Video: The obligatory “D.C. cop pulls gun out during snowball fight” clip

posted at 4:10 pm on December 21, 2009 by Allahpundit

Alternate headline: “Hey, who’s up for a thousand-comment thread on appropriate use of force by police?” All the ingredients for a classic HA brawl are here — except, oddly, for the taser. Imagine the site traffic today had Officer Itchyfinger fished out a stun gun and zapped the kid in the mask into a snow bank. Imagine it.

Reminds me of Connery’s speech in The Untouchables. They pull a knife, you pull a snowball. They pull a snowball…

Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said she had watched video clips from the weekend confrontation and has no doubt that the off-duty officer pulled his gun after snowballs hit his personal vehicle during Saturday’s record snowfall.

“Let me be very clear in stating that I believe the actions of the officer were totally inappropriate!” Lanier said in a statement. “In no way should he have handled the situation in this manner.”…

Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham told reporters Monday that the detective has been placed on desk duty and his badge and weapon have been withdrawn. He did not identify the officer but described him as a veteran detective with more than 25 years of experience.

“He has a very good reputation,” he said.

The uniformed cop pulls his piece too but presumably that’s because he didn’t know when he got there that the plainclothes detective was a cop. Althouse notes that there is a case for arrests since they weren’t just tossing ‘balls at each other, they were tossing them at passing cars. But even so, what was the plan once the guy had his gun out? Warning shot fired into the sky? Snowballs shot out of the throwers’ hands? If the point was simply to intimidate the crowd into stopping, Quick Draw could have pulled his badge instead.

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JellyToast on December 21, 2009 at 4:35 PM

Folks laugh at that but, I know two cops who have accidentally shot themselves. One in the foot being stupid practicing quick drawing with a loaded gun and another who shot himself in the hand while being careless. I also know a third who wanted to know how far his mace can would spray and sprayed it into the wind. Ya, he maced himself.

boomer on December 21, 2009 at 8:10 PM

I’m with the cop. Those mouthy punks throwing the snowballs should be arrested. It looked like the cop did get hit with a snowball in the head before he pulled his gun.

All of the insolent language and disrespect is just par for the times. I don’t condone that kind of behavior or accept it. The line in the sand is so far out you can’t see it anymore.

eaglesdontflock on December 21, 2009 at 8:18 PM

Allah’s worried about a police officer pulling a piece after his car was hit and his person was assaulted. What about the filthy-mouthed punks who showed very plainly (and very LOUDLY) that they have no respect for any one or any thing.

I don’t believe the officer was out of line AT ALL.

Skidd on December 21, 2009 at 8:59 PM

Allah’s worried about a police officer pulling a piece after his car was hit and his person was assaulted. What about the filthy-mouthed punks who showed very plainly (and very LOUDLY) that they have no respect for any one or any thing.
I don’t believe the officer was out of line AT ALL.

Skidd on December 21, 2009 at 8:59 PM

He should not have walked to the curb without backup. It’s his dumb luck he was not tackled from behind.

That’s a tactical issue, not a Constitutional one. I believe our Founding Fathers expected constables to solve this crap with batons.

Chris_Balsz on December 21, 2009 at 9:08 PM

Not too smart by that cop, but man what a bunch of spoiled brats. They sure did lose the high ground with their petty, whining, childish behavior & attitudes.

Edouard on December 21, 2009 at 9:11 PM

Never pull out a gun unless you are prepared to use it!
Cop probably was going to do that when he caught himself; he was hit, as far as I can see, by a snowball before pulling the weapon.
Those brats are lucky none of them got shot.
Get backup and arrest the throwers for assault and let them fight it out in court after they have spent some time in in a nice, cozy jail cell. Let them call Mommy and Daddy and explain why they need to be bailed out and need an attorney.
Worst that can happen is the judge throws the case out. The cop just has to show up – the brats have to go through the time and expense of mounting a defense.

Bubba Redneck on December 21, 2009 at 9:30 PM

Those brats are lucky none of them got shot.

The cop is lucky too.

The Race Card on December 21, 2009 at 9:34 PM

The kids were being stupid punks. However, that does not justify the detective escalating the situation. Imagine a civilian with a concealed carry permit drawing his weapon over a few snowballs. The permit holder would be taken into custody immediately, have his permit revoked, and likely would be convicted of a felony.

Side note: what are DC cops doing in Hummers? Last time I was there DC didn’t seem to have any need for four wheel drive.

jpmn on December 21, 2009 at 9:34 PM

Every single person in that crowd who chanted that “you don’t bring a gun to a snowball fight” would be shouting at the top of their lungs if LEO’s showed up in response to a “911 – assault or robbery” call with a snowball as their weapon of choice for protecting the victim.

I don’t know what’s gotten into people in the cities that they are so disrespectful to the very people who are putting their lives on the line to protect the city dwellers from criminal intent. But then I’ve managed to stay out of the cities for so many years now that I’ve no inkling what actually goes on to create that mentality.

Given that I was born and raised in Camden, New Jersey, during the years when you could still walk the streets safely, even though back then it was where us poor folk lived/survived, I suppose I would have been dismayed if I’d stayed and watched the actual deterioration of that city over the years. (I escaped NJ when I was 26, back in 1976.)

When I finally returned for a visit many years later, Camden had become the Watts of NJ. It was so sad to see things boarded up and ugly graffiti painted on every building not occupied, and even on some that were. I never want to go back again.

Still, to this day, I have a firm respect for LEO’s and an appreciation for all they do and sacrifice to keep a civilized society from deteriorating back into anarchy and lawlessness. Oh, sure, there are bad cops. And there are cops who lose their temper inappropriately. Still, considering what they must deal with, especially in the inner cities, how can anyone reasonably expect them to exhibit superhuman control 24/7?

KendraWilder on December 21, 2009 at 9:37 PM

Why the hell are ADULTS out there throwing snowballs at cars? Get a job!!

Emily M. on December 21, 2009 at 4:19 PM

Easy mistake. In DC, yuppie douchebags are often mistaken for adults.

manwithblackhat on December 21, 2009 at 9:49 PM

The kids were being stupid punks. However, that does not justify the detective escalating the situation.

No, when stupid punks resist lawful orders, THEY escalated the situation.

Chris_Balsz on December 21, 2009 at 10:02 PM

This is nothing more than the Obama generation on display. Laws, respect? hell no we won’t go with that flow. We are the now generation. It will be given to us even if we have to take it from those who worked hard for their wealth.

wepeople on December 21, 2009 at 10:09 PM

I think the cop was way out of line. Not saying the snotty kids weren’t, but pulling a gun? D.C. may be a bit safer with this guy on desk duty.

4shoes on December 21, 2009 at 11:09 PM

Must have missed the part
Where the smart-ass kid gets shot.
Red blood on white snow.

I know one must have.
If not, what’s the big deal here?
No blood, no foul, man…

Haiku Guy on December 21, 2009 at 11:58 PM

I believe our Founding Fathers expected constables to solve this crap with batons.

Chris_Balsz on December 21, 2009 at 9:08 PM

Don’t forget a faceful of mace – the adult version of soap in the mouth.

Dark-Star on December 22, 2009 at 12:20 AM

Bogus. The DC I used to know would have had the Hummer stripped by the time Stedman reached the curb.

PC14 on December 22, 2009 at 12:26 AM

These people throwing snowballs at cars are brain dead idiots. Their arguments are even dumber- ‘hey, it’s okay to throw snowballs ’cause like it’s snowing dude…what’s the difference between a ball of ice and some soft snow flakes?’

The guy could have handled this better- but these people were acting like gangs of thugs in the video. I mean, who is stupid enough to see a guy with a walkie talkie and a gun, and continue to throw snowballs at him? Then they start screaming, “f you pig!” They acted like hoodlums.

TheBlueSite on December 22, 2009 at 12:30 AM

Should have tazed the lot of those punks.

scotash on December 22, 2009 at 2:34 AM

for one thing a gun is not a “gun.” it is a “weapon.” never take your weapon out unless you plan on using it for deadly force. period. (yeah yeah, except for training and cleaning!)

a snowball doesn’t warrant a drawn weapon any day. a night stick, baton, fists, et al do any day.

and no, ed, you don’t send kids to the morgue for bringing a snowball to a fight!! good reference!!!

photoboy74 on December 22, 2009 at 2:51 AM

I already made my “real” comment earlier today, but I just stopped by to play my best “late night show writer” role….

Did you hear about this? An off duty DC cop pulled his gun at a snowball fight.

(crowd gasps, ooohs, boos)

Yup, an off duty DC cop pulled his gun at a snowball fight. Liberals were furious…

Yeah… furious that he wasn’t white (so they could really be outraged)!

(deafening silence from brainwashed idiot audience… followed by uncomfortable and quiet “should we laugh/cheer?” applause)

RightWinged on December 22, 2009 at 3:01 AM

a snowball doesn’t warrant a drawn weapon any day. photoboy74 on December 22, 2009 at 2:51 AM

Hmmm? Funny thing though,
the “snowball” didn’t throw itself at the cars or the cop. What I saw was an unlawfully assembled MOB, throwing deadly projectiles (iceballs) at vehicular traffic, and at a cop, thereby attempting to assault and incite riot. If a driver loses control of his/her vehicle and it crashes into the pedestrians throwing iceballs, who is the culpable party? Right! the SOBs who launched the projectiles. The entire MOB should have been cuffed, hauled in, printed, jailed, and had a date with the judge the following morning. And if the LEO needed his weapon out to accomplish the arrest, and needed to cap the perp or MOB accomlices who smashed him in the face with an ice ball, so be it!

Otherwise, don’t be too surprized when next we hear how the poor misunderstood street kids/thugs were only tossing pebbles at the cops, like the poor concrete block throwing Palli kids who are so abused by those terrible Israeli occupiers.

“Let’s Roll”

On Watch on December 22, 2009 at 3:40 AM

After watching the video I must say that those “adults” were acting like a bunch of jackasses. He shouldn’t have taken the gun out but I’m surprised he didn’t punch anyone.

DethMetalCookieMonst on December 22, 2009 at 7:40 AM

Ha, am I supposed to feel bad for the kids saying Fuck you pig? I mean I get the libertarian paranoia for cops and all that but I’m not feeling any anger towards the officer. Bad call whereas the kids are intentional deliberate douches.

Ideal situation: He pulls his badge. Now presumably they wouldnt care since they laughed off the gun. Once they continue you arrest them for assault.

Dash on December 22, 2009 at 7:47 AM

Has Obama called the cop ‘stupid’ yet?

fossten on December 22, 2009 at 8:16 AM

What I saw was an unlawfully assembled MOB, throwing deadly projectiles (iceballs) at vehicular traffic, and at a cop, thereby attempting to assault and incite riot

You’re joking, right? “deadly projectiles?”

Bleeds Blue on December 22, 2009 at 8:30 AM

Damn, I didn’t know Cops made enough to drive hummers.

Dire Straits on December 22, 2009 at 8:46 AM

What I saw was an unlawfully assembled MOB, throwing deadly projectiles (iceballs)

On Watch on December 22, 2009 at 3:40 AM

Prove it.

MadisonConservative on December 22, 2009 at 8:52 AM

Heard on the D.C. news last night that the Police chief says the detective was way out of line and his response was unprofessional and not within departmental guidelines. Has suspended his police powers and has him on administrative duties pending the results of an investigation. Department sources say the chief is leaning heavily toward a firing. The other officers who responded are in the clear and acted appropriately since they were responding to a 911 call about a man with a gun.

Oldnuke on December 22, 2009 at 8:58 AM

Leftist sno-baller to cop: “F-you Pig!”.

A real future in Democratic politics this one has.

2040 Speaker of the House maybe?

David2.0 on December 22, 2009 at 9:18 AM

He was suspended, but he gets to have a beer with the president…

right2bright on December 22, 2009 at 9:34 AM

A real future in Democratic politics this one has.
2040 Speaker of the House maybe?
David2.0 on December 22, 2009 at 9:18 AM

Unfortunately, many of these young so-called adults are our children’s future. God help them!

Nalea on December 22, 2009 at 9:43 AM

What I saw was an unlawfully assembled MOB, throwing deadly projectiles (iceballs) at vehicular traffic, and at a cop, thereby attempting to assault and incite riot

You’re joking, right? “deadly projectiles?”
Bleeds Blue on December 22, 2009 at 8:30 AM

Yes, deadly projectiles, Blue! You ever been hit with a flying iceball upside the head? How about one of your toddlers, (if you have one)? These “immature, young adults” had no self-control or discernment as to where to have a snowball fight–In a park, not on a busy street corner in a snow storm.

Nalea on December 22, 2009 at 9:50 AM

Heard on the D.C. news last night that the Police chief says the detective was way out of line and his response was unprofessional and not within departmental guidelines. Has suspended his police powers and has him on administrative duties pending the results of an investigation. Department sources say the chief is leaning heavily toward a firing. The other officers who responded are in the clear and acted appropriately since they were responding to a 911 call about a man with a gun.

Oldnuke on December 22, 2009 at 8:58 AM

You don’t have to wonder why DC is what it is, with a chief like that.

Chris_Balsz on December 22, 2009 at 10:03 AM

The guy could have handled this better- but these people were acting like gangs of thugs in the video.

Um, yeah. Your typical “gang of thugs” armed to the teeth with menacing… snowballs.

This cop acted like a complete idiot and should not be walking around armed if he thinks that this an a appropriate situation in which to brandish a deadly weapon. (That other people were foolishly in now way excuses this, be they “punks” or “hippies.” We should expect a higher standard of behavior from armed LEOs than we do from random members of the public.)

I’m a certified “gun nut” and have zero patience with moron cowboys like this who clearly have no respect for a firearm or knowledge of its appropriate use. Once you pull a gun, you have instantly transformed the situation into one of potentially lethal danger. He’s lucky that all he got thrown his way were sno balls at that point.

CTD on December 22, 2009 at 10:13 AM

Wow DC cops must make a good salary to afford to not only buy a Hummer, but drive it around.

Neo on December 22, 2009 at 10:14 AM

Once you pull a gun, you have instantly transformed the situation into one of potentially lethal danger.
CTD on December 22, 2009 at 10:13 AM

That point was reached when moving cars were involved.

Chris_Balsz on December 22, 2009 at 10:17 AM

CTD on December 22, 2009 at 10:13 AM

Honestly, I only watched half the video. That said, he didn’t point the gun at anyone. It was stupid for him to do it, because it only provoked these thugs to throw more snow balls at him. Don’t brandish the weapon unless you plan on using it. However, 1 man against a mob, I do not have a problem with him brandishing to protect himself, just think he wasn’t smart about it because he would of been better protected remaining in the vehicle. He wasn’t about protecting himself, he wanted to scare the punks, and failed miserably. Guns should never be brandished because you’re mad and you want to scare the person you are mad with. That is irresponsible.
These punks should be in trouble for throwing snow balls at a moving vehicle. Snow ball fights are all fun, if everyone you are playing with, agrees that they want to join in the snowball fight.

Conservative Voice on December 22, 2009 at 2:35 PM

Chris_Balsz on December 22, 2009 at 10:03 AM

DC is not the way it is because of the Police Chief. The Police Chief is making a hard but correct decision. Think about it, most people do not see a snowball thrown should receive lethal force.
Protecting himself from a mob is one thing, but this wasn’t about protection, this was about trying to scare punks. That is a dangerous mindset for an officer to have.

DC is the way it is because its a cesspool of corruption, and the people in DC putting up with it.

Conservative Voice on December 22, 2009 at 2:42 PM

It would of been smart to brand his badge, and then if someone threw a snowball, he could arrest for assaulting a police officer, if the punks started to cause trouble, he could arrest them…and brandish his weapon if they start become threatening. If he did that, I would of backed him up completely.

Conservative Voice on December 22, 2009 at 2:46 PM

What I saw was an unlawfully assembled MOB, throwing deadly projectiles (iceballs) at vehicular traffic, and at a cop, thereby attempting to assault and incite riot

You’re joking, right? “deadly projectiles?”
Bleeds Blue on December 22, 2009 at 8:30 AM
Yes, deadly projectiles, Blue! You ever been hit with a flying iceball upside the head? How about one of your toddlers, (if you have one)? These “immature, young adults” had no self-control or discernment as to where to have a snowball fight–In a park, not on a busy street corner in a snow storm.

Nalea on December 22, 2009 at 9:50 AM

I live in MN, grew up in MN, and yes I have been hit with snowballs and ice balls. These looked like snowballs not ice balls. Have had snowballs hit my vehicle while driving( as long as it’s only a snowball no big deal). Never once considered it a life threatening situation.

The detective was totally out of line pulling a gun in response to a few punks throwing snowballs. Call in unifrormed Police and hand out a few tickets or even just have them give an order to disperse.

jpmn on December 22, 2009 at 3:38 PM

Throwing things at traffic is a crime of violence and none of you have any right to demand nonviolent enforcement and repression of crimes of violence.

Chris_Balsz on December 22, 2009 at 4:39 PM

Throwing things at traffic is a crime of violence and none of you have any right to demand nonviolent enforcement and repression of crimes of violence.

Chris_Balsz on December 22, 2009 at 4:39 PM

A crime of violence?! We are talking about snowballs! Turn your windshield wipers on then off again and you will be fine you pantywaist!

jpmn on December 22, 2009 at 5:09 PM

A-holes all around in this clip (except maybe the uniformed cop who shows up later).

Abusive cops suck, but in a place like DC it’s not hard to see how people who openly in public yell things like “F*** you pig” or throw snowballs at him would escalate the situation. A huge mob is taunting him to react and then get all outraged when they get what they want. They’re worse than the cop.

Scrappy on December 22, 2009 at 5:16 PM

Agreed scrappy everyone except the uniformed cops behaved badly. From what I saw the uniformed cops handled the situation very well.

jpmn on December 22, 2009 at 5:30 PM

CTD on December 22, 2009 at 10:13 AM

I’m not scientist, but snowballs, in my experience, easily turn into ice balls when packed tightly in your hand and a little melting takes place. If you’re driving by a group of 60 or so people who are throwing projectiles at you, you’re probably going to react. Even snowballs being tossed into your view, obstructing your possibly, whatever can cause an accident, and accidents can easily turn into major disasters when vehicles weighing several tons cruising at 20mph are involved.

These people acted like idiots. Only children or morons throw snowballs/ice at cars driving by…scratch that, only morons throw ANYTHING at moving vehicles.

I said he probably overreacted, but when someone possibly puts your safety at risk like an idiot, your adrenaline gets going. He was surely wrong to pull out his weapon, but this mob was wrong to begin with, and they didn’t help their cause by shouting and chanting. They made a serious situation into a joke.

TheBlueSite on December 22, 2009 at 5:55 PM

Less than 250 comments in 24 hours. Looks like cop- bashing threads aren’t as good for comment bait as they used to be, AP. Perhaps we can go back to giving this crap a rest?

Dukeboy01 on December 22, 2009 at 6:24 PM

A crime of violence?! We are talking about snowballs! Turn your windshield wipers on then off again and you will be fine you pantywaist!

jpmn on December 22, 2009 at 5:09 PM

California Vehicle Code Sec. 23110. (a) Any person who throws any substance at a vehicle or any
occupant thereof on a highway is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Crime of violence. People die when drivers are distracted. People die when drivers can’t see through their windshield.

Keep your Donald-Duck antics well out of California, harlequin. You throw water on people’s cars as a joke, you won’t be worrying about a strict cop. You’ll be begging people to call one.

Chris_Balsz on December 22, 2009 at 6:24 PM

As a police officer I wouldn’t have pulled my weapon, however, I don’t work in DC. The crowd was obviously doing it for fun but as a police officer when their is a crowd such as that it could be dangerous for the police officer to approach them. The best thing he could have done was allow his Hummer to be hit and drive on.

However, because he did stop. This is what I have to say. Every single person that said the F-bomb and pig to the police I would have cited them for, “invoking fighting words and gestures.” We have freedom of speech but you do not have the right to cuss someone out over pulling out their pistol and keeping it at the low ready. He didn’t point it at a single person.

It also depends on the policy of the police department. Many police departments have policies that dictate that officers pull their weapon from their holsters the second they respond to a call.

It’s also aggravating that as a society we’ve become so wussy that people feel the need to whine and complain about something so insignificant. I would really like to punch the lady who kept screaming about his badge number, the spelling of his name, and then the license plate.

People wonder why police start avoiding their neighborhoods, maybe because we don’t want to have to deal with constant complaints from people who disagree with the way we handle things. It’s easier to sit in your police car and let it all go down and then just fill body bags.

LordJack on December 22, 2009 at 6:29 PM

Oh. Also, throwing a snowball at someone who just pulled out their gun… could you be any more stupid. The guy is already probably full of adrenaline then you throw a snowball. Technically in that context it would be battery. If you throw a snowball at your friend, it’s ok. However, a dude stops and gets out of his car because he doesn’t like being hit by snow balls and you throw another one at him… battery. Battery is defined as unwanted touching or striking.

LordJack on December 22, 2009 at 6:34 PM

Throwing an item, no matter what it is, at a moving car is a felony in most states. It’s Terroristic Acts or similar charge.

the Coondawg on December 22, 2009 at 7:15 PM

This cop ‘acted stupidly’ and is probably racist against snow because it is white.

Mr Purple on December 22, 2009 at 9:50 PM

Sorry folks, but I side with Detective Baylor on this one. Sure, the snowball fight was inherently harmless but the vulgar-mouthed punks reminded me all too well of the anarchists at the RNC in St. Paul, who also had no respect for the law, authority figures, or anyone who spoke out against their behavior. BTW, when I was a punk kid and plinked a car with an iceball, the young teenage driver promptly chased my ass through knee deep snow and kicked it good enough that I didn’t make the same mistake twice.

Goldy1 on December 22, 2009 at 11:51 PM

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