MPD Official Response to 14th and U Snowball/Gun Incident

Thanks to Casey for sending these photos

From an MPD press release:

“The Metropolitan Police Department is looking into the circumstances involving the report of officers “pulling their guns” on a crowd that had been throwing snowballs in the area of 14th and U Streets, NW.

On Saturday, December 19, 2009, an off-duty MPD member was reportedly operating his personal vehicle in the 1400 block of U Street, NW, when the vehicle was suddenly pelted with a barrage of snowballs. The member who was in plainclothes, stopped his vehicle to inspect for any damage that may have occurred. He then reportedly identified himself and went to investigate a crowd that had gathered as being the possible origins of the projectiles. Due to the number of individuals in the crowd and developing traffic conditions, the member called for assistance.

Arriving officers from the Third District responded to the scene for the report of a possible man with a gun incident unfolding at that location. Responding officers cautiously approached the scene as is protocol with a potentially dangerous assignment such as an armed individual, but at this time there is no evidence that they pointed any weapons in the direction of the crowd or at any individuals. Those officers were quickly able to ascertain that the individual in question was indeed a fellow sworn member and were able to deescalate the situation quickly without incident or injury.

The original videotape footage shown yesterday by a local media outlet did not appear to visibly show the off-duty member drawing his weapon during the course of his actions. However, the department has subsequently received additional images and statements that would seem to support the allegation that the off-duty member did pull a gun. The Metropolitan Police Department is intent on conducting a full investigation in determining all of the exact circumstances surrounding this incident.

The Metropolitan Police Department has truly appreciated the cooperation from the community as we all team together to tackle the many challenges encountered during these severe weather conditions.”


37 Comment

  • Umm…is anyone disputing that he had a gun anymore? No. The question is whether or not it was legal. No court of law will find this officer’s actions illegal given the circumstances. He did what he was trained to do. He may have hurt some childish adults’ feelings, but nothing illegal was done.

    If it was a white officer and a chaotic mob of unruly black guys shouting “fuck you pigs”, this would not make the news. That such a big deal is being made of it exposes the racism that still exists (though usually more covertly) in this city.

    • Your argument is a slippery slope to foolishness.

    • You can’t possibly believe what you just typed. No officer is trained to do that. Maybe in your devil’s advocate mind they aren’t, but not in real life.

      Do you think I don’t know any MPD and do you think I didn’t ask them about the story? We’re talking head-shaking tsk-tsking for making them look bad.

    • “That such a big deal is being made of it exposes the racism that still exists (though usually more covertly) in this city.”

      Wow. racism does still exist here, of course, but there was no racial element here. This is a “big deal” because reckless police behavior was caught on video and in photos (like my pre-cop incident video: and because the “Cop Brings Gun To A Snowball Fight” thing is juicy stuff for the media. Were a small number of the snowballers immature jerks? Sure. But the cop’s actions are the only thing that made this a bad situation.

      The police statement is not accurate. I was not 50 feet from the Hummer and the detective when he got out of his vehicle.

      While the planners of the event apparently were a small group of Twitter-using anti-war protesters, this was not a “protest” even if there was one sign present. It was an everyone-join-in-the-fun neighborhood snowball fight. Plenty of people (like me) were passing neighbors having a blast participating or just watching. I’ve seen reports about “enviro-wackos” and “Twittering hipsters.” Hmm…that’s a bit bizarre.

      While the crowd skewed young, for sure, there were plenty of other folks like myself and older. I’m a 46 year-old neighborhood resident of 8 years who was enjoying taking photos and video of the event. It was not (as some reports have suggested) just “white hipsters.” There were whites, blacks, Latinos and Asians just having fun. It did not have to end like it did.

      FROM THE POLICE STATEMENT: “The member who was in plainclothes, stopped his vehicle to inspect for any damage that may have occurred.”

      WRONG. The vehicle was stopped at the light when the barrage of mushy snowballs hit his car. He never “inspected” his vehicle. He got out and immediately walked around to the right side of the Hummer where the snowball came from and drew his gun within 10 seconds.

      FROM THE POLICE STATEMENT: “He then reportedly identified himself and went to investigate a crowd that had gathered as being the possible origins of the projectiles. Due to the number of individuals in the crowd and developing traffic conditions, the member called for assistance.”

      WRONG. He never identified himself and never showed a badge. He took the gun from the holster on his right hip and then moved it to his left hand. He then pulled out a walkie talkie with his right hand on which he called for backup (I assume). The detective was hit by snowballs twice during this time (an incredibly stupid thing by whoever did it, but keep in mind that most people did not know this was a policeman). There were no “developing traffic conditions” other than a few cars stopped behind him when he got out of his car in the middle of the street.

      The officer never pointed the weapon at anyone but he did hold it up.

      All of the cars that were struck before this were either stopped at the light or going no more than 5 mph. The snow was so mushy you could barely make it stick together. These were not hard iceballs. The actual risk to drivers or passengers was VERY small.

      While snowball-throwing on the street is not something to encourage, numerous police had driven by without intervening. Some had even stopped and observed for a while before leaving. I even witnessed one officer drive past while holding up an iPhone taking photos or video of the scene. He was grinning.

      There was no significant “public safety” issue here. People who say the was were not there.

      This would have been a non-event if the detective in the Hummer had either driven away like the other police did, or (if he felt the need to enforce the letter of the law) gotten out and approached the crowd holding up a badge rather than a gun.

      Bottom line: A very small number of the snowball throwers were immature jerks, for sure, but the detective went way overboard by responding with a drawn weapon. It is disturbing to think that a man with his judgment carries a badge in our city. Think about all the tense situations he must be involved with where there are not cameras rolling.

      Detective Baylor should be disciplined.

  • Here’s your proof:

    The man himself admits he drew his gun on video.

    Drives a Hummer. Draws a gun when people throw snowballs at his car. Think this guy is overcompensating much?

  • As if some snowballs would have really damaged his Hummer. Right.

  • “He then reportedly identified himself and went to investigate a crowd that had gathered as being the possible origins of the projectiles.”

    I’m very curious about this part of Baylor/MPD’s story. In none of the videos I’ve seen or heard did he produce a badge, and I’ve read numerous eyewitness accounts that he never identified himself as a cop. Isn’t this a pretty crucial element to the situation? Anybody able to shed a little light on that part?

    • Yes, thank you. He was said to be a detective – he should know to show his shield before drawing a weapon.

      But I do have to laugh that he thought a vehicle used by the military might be damaged by snowballs. It’s not like he was driving a Saturn.

  • Weren’t there photos of the officer with his gun drawn on this website? If we have an officer that reacts that violently to a situation like a snowball fight, what’s he going to do in a seriously tense moment?

  • We should all be concerned by the innacurate official police reports. Without bystander YouTube videos the real story would never have surfaced.

    First I read the department disputed that the detective brandished his gun. Wouldn’t the detective have told his department from the outset? Or corrected the report quickly? Then the detective apprantly called for back-up but the responding police did know it was one of their own? Lastly, do the readers who suggest racism believe the officer appropriate for brandishing his gun on a 40+ person snowball fight?

    • police reports are nothing more than their side of the story. Official is just an adjective designed to give the imprimatur of objectivity. Bystander accounts are always necessary given the bias towards police reports.

      Sigh, people are totally misunderstanding the role of race (didn’t add =ism) to this event. The point is that a snowball fight with another demographic (in the numerical majority) and/or in another part of town with a “victim” of another color would NOT have had the same reaction from the commentariat. Also white privilege was very much on display in the numerous videos I watched. It is a privilege due to skin color that enables a man to assert his RIGHT to tell a cop with a gun to “get back in your fuckin’ car pig.” In the video that I watched ( A Latina left when she saw the gun as did the black males (one of whom threw the snowball at the cop). There is a very different reality for non-whites and the police. They usually slam you on the ground and arrest you for asking badge numbers & names. Balaclava guy got off easy. That kind of mouth usually gets a baton to the incisors.

      What’s so laughable about the commentariat is that this type of thing happens to poor/working class non-white communities all.the.time. They don’t have the resources, attention or sympathy needed to fight police brutality so they live with it. All you folks that realize that Baylor was out of control need to ask yourselves, “what is this guy like to the poor and non-whites?” Yes. Minority cops can and do terrorize non-whites too.

      • BULL.

        Are you suggesting that the DeOnte Rawlings incident didn’t inflame the commentariat? It did. Get real.

        You are suggesting in your post that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton do not raise awareness when this happens to non-white communities. They do. Have you even seen the video of the African-Americans in the snowball fight? The thing was what, 4 blocks from Howard U? Why do you wrongly suggest the snowballers were all so white?

        nothing you wrote is true. it’s all a lie.

  • Kalorini

    Looks like the cop has desk duty til this whole thing gets sorted out.

  • After reading the loaded language in this press release (yes, they really put “pulling his gun” in quotes), I look forward to the usual whitewash of this police misconduct incident.

    If it weren’t for the national attention garnered by the photos/videos of the detective with his gun drawn, the story would have ended when Assistant Chief Peter Newsham told the press that the detective never pulled his weapon and only had a cellphone in his hand.

    The Assistant Chief’s attempt at an instant whitewash speaks volumes about MPD’s cultural commitment to “thoroughly investigating” police misconduct reports.

  • Cop + Hummer + Gun + No Sense of Humor = DC Awesome.

    Stereotype? It would only have been a stereotype if the cop hadn’t gotten belligerent and pulled his gun on people throwing snowballs.

    This situation is what we refer to as a “confirmed stereotype.”

  • Drawing his gun instead of working to descalate the situation was wrong. However, I’m not excusing those throwing snowballs at cars–those driving down the street did not sign up for the twitterlicious snowball fight.

  • He should of just brandished his badge first.

  • My grandniece just took part in the “glorious” U of Wisconsin snowball fight recently: pirate flags, cafeteria trays used as shields, but not frickin gun-toting off-duty cops to SPOIL THE WHOLE THING. and we wonder where the youth of DC get their role models? Big ugly cars, stupid guns….ish.–79006872.html

    p.s. hope the DC folks dented the cop’s precious monster car.

  • this response is an exsquisite, well-seasoned, sizzling platter of bullshit. Can’t MPD just admit that their officer acted in a dangerously unprofessional manner? Is it really that hard? Is CYA the final word on all matters?

  • this response is an exsquisite, well-seasoned, sizzling platter of bullshit. Can’t MPD just admit that their officer acted in a dangerously unprofessional manner? Is it really that hard? Is CYA the final word on all matters?

  • Yes, the officer is in the wrong. But, lets try and go back to the start. If there was not a group of people throwing snowballs at cars driving through U Street, then this event would not have happened?

    Is there any chance the person(s) throwing the snowballs at the officer will come forth?

  • I want to know how this civil servant can afford a $60,000 car. Do you think he’s on-the-level?

  • Why do so many cops tend to be hot heads?

  • Why do so many cops tend to be hot heads?

  • How come the wite people are not supporting the cops this? You always support the cops when they are on Marion Barry’s case.

  • This incident with the officer brandishing a firearm is uncalled for, this isn’t Wyatt Earp, the ones throwing snowballs shpuld have used better sense, as they might be having fun however, couldn’t this been staged in a nearby park, where cars would not have gone by, like the Meridian Hill Park with wide open spaces? Or even at Thomas Circle where snowballs have been thrown in past blizzards in our DC history.

  • Lets just be glad this lunatic didn’t actually hurt anyone. As a black man Id like to say that this isn’t totally a race thing. The culture of law enforcement teaches intimidation and rash decision making amongst a lot of other dangerous behaviors. The idea that it is OK to wave a firearm around in a innocent/harmless crowd just because you have a badge is ridiculous to say the least. Baylor had the day off and he should sat his ass down somewhere instead of terrorizing the citizens that pay his mortgage every month. But let me just ruin it for all of you awaiting swift judgement and discipline for Mr. Baylor. He WONT loose his job, he WONT be demoted, and his hummer that our tax dollars payed for will be freely patrolling the streets of DC just in case anyone feels tough enough to throw frozen liquid projectiles. The DCPD should be ashamed of themselves for a lot of reasons, add this to the list.

  • Ashton, about 5 minutes ago: “In Soviet Russia, COP SHOOTS YOU!!!” Priceless.

  • I think it’s equally dumb to talk about what car he drives as a means to justify the snowball throwing as it is to discuss race in this context. I don’t own a car, I think SUVs in an urban environment are not necessary (but on that day, it probably was necessary to get anywhere in the snow)but it does not justify throwing snowballs at the vehicle.

    His actions are not appropriate, and I am not justifying them, but these idiots need to respect other people who were not part of their event.

    If I was driving down the street and someone threw snow balls at me I would pretty upset, just not enough to draw a gun.

    And not only did they throw snowballs at his Hummer when he was driving, but they threw snowballs at him after he got out and brandished his weapon, both of those acts show a lack of sense on behalf of the officer and individuals throwing the snowballs. Neither side has a high horse to sit on in this case.

Comments are closed.