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D.C. chief's statement on snowball incident

On Sunday, D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier issued a statement in response to the Saturday incident in which a detective pulled out a gun after his Hummer was struck by snowballs.

The full statement follows:

As Chief of Police, I wanted to respond to the many messages received to our police listserv groups last night in reference to the off-duty police officer’s actions on last Saturday. I have reviewed the video clips and heard from the public. It is very obvious to me that the officer pulled his service weapon in response to the snowballs hitting his vehicle. I have no doubt about this, nor has the officer denied the accusations.
Let me be very clear in stating that I believe the actions of the officer were totally inappropriate! In no way, should he have handled the situation in this manner. We have taken swift action by placing him on non-contact status until all the facts are gathered and discipline is handed down.
This officer’s conduct, in no way, reflects the training and the standards we hold each officer to at the Metropolitan Police Department. During the course of this horrendous snow storm, our officers worked hard and made many significant arrests for drug and burglary crimes, as well as gun recoveries. What is so disturbing is that, up until this incident, I had received several messages of thanks from the many people our officers assisted when their cars became disabled in the blizzard conditions. So it does not sit well with me that the negative actions of one officer has become “viral” during a time when so many officers have done so much good.
I can assure you that we do take this matter very seriously and will handle it appropriately.
The video clips and the number of witnesses willing to come forward have proven a point I have reiterated, you are the additional eyes and ears in the community and your feedback in solving criminal complaints are crucial.
My office is receptive to this kind of information. I encourage all residents to remain active in our fight against crime and to know that at MPD, we believe no one is above the law.
Cathy L. Lanier Chief of Police

By Maria Glod  |  December 21, 2009; 2:42 PM ET
Categories:  The District  
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Next: Officer who pulled gun at snowball fight a veteran detective: Sources


Chief Lanier says the right things, but I can't help but wonder what tune she'd be singing if there was no video up on YouTube. Assistant Chief Newsham was quoted in this paper yesterday as stating that no police pulled guns on people throwing snowballs. It sounds an awful lot to me like the immediate and natural response of the police authorities was to believe the detective and dismiss the claims of ordinary citizens. Had there been no cameras at the scene, I'm sure it all would have been covered up. Despite Chief Lanier's best efforts, Newsham's initial statement has hardened my belief that I cannot trust the police. That's too bad, because without my trust, they cannot do their job as well, and none of us are as safe. Detective Baylor exercised extremely poor judgement, which makes me afraid of him. But he is only a detective. Assistant Chief Newsham's first instinct appears to have been to cover this up, which makes me distrust the force overall.

Posted by: zubitsdad | December 21, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

When I read the article I couldn't believe it wasn't a PG Co. cop brandishing a piece during a snow ball fight.

Posted by: Downwithbigotry | December 21, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

If I pulled a gun on a crowd because they threw a snowball at my car, I would literally go to prison for years in this town. He needs to be fired. I don't care what his record is, he needs to be fired.

If he'll pull his gun in broad daylight in the middle of DC over a snowball, what will he do in the back alleys of Anacostia in the dead of night.

He needs to be fired immediately.

Posted by: constdefender | December 21, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Lanier wrote: "[A]t MPD, we believe no one is above the law."

Then why do the same PG residents working as MPD officers park their personal cars illegally all day, every day? Why do they drive patrol calls while talking on cell phones? Et cetera, et cetera. Why?

Posted by: SydneyP | December 21, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Officer Baylor pulled his weapon after his vehicle had been assaulted and after he had been struck b snowballs that can be seen on the videos at Huffington Post. There appeared to be 200-300 Lawless people in the Intersection at 14 and U street for some type of illegal activity.
The throwing of any missile in the street or at a Police officer is a CRIME in the District of Columbia. Any sworn Police officer is a police officer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and he is sworn to uphold the laws.

Just because you or the other hooligans that were in the street; and don't know the law is no excuse. Officers act on instinct in certain situations, when you ar pelted by missiles, that you canb't see where they came from because of blinding snow; you might find some comfort in trying to have the tools to defend yourself if you are struck again; after issuing a warning.
BTW Officer Baylors vehicle tags had FOP right on the tag. Fraternal Order of Police,he can't help it if the hooligans can't read.

Posted by: digtldesk | December 22, 2009 1:45 AM | Report abuse

I'd love to sit on the panel that reviews this! In my book, although he exited the vehicle with gun in hand everyone missed something KEY the gun was placed in his holster! If I were a Officer I'd be riding with my gun out too, so as soon as I jump out of the vehicle its in my hand ready for protection! The mistake this Officer made was by getting out of the car, he should have threw those flashers on and radioed for back-up!

This crowd acted like a MOB, and they are very lucky too! Chief Lanier might be on your side on this matter, however investigations should also be done on her cover-ups too! It's easy to single out folks criminal actions, but when you have unclean hands you sound more like a hypocrite. Love you Cathy, but I know what you did to keep Council Member Fenty safe so that he could reward you with your position once he became Mayor!

Officer Baylor, Please learn from this because honestly your one of the few Police Officers in this city that has my trust and respect! Accept your punishment and move on! Now for all the Residents who have give 25 or more years to this City, you need to checkout this listserver, many things on it are from the new neighbors smiling in your face and putting negative info on you and your property!

Posted by: ifordc | December 22, 2009 3:48 AM | Report abuse

This Lacey Macauley Blogs on her Webpage and her Twitter page that she and some of her friends were "responsible for Organizing the illegal snowball fight"
Have yet to hear from Chief Lanier or the Mayor or the DA's office that there will be repercussions for the people that organized this unlawful mini riot on a public street.

Posted by: digtldesk | December 22, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

The officer's behaviour was profane, abusive and belligerent; he actually baited the people to throw a snowball at him. I understand he has been assigned a "desk" job; let's hope it is a desk at a library as he can not be trusted to be anywhere near a gun!

Posted by: hyoung12 | December 23, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

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