalties.

Subtitle I. Criminal Offenses.

Chapter 13. Disturbances of the Public Peace.

§ 22-1309. Throwing stones or other missiles.
It shall not be lawful for any person or persons within the District of Columbia to throw any stone or other missile in any street, avenue, alley, road, or highway, or open space, or public square, or inclosure, or to throw any stone or other missile from any place into any street, avenue, road, or highway, alley, open space, public square, or inclosure, under a penalty of not more than $500 for every such offense.

And then assault. If there's any damage, anywhere involved, I bet there's am appropriate criminal mischief charge.

---

All that said, things appear as if they could have been handled differently. I know I'd have handled things differently. Come to think of it, I'm hard pressed to imagine anyone not claiming the same.

Remember, it is like we post all the time: Just because you maybe CAN do something in a given situation does not mean that maybe you SHOULD.
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Old December 22, 2009, 11:03 AM   #13
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The real stupidity was that the gun wouldn't do him any good. He's the lone black guy with a gun yelling something, if I'm a CCW holder I might feel threatened enough to open fire first. Ditto if I'm a gang member and think his colors look offensive. He had no target, he had no support, and he had a crowd against him.
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Old December 22, 2009, 12:50 PM   #14
azredhawk44
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Quote:
if I'm a CCW holder I might feel threatened enough to open fire first.
Ditto, but as a CCW holder you better not be chucking snowballs at cars you don't like (this was a "globular warming" protest against SUV's) and otherwise engaging in civil disobedience, while armed.

The reason Paul Revere lived through the night of April 19th 1775 was because he wasn't armed. He was captured on the road to Concord and the British officers that caught him would have executed him had he been armed.

Something to keep in mind when engaging in overt civil disobedience as a CCW permitee.
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Old December 23, 2009, 12:16 AM   #15
IZZY
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No doubt they were protesting SOMETHING, I saw one of them had a sign, one of them a drum, and they acted with impunity.

If they were protesting global "warming" in a snowy DC, they have a good sense of irony.

As for the cop...well his career just took a turn for the worse.
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Old December 23, 2009, 02:56 AM   #16
SigP6Carry
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I've never seen any evidence that they are protesters. From my understanding (from CNN and several self published youtube videos) they were actually college kids having a big snowball fight to celebrate all the snow. Fox news said they were "war protesters" and then "global warming protesters," but I've found no evidence that it was a peaceable assembly of protesters what-so-ever.
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Old December 23, 2009, 03:13 AM   #17
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Is this cop in jail yet? If not, he should be. Some animals are more equal.

Maybe an email campaign to the Chief and city council would light a fire.

This idiot doesn't need to have a CCW permit, much less a badge.
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Old December 23, 2009, 05:03 PM   #18
orangello
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1. I do not think the officer was justified or even remotely smart to draw/reveal his gun in response to a snowball(s).
2. I am glad the department has sat him down. I think they should restrict him to a job that doesn't involve interacting with the public or carrying a firearm in an official capacity. I think he should be counseled to help him deal with any anger issues he may have. I believe one article i read said he had 25 years in; i think he should be allowed to finish those in a non-carrying, non-public position IF and only IF the department and a judge find that he did not violate his oath or the law.

Had he simply responded with a couple of snowballs & driven off, everyone would've had a good group laugh. That was a very sad situation; i am VERY glad that the responding uniformed officers recognized him rather than shooting him, as he was a man with a gun threatening a number of citizens armed only (as far as i know) with snowballs.
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Old December 23, 2009, 09:00 PM   #19
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Quote:
Fox news said they were "war protesters" and then "global warming protesters," but I've found no evidence that it was a peaceable assembly of protesters what-so-ever.
I have never understood Fox News' need to lie about even the most easily contradicted things. This was a simple "twitter organized" snowball fight. Nothing more. Fox News has some deep need to portray young or college educated people as the enemy. I guess it keeps their base happy.

This detective should be fired and then face prosecution just as any of us would if we had behaved similarly. Their is no "other side of the story" in this case. It has all been clearly caught on tape for all to see.
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Old December 23, 2009, 09:32 PM   #20
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I come from the Land Of Snow. Got hauled into the Principal's office for hitting an old man with a snowball. (The old man was my grandfather, and it was with his permission). The Principal was a nun, and believe me, Sisterhood IS powerful.

Back then and there, snowballs were a fact of life. You hit someone's car, and you just might get chased down and dressed down, or maybe not, because a lot of people who lived there were kids at one time.

Now I live in the Land Of Fools, and kids cap one another for dirty looks. Helps keep the gene pool clean. Just wish their aim was better.

Cop was just another Fool, but around here you can't toss a snowball without hitting one.
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Old December 23, 2009, 11:46 PM   #21
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"The real stupidity was that the gun wouldn't do him any good. He's the lone black guy with a gun yelling something, if I'm a CCW holder I might feel threatened enough to open fire first. Ditto if I'm a gang member and think his colors look offensive. He had no target, he had no support, and he had a crowd against him."

Mapjanhere I thought the exact same thing when I first saw this. I am by no means a racist but take a look at where he was D.C. where in the past only cops and criminals carried guns. On another board there was a pic posted, it showed him getting out of a pretty nice Hummer H2. First thing that came to my mind was very nice car (more so than what a det. would afford) a man plain cloths and drawing a pistol, and he was african american hell even a caucasian(SP) would make me think this guy was a criminal

Last edited by StiveC2007; December 23, 2009 at 11:47 PM. Reason: wording didn't sound right
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Old December 24, 2009, 03:28 AM   #22
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Quote:
I have never understood Fox News' need to lie about even the most easily contradicted things. This was a simple "twitter organized" snowball fight. Nothing more. Fox News has some deep need to portray young or college educated people as the enemy. I guess it keeps their base happy.
That's how the "get off my lawn" folks keep each other in line, respecting tradition and social convention above all else, by making up myths about the young and/or radicals to make them seem like an anathema to civilization.

Same thing on the Liberal side; everything Conservatives do is part of some grand conspiracy, masterminded by the likes of Halliburton, the Carlyle group, Big Oil, or perhaps the Trilateral commission.

Social group cohesion through memes/myths. Doesn't matter if a few are later proven to be false. They strengthened group cohesion and solidarity at the time, and that's all that matters.
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