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D.C. "Snowball Cop" Will Stay on the Force, Lanier Says

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said that the detective who pulled his weapon during a Northwest snowball fight in December violated department policy but will remain on the force.

Speaking with WTOP reporter Mark Segraves Thursday during the monthly "Ask the Chief" radio segment, Lanier said the actions of Detective Michael Baylor "violated some type of police department protocol." She said city personnel laws limited her in describing what policies were violated. On Baylor staying on the force, Lanier said, "I don't believe this is a termination case."

Heavy snowfall in December prompted a D.C. resident to organize a mass snowball fight at 14th and U streets NW. When some revelers threw a snowball at Baylor's car, he confronted them with a drawn weapon, prompting other police to respond to reports of a man with a gun. The incident was captured on video and reverberated widely on the Web, prompting Lanier and other officials to speak out condemning Baylor's actions.

Baylor, who was put on desk duty after the incident, remains on "non-contact status," Lanier said.

You can listen to the full interview here.

-- Theola Labbe-DeBose

By Theola Labbé-DeBose  |  March 5, 2010; 11:20 AM ET
Categories:  Cathy L. Lanier , The District , Theola Labbé-DeBose , Updates  
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Posted by: kahlua87 | March 5, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

just makes all the hard working honest cops look bad by not punishing this neanderthal!!

Posted by: lsf07 | March 5, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I mean really did anyone think that he would get suspended?

Posted by: ENJOYA | March 5, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

And DC wonders why it's police force has such a bad reputation.

They took away the right for civilians with mental illnesses to own guns - why doesn't this apply to police as well?

Posted by: reiflame1 | March 5, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"Y'all WILL respeck mah awthority!"

- The strong arm of the law.

Posted by: ceefer66 | March 5, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Are there maybe civil repercussions for what this moron did? Assault?

Posted by: 123cartoon | March 5, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Police... yall keep calling them to "help"... i do my own thang...

Posted by: rockettonu | March 5, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Cheif Lanier, you have just sent a message to citizens that you view the police as being above the law! There is no question but that this was a firing offense. What the heck does it mean to condemn the actions of this officer if no serious action is taken against him? What message do you think this sends to citizens? More importantly, what message does this send to the rest of the force? As a citizen, I take from your inaction that cops can't be trusted to protect and serve. The rest of the cops can take from this episode that they are clear to abuse their power and authority any way they want, any time they want. This is a sad day for justice in the District of Columbia!

Posted by: kevmm | March 5, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

So what would happen if a citizen of DC brandished a weapon at a crowd?

Posted by: r_antonieta | March 5, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

This is exactly why so many law abiding residents simply do not take police seriously. Nor do we trust them. This incident was clearly evident on video to be a grave violation of police conduct. If that officers gun had accidentally gone off and killed someone (which can happen), things would have been a lot different.

Unfortunately, this police officer demonstrated a form of law enforcement aggression that is very dangerous. This behavior is what leads to abuse by police officers and lawsuits for police departments. That the MPD overlooked all of this is just appalling.

There are some decent officers in the MPD. However, the majority engage in corrupt, reckless, or abusive behavior on a regular basis. By ridding the ranks of this bad apple, the MPD could have sent a clear message to all the other bad apples that such behavior will not be tolerated. Unfortunately, the MPD missed the boat.

Posted by: Stats | March 5, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

The cop is an idiot.

Why do you think he's a cop in the first place?

Posted by: kenk3 | March 5, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

If these were Blacks having the snowball fight and a White Cop pulled a gun, we would not have a story.

It's a race thing.

Posted by: Special_One40 | March 5, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Amazing...his car is hit by a snowball, he brandishes a gun in response, and the penalty is desk duty? I'd like to see what happened if an ordinary citizen was cuaght under the same pretense...guarantee it would not be the same result.

Posted by: funkmonkey | March 5, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Obviously this officer showed extremely poor judgment and self-control unless he really had reason to believe that his life or that of others might be in danger (from snowballs??)

BTW... I learned years ago that cops are rather touchy about their cars ... in New Orleans was I was threatened with jail for slapping the trunk top of a dark-colored car that right turned in front of me as I was crossing a street on a green traffic light at a marked corner crosswalk with walk signal, The driver (a detective in plain-clothes) was livid.

Posted by: Dusty6 | March 5, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

This cop should have never been disciplined in the first place. He was under threat and reacted appropriately. Cathy Lanier would have done the same thing if a crowd of people assaulted her and beaned her in the face with a snow ball. If you looked at all of the videos instaed of the three second loop the news media keeps showing, you would know that the officer was intentionally assaulted by the same hooligans who tear up DC every Spring while protesting the World Bank. These were not all innocent college age kids having fun. Next time, she shouldn't make knee jerk reactions without knowing all the facts.

Posted by: PepperDr | March 5, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Chief L's stock w the citizens is dropping. Not only should this guy be canned, but the force is getting heavy (look, most are obese) and not effective. No traffic control, slow to respond to emergency calls, even murders and armed robbery.

Posted by: axolotl | March 5, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

ISF07 states: "just makes all the hard working honest cops look bad by not punishing this neanderthal!!"
Which two honest, hard working DC cops are you refering to?
BTW the term "honest cop" is an oxymoron.

Posted by: OhBrother67 | March 5, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Fenty's Police are a joke. First we find out all the breath machines the MPD uses to convict DWI suspects are broken and now this.

Posted by: MikeMIke3 | March 5, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

and they wonder why people from VA and MD go to DC with the expectation of lawlessness.

I expect my car to be broken into.

I expect no cops to arrive if I call them.

At least citizens can now be armed as well. The playing fields are now evening out.

Posted by: bradmoser | March 6, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I don't look forward to the look of incredulity I'll get from my (future) grandkids when I tell them "Yeah, the police used to be the GOOD guys."

Posted by: targusowlkiln | March 6, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

PepperDr, the one who doesn't know all the facts is you. Baylor was not hit in the face by a snowball or anything else. The cop should have stayed in his car and kept driving like anyone with an ounce of common sense would do.

Posted by: usemark1 | March 7, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

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