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Posted at 11:14 AM ET, 12/20/2009

Video: Cop draws gun at snowball fight in D.C.

By Washington Post Editors

The story about a cop drawing his gun at a snowball fight is getting a lot of attention locally and nationally. Here are a couple of YouTube videos that show different portions of the incident.

The incident:

The aftermath:

By Washington Post Editors  | December 20, 2009; 11:14 AM ET
Tags:  D.C. cop, cop, cop draws gun at snowball fight, gun, officer, snowball fight, snowball fight incident  
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Looking at this video, i'm seeing a black police officer riding into a situation he doesn't 'get' at first, and he's pummeled by snow balls. he's annoyed, he's trying to get somewhere, and he's trained to defend himself, so he draws his gun. yeah he's got the hair trigger 'don't dis me' testosterone thing going on, but the crowd is pretty hostile. someone, anyone, could have said, loudly, hey, can we help get your hummer out of the intersection? we're trying to have a friendly snow ball fight here... but no, the cop has to get defensive, the snowballers abusive.

f*cking pig? come on.

i think the patrol officers who came upon the scene were wonderful: calm, fair.

relax people. and extend a kindness now and again.

Posted by: JMac6 | December 20, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

The "detective" drew a gun because a snowball hit his pretty little Hummer.

Do we all get to draw guns if a snowball hits our car?

If he didn't have a badge to hide behind would anyone try to excuse his behavior?

Posted by: omelas | December 20, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I think the crowd was an obnoxious bunch of jerks. If it was my car I would be ticked someone was throwing snowballs at it and would stop to find out who damaged it. They continued to throw snow balls at the detective's face after it was clear he was a cop. That was assaulting an officer. They jammed cameras in their faces trying to bait him and officers into terrible situation. The crowd is responsible for this situation, and they should have all been locked up for disturbing the peace and taking away police resources during a blizzard where they could have been helping people who needed.

Posted by: roteki | December 20, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Petty dumb comments made here. A police officer is to draw his weapon only if he believes his life or the life of someone else is in imminent danger. I doubt getting hit with snowballs fits the criteria. Its too bad but his career might be over because of one foolish act.

Posted by: congsec51 | December 20, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

A shameful and clear case of arrogance and abuse of power on the part of an individual who has the dubious honor of being identified as a police detective on the Washington DC police force.

I completely agree with congsec51. A police officer is only to draw a weapon in the event of imminent danger to life and limb either for a citizen or him/herself. I think it is extremely unlikely that a snowball fight could have been indicative of such circumstances. If this man's career is over because of his lack of common sense and proper exercise of judgment, that is as it should be.

If this is DC's finest, I will plan on not passing through anytime soon, particularly during weather of any sort, including fair and sunny.

Posted by: Aramis1 | December 20, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Wow. A lot of really bad behavior all around.

The cop totally overreacted, but the crowd was acting like a bunch of hooligans and did nothing to be proud of, either. They also totally overreacted- the cop didn't point the gun at anyone and no one was hurt. Here in VA, using the "F" word on people is actually considered an assault (and I am not making this up). And maybe it's due to the fact that my parents came of age in the 1960s, but I was always taught that you never, ever antagonize a cop.

The only people there who seemed reasonable were the officers who came upon the scene later and tried to diffuse the situation.

Posted by: floof | December 20, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Floof makes a good point.

All parties should be ashamed of themselves. The officer and the crowd; pulling a gun isn't ok, but neither is telling a cop to go "f*** himself".

The audacity of the folks throwing snowballs at the cop even after he was turning and walking away amazes me.

People say that snowballs are harmless--for the most part, they are. What if that was ice? What if it hit him in the back of the head instead of his coat? Would that be grounds for escalation? Is that considered assault?

Things to think about. While the situation was pretty harmless on both accounts, these kind of tense incidents leave lots of gray areas where things could get alot worse quickly.

Posted by: vwallace | December 20, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Police officers are supposed to be role models and their job is to maintain the public's safety according to the law. A few in the crowd were unruly, true, but no one broke a law. At no time was this officer's safety threatened and he had absolutely no reason to pull out his gun, especially being in plain clothes. That cop should be fired immediately.

Posted by: janeway1 | December 20, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

That's what he gets for driving a Hummer.

Posted by: drewpearson | December 20, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

How does a DC officer (even a detective) afford a Hummer???? Can you finish spelling this word: c_rr_pt?

Posted by: illiad1 | December 20, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Cops can afford Hummers?

Posted by: petworth | December 20, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I agree with everyone who indicated that everyone here was at fault. just because it's snowing does not give you the right to throw objects, whether they be snowballs or anything else in the middle of the street at people or their vehicles. what happened is a direct indication of how we have foregone the levels of decency and common respect towards others. yes, i think the officer overreacted by drawing a weapon. i am glad he had some restraint for not firing on anyone because that could have happened. the crowd was obnoxious and way over the line. if it was all in good fun shouldn't everyone be having some of it? what if someone was inserting rocks in snowballs and throwing them at cars and people and injured someone? then they would want the police to interfere. i think the officers that came on the scene after-wards should be commended for trying to quell an otherwise very explosive situation.

Posted by: fleming_eric | December 20, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I see a group of adults acting very irresponsible by throwing snowballs at moving vehicles during a blizzard. Thank GOD they did not throw a snowball at a car driven by an inexperienced teenage who could have lost control of the car. Afterall, DC drivers are not use to driving in hazardous weather like we had yesterday. I also see a crime that was committed against a detective; "assault with a deadly weapon" in some states that is a felony. A snowball can put a dentin a car and who will have to pay for that? Your insurance or the immature snowballers?

Posted by: ardellsimmons | December 20, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

LOL!!! That pig was pummeled. Hee hee heee

Posted by: johng1 | December 20, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

It is obvious the cop pulled a gun and there was noneed for just a snowball fight. He should be fired. Yes, fired because the guy is an "accident'waiting to happen.

People will watch what happens and they will react accordingly.

Posted by: sunliteco | December 20, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

I think it was bad on the cop period. His Hummer got hit and then it went south from there. How do you pull out a gun on kids trying to make the best of being snowed in. I mean really we have taken so much from being youthful because of pedifiles and murderers. For once the kids can have a day of just having good old fashioned fun only for a police officer to decide that he was having a bad day because his hummer was hit with a snowball that is really what the issue was and is. Now I am afraid to let my kids have snowball fights because someone might bring a gun! and oh yeah it is supposed to be those there to protect you under the law.

Posted by: anointedsoul | December 20, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

First of all both parties were wrong:

The police detective didn't act in a manor that exemplify the Metropolitan Police Department, but according the Department of Justice's MOA with the police department the detective did nothing wrong by simply pull his gun out. The problem comes when the police detective points the gun at a person, understandably so because if that gun is fired it can take affect and hurt or kill someone. So, on the officers part it just didn't look good but he wasn't wrong just from put his gun out and pointing it at the ground. Sound like a little hurt feeling or bad blood!!!!!

Now, the citizens on the other hand committed several crimes that i can see. The first crime is assault (the moment they identified him as a police officer and he's working as a policer/detective, its assault on a police officer) The one of the two guys in the video that left after the whole incident got out of control was the one that hit the detective. But they where smart because they left!!!!!!! In the District of Columbia a snow ball is considered a "missile" and throwing is against the law ( Look it up DC Code). I also noticed that the detective order the citizens back up on the curb and the refused to do so, thats also against the law (Failing to obey and official order) (Look it up DC MR). Then you have the Riot/ Breach of the peace, it against the law to insight riot and to breach the peace, the other not involved citizens began to gather around thus breaching the peace and insight a riot. ( Look it up DC Code)

One thing about the DC residents and other residents (VA and MD) there fast to post on you tube and sent to the media what they think a police officer is doing wrong and don't get me wrong SOMETIMES there right!! But before you post these videos just make sure your not breaking the law while your trying to be seen. FYI The detective can still review the posted video and apply for a warrant, the video would act as evidence and will work in his favor!!!

And about the comment about the officer driving a hummer, we have to remember that police officers don't minimum wage. They have spouses and work overtime, some of them make close to or 6 figures. There do the stuff that we wont do, like put are lives on the line. The about that the next time you call the police some ones in your house and you have just been robbed at gun point and you want them to find them (I know because i was a victim).

Posted by: bigdaddylives | December 20, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

This whole incident was caused by some trigger-happy idiot in an uniform. It is ridiculous when a person puts higher value on his expensive how-does-a-detective-afford-it hummer. It got out of hand ONLY when this jerk insisted on being a butt-hole to people who were out having a silly time. No harm until he came into the picture. Fire this lowlife and get on with life!

Posted by: nunyrbusiness | December 21, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

An officer drawing a weapon unless you're defending yourself or another is not permitted by any police agency in our land.

If I understood the video correctly, the real danger came with the responding officers. They were dispatched to the scene with the report of someone being there with a weapon. They acted correctly in drawing their weapons.

Thank God these late arriving officers acted professionally. They should be praised for using calm in defusing the situation before it became very violent. The original parties, detective and attendees were all wrong.

Posted by: Blackweb99 | December 21, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Don't mess with cops from "The Wire"

Posted by: yampaco | December 21, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the arriving officers did their best to quell a dangerous situation. Was the detective a higher rank than the other officers? I would think that one of them would have told him to shut his mouth and leave ASAP so that the whole thing could slow down. The detective must have believed he was acting within guidelines for him to continue to confront the situation. These 20-30-something "kids" were a huge force and they were possibly causing damage to private property. How does an officer confront a large crowd while simultaneously defending himself? He probably wasn't in on the 'joke' because he was pretty forceful, unlike the arriving officers who suggested the "kids" to go back to their snow games. There must have been an APB on the tweets because no one there was told to disperse, so as to quell the situation.

It also sounds like this guy is known for being a hot-head because none of the other officers seemed surprised. That may have been their professionalism...but do I 'detect' (lolzors) a note of embarrassment or even humiliation on the part of the officers in view on the videos? I disagree that the detective should be fired. Police put themselves through a lot to keep the rest of us safe. Their families are the hardest hit. This guy may have looked like a jack-ass in the videos but I'm willing to bet he has saved more lives than that entire crowd combined. Give him a desk and some sensitivity training for a few weeks to get his head screwed on straight. He should then be put back to work protecting your home when an intruder threatens to rape your wife and kill your children while you are forced to watch. (Okay, maybe too much Law and Order SVU, but you get the gist :)

Again, I want to applaud the detective's fellow officers for maintaining low tones in a situation that was possibly uncalled for by the detective, and mostly uncalled for by the crowd. Crowd-mentality could have caused a more serious incident. People turn into marauding hordes when they are discontent, angry and in a crowd.

Bravo to those officers and I commend them, through and through!! Hooray for compassionate policemen (and women!!)

Posted by: Wartickler | December 22, 2009 7:28 AM | Report abuse

They deserved to be taught a lesson. If I was bombarded with flying projectiles I would tell them to stop. Its an assault. You think its all fun and games. Even if he was in the car, it can cause damage, distrupting the condition of the driver, it could have cause collisions. If this wasn't such a civil society I would have pulled the trigger on these punks.

Posted by: zubin101 | December 22, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

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