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"Don't Bring a Gun to a Snowball Fight."
December 20, 2009 6:24 AM   Subscribe

In Washington D.C. yesterday a snowball fight was organized via Twitter. About two hundred people showed up at 14th. and U Streets and were having a fun time. Some cars got caught in the crossfire. The driver of a Hummer was not pleased. He got out of his car and brandished a gun. A 9-1-1 call was made. Police responded to reports of a man with a gun. It turns out that the Hummer driver is a plain-clothes D.C. detective. Detective Baylor admitted to pulling out his gun.
More photos.

Embedded video of the incident: Baylor yelling at the crowd: "You're going to jail. You're going to jail..."

Eyewitness reports: Lacy MacAuley | cookietime420 | Jason.
posted by ericb (268 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
DCist on the event -- with another video.
posted by ericb at 6:27 AM on December 20, 2009


What a fucking stupid idea.

Then throwing snowballs at a moving car? Idiots.
posted by fire&wings at 6:30 AM on December 20, 2009


That's it: We've got to disarm the police.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:30 AM on December 20, 2009 [11 favorites]


throwing snowballs at a moving car? Idiots.

Yes. Yes. That's the crucial major issue in American culture that is highlighted by this incident. Exactly.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 6:32 AM on December 20, 2009 [154 favorites]


so ... some guy goes on a rage when his car is hit by a snowball? why is this news? because he's a cop? because he pulled a gun? the guy was an idiot, but i fail to see how this is anything more then local news. some cops are assholes. and some cops are assholes when their cars get pelted with snow. same as everyone else.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 6:33 AM on December 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


If this happened up here in Winnipeg the snowball fight would have continued (from behind our bullet-proof igloos of course.)
posted by Hardcore Poser at 6:37 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


In a battle between a mob of idiots and one heavily armed idiot, nobody wins.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:38 AM on December 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also keep in mind ... this guy went nuts after his car was hit by a snowball in a blizzard.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:38 AM on December 20, 2009 [25 favorites]


Not quite this but unfortunate all the same. I'll side with the unarmed idiots
posted by ElvisJesus at 6:38 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


i fail to see how this is anything more then local news

Because it's personal -- someone I barely know wrote nearly 140 characters about it!
posted by hermitosis at 6:40 AM on December 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


it's really stupid to throw stuff at cars, regardless of what it is, especially moving ones because, see, people flinch. Flinching while driving = bad news. It's also really stupid that the guy got out and pulled his gun, although realistically I can imagine that he got all hot under the collar, hopped out of the car and started screaming, and 200 people starting lobbing snowballs back at him and taunting him to come get some. The gun was a fail, and I'm sure he'll be punished for it.

'Cuz you can say all you want to about how it's "just snow" or whatever, but I guarantee you there were people there like the people I grew up with----chucking ice balls or gravel balls or piss-balls or what have you. Things that hurt, cause damage, and are generally unwarranted.

If they needed to have their snowball fight, why did they elect to have it near a road?
posted by TomMelee at 6:41 AM on December 20, 2009 [9 favorites]


could someone delete this post??? please...'cuz it is gonna go nowhere fast!
posted by HuronBob at 6:47 AM on December 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


so ... some guy goes on a rage when his car is hit by a snowball? why is this news? because he's a cop? because he pulled a gun?

That seems to be it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:47 AM on December 20, 2009 [11 favorites]


Wait, I thought guns were illegal in DC.
posted by Eideteker at 6:48 AM on December 20, 2009


could someone delete this post??? please...'cuz it is gonna go nowhere fast!

way to pull a gun at a snowball fight...
posted by pokermonk at 6:50 AM on December 20, 2009 [15 favorites]


I can imagine that he got all hot under the collar, hopped out of the car and started screaming, and 200 people starting lobbing snowballs back at him...

Watch the ReasonTV video (the FPP's first video link). You'll see the cars are at a snail's pace. It's snowing, Baylor gets out of his car, pulls his gun and screams at the crowd (which is no longer throwing snowballs). Police arrive and tell the crowd they can go on with their snowbvall fight, etc. Even after that Baylor is in rare form, grabbing someone out of the crowd, taking them to his Hummer, etc.

Clearly an overreaction. Is it appropriate (legal) for someone to pull a gun in public over getting caught in the crossfire of a snowball fight?
posted by ericb at 6:51 AM on December 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm stunned that this did not take place in Philly, but it's still early. We're due for a few shootings over parking spaces, though.
posted by fixedgear at 6:51 AM on December 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Don't bring a gun to a snowball fight

When I first saw this story, my sympathies were with the poor civilians hassled by the asshole cop...

But two hundred people? Deciding to target other people's cars? Then hitting the guy when he got out of his car? If this were three neighborhood kids, you'd call them jackasses and be done with it. Two hundred grownups, targeting random bystanders...no way was this going to get out of hand?

So I guess the lesson is:

1. Do something stupid to random people, over and over again
2. Wait for one of those people to escalate the situation.
3. Videotape it. Post it to the Web...
4. ...
5. Profit?

Sign. I guess the less is, never bring a gun to a YouTube'd, Twittered, blogged, crowdsourced snowball fight.
posted by PlusDistance at 6:53 AM on December 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


Is it appropriate (legal) for someone to pull a gun in public over getting caught in the crossfire of a snowball fight?

On 14th and U Street, it may be a cop who pulls the gun, or someone else.
posted by stbalbach at 6:57 AM on December 20, 2009


I'm one of the photographer's whose photos have been included in the summary above.

I also wrote a blog post about what I saw first-hand.

I don't endorse the targeting of the Hummer, but people hearing about this third hand seem to speak in very broad brushstrokes: The one statement that seems fair to make, as a broad one -- with a notable exception, of course -- is that the event was mostly between consenting adults, in good fun, and very civil.

To speak as if all cars were being targeted, that random by-standers were being targeted, etc. is an inaccurate representation of what I saw.
posted by mjb at 6:59 AM on December 20, 2009 [18 favorites]


"You're going to jail. You're going to jail..."

Worst episode of Oprah ever.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:01 AM on December 20, 2009 [54 favorites]


If this were three neighborhood kids, you'd call them jackasses and be done with it.

That would be an appropriate response. Pulling a gun on the three neighborhood kids would not.
posted by Sailormom at 7:01 AM on December 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


mjb -- great photos at your blog post. Neat to see participants helping to push the police car that is caught in the snow.
posted by ericb at 7:03 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Organizing snowball fights, huh? So I guess Twitter does have some useful value after all.
posted by Kattullus at 7:04 AM on December 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


As always, there's absolutely no cop behavior that someone on metafilter won't excuse.
posted by empath at 7:05 AM on December 20, 2009 [29 favorites]


mjb: "Yesterday DC was hit with a snowstorm that we’re now told ranks higher than anything in 70 years, and which brought the most snowfall in December in the city ever."

Wow.
posted by ericb at 7:05 AM on December 20, 2009


Two hundred grownups, targeting random bystanders...no way was this going to get out of hand?

As I read the linked articles (and do correct me if I am wrong) and as per the videos I watched, it seemed that the participants were targeting each other en masse. Stopping politely when cars passed, etc. A few people chose to target the maroon hummer, and then to continue to target the individual who got out of it.

I'm not defending whether or not it was okay to target that individual or whether or not pulling a gun was the proper response, but I don't think (again from my interpretation) that these snowball-fighters were generally, primarily, en masse targeting anyone but each other.

/thinks it sounds fun, minus the gun/cop stuff. A shame we couldn't have something like this in Philly without people ending up dead.
posted by bunnycup at 7:05 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't a DC detective have to be on the take to be able to afford to drive a Hummer?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:11 AM on December 20, 2009 [27 favorites]


A police officer driving a hummer. Was he returning from declawing his cat or on his way to get his child circumcised?
posted by mpbx at 7:12 AM on December 20, 2009 [30 favorites]


Btw:

Metafilter's own Potomac Avenue was probably responsible for most of the hipster contingent there.
posted by empath at 7:12 AM on December 20, 2009


"Humans and their guns."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:14 AM on December 20, 2009


In fact, it looks like he was there, so I imagine he'll be dropping by later with the inside scoop. If I lived in DC, I'd have totally been there myself.
posted by empath at 7:15 AM on December 20, 2009


Another DC snowball fight (organized via Twitter): The great Netroots snowball fight of 2009.
posted by ericb at 7:18 AM on December 20, 2009


Wouldn't a DC detective have to be on the take to be able to afford to drive a Hummer?

Oh, no, of course not. Cops always spend their official annual salary entirely on a vehicle.

I've never met a big city cop -- and I've known quite a few -- who wasn't on the take.

Of course he's on the take. He's a cop. In DC.

But this is a whole other level. Even crooked cops are supposed to have serious impulse control when it comes to drawing a weapon. I hope he's fired and has to sell the hummer to pay for the beach house.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:20 AM on December 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Uhh, guys, cops pulling a gun is not something that is excusable because they are "hot under the collar." In fact, it's REALLY important that cops DON'T pull their guns just because they are "hot under the collar." It's kind of like, lesson one in cop school. We let them carry guns because they are trained enough not to just pull a gun when they are "hot under the collar."
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:20 AM on December 20, 2009 [118 favorites]


FXG, agreed! It worries me that he thinks a gun is an appropriate response to a snowball. To another gun, fine. To a flamethrower, sure. To a snowball!?!? Absolutely not. To even a thousand snowballs?!?! No.
posted by bunnycup at 7:24 AM on December 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Here it is on ABC. Of course, the (entirely unsupported) text below the video is: "A lively snowball fight on D.C. streets took a dark turn Saturday when anti-war protesters dressed in anarchist garb showed up, and a D.C. police officer pulled his weapon out of his holster."
posted by anshuman at 7:25 AM on December 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


(Must be the v-necks and keffiyahs.)
posted by anshuman at 7:26 AM on December 20, 2009



I'm stunned that this did not take place in Philly, but it's still early. We're due for a few shootings over parking spaces, though.


I guess I have to make the obligatory, "Santa isn't here yet to be the main target" reference.


/but seriously it was a drunken terrible Santa at a miserable football game, we don't do it every year like a bizarre "Lottery" style ritual.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:26 AM on December 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Of course he's on the take. He's a cop. In DC.

Yeah, I'm not saying we don't have corrupt cops, but anybody driving a ride as ostentatious as that would immediately come under investigation.

Shit, there are a couple of cops in my city who are currently facing prosecution because the police video cameras spotted them in corporate seats at a football game. Here, you'd have to be as dumb as a post to be on the take and to drive around in something like that.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:26 AM on December 20, 2009


anti-war protesters dressed in anarchist garb

To be fair, the anarchists did organize the thing.
posted by empath at 7:29 AM on December 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


I came in here to say what furiousxgeorge just said. The idea that some of you find this cop's behavior excusable is sure sign there is moron juice in the drinking water.

As I mentioned in the sci-fi writer border guard incident, I'm willing to pay cops enough to drive Hummers if and only if they're the kind of people who remain calm under pressure. That it's not part of the job description, and, indeed, there is a large segment of society willing to go "whatevs" to incidents like this is symptomatic of something deeply wrong with the way we view what our police are there to do.
posted by maxwelton at 7:30 AM on December 20, 2009 [10 favorites]


Well, that's more like it, a park. Who's bright idea was it to meet at a freaking intersection in the first place?
I certainly think it's noteworthy that someone pulled a gun at people hitting his vehicle with snowballs. Even if they hit his vehicle with fucking railroad spikes, pulling a gun is an extreme overreaction.
posted by Red Loop at 7:34 AM on December 20, 2009


What are the anarchists wearing this year?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:35 AM on December 20, 2009 [8 favorites]


I remember a similar incident 30 years ago in nearby College Park under identical conditions. All of the frat boys from campus (U of Maryland) and others showed up at the main intersection downtown for a big snowball fight. Good fun. But when the odd car came down Route 1 it became an irresistible moving target.

"Throwing snowballs" does not adequately describe the experience that the drivers in those cars felt as they were forced to slowly drive an 80 yard strip of road with hundreds of snowballs pelting their car. Real damage resulted in some instances.

Inevitably the driver of a nice four wheel drive pickup witnessed the carnage ahead of him and, when the first snowball came his way, stepped out of the vehicle with his shotgun. It may not have been the smartest move, but he did not suffer broken windows or dented body work.

Just saying that a mob wielding snowballs is not necessarily as innocent or harmless as it sounds.
posted by krtzmrk at 7:35 AM on December 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


To be fair, they did look kinda protestery, and despite the gun being pulled they obviously were not in fear for their lives and were acting verbally belligerent to the cops as the situation went on.

I can see a lone cop stumbling into this situation not understanding what was happening. He sees a lot of people in what at very first glance looks like a violent mob. He gets panicky and pulls his gun. It was the wrong choice, but he was feeling adrenaline and not thinking.

Ok, shit happens. He has a dangerous job and he is on edge all the time. He made a mistake.

...but once the situation clarified he decided to act like a tough guy and just made himself look much, much worse. You are on camera dude. Humble yourself, apologize even if you are being taunted, maybe toss a few snowballs. Laugh, walk away.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:36 AM on December 20, 2009


I'm thankful that the wild, wild west attitude wasn't around in the 60s around Chicago. I lived right on a busy highway, major cross streets, and in the winter we threw snowballs at cars all the time. Only twice--on direct windshield hits--did drivers stop. The first was a group of about five or six teens (we were all around 12 or so) who skidded around the corner to the side street and leapt out of the car to chase the four of us. Three of us took off, I stood where I was. Two guys threatened to pound sense into me--I offered that IF I had thrown snowballs, I surely WOULD have run, too. For some reason, they bought it and ran after the others. I was the only one unscathed.

The second time, just two of us were walking along, using the Ted Abernathy sidearm delivery as we walked along 22nd St. Smacked a Camaro mid-panel. Twentysomething guy & his date & they guy gets out. Me & my buddy are immediately cornered b/c we were walking with traffic. The guy immediately pushes my shoulders & I slipped on the ice, my feet coming up & hitting him in the sensitive place. He falls clutching his privates & his girl, laughing, goes around to the driver side & drives off leaving him on the sidewalk.

If guns were part of this equation, I would probably be dead. Hooray for simpler times.
posted by beelzbubba at 7:37 AM on December 20, 2009 [8 favorites]


Don't shoot me, bro!
posted by goatdog at 7:38 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


To be fair, the anarchists did organize the thing.

What's next, a communist stock exchange next to the capitalist commune?
posted by b1tr0t at 7:42 AM on December 20, 2009 [14 favorites]


I love the smell of righteous indignation in the morning.
posted by jckll at 7:43 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


ha! never brink a snowball to a gun fight...
posted by billybobtoo at 7:44 AM on December 20, 2009



If this were three neighborhood kids, you'd call them jackasses and be done with it.
That would be an appropriate response. Pulling a gun on the three neighborhood kids would not.


As always, there's absolutely no cop behavior that someone on metafilter won't excuse.

FWIW, I was absolutely not defending the actions of the cop. He's proven he has no business handling a firearm and should be fired, at a minimum. But it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that if you throw snowballs at non-participants, eventually you'll get some idiot -- cop or civillian -- who's going to escalate the situation. The fact that this idiot happened to be an armed cop with manhood issues just put this story over the top and into the papers.
posted by PlusDistance at 7:46 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


To be fair, the anarchists did organize the thing.

Oh, it was the anarchists! Well, then, guns are appropriate, right? What would be the proper level of force if the anarchists had organized a yard sale?
posted by leftcoastbob at 7:48 AM on December 20, 2009 [20 favorites]


Detective Baylor is lucky nobody killed his bitch ass. Any armed individual going solely by the information available on the scene, that an angry man pulled a gun on the crowd, would have been right to kill him on the spot.

Actually he isn't lucky, because this is calculated bullshit. Baylor knows that there's little chance that some punky/young middle class people throwing snowballs are not part of the armed demographic. He knows that in other situations, doing what he did would be dangerous. He also knows that he doesn't need the gun for self protection in this case, or he wouldn't have deployed it this way. The only reason for him to draw his gun in this situation is to frighten people he thinks probably don't have guns or even particularly violent intentions, and I doubt he'd pull that shit against anyone he would actually have to worry about.

So fuck him.
posted by mobunited at 7:48 AM on December 20, 2009 [30 favorites]


Worth pointing out that the cop clearly gets hit with a snowball to the face at 46 seconds into this video (after he'd gotten out of his car and shown the gun). Just a data point. Please resume jerking knees.
posted by mediareport at 7:51 AM on December 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


Pulling a gun like that was inappropriate, but am I correct in thinking that it was never aimed at anybody, and that he put it away fairly quickly? And called it in himself? So that he wasn't charging around crazy for several minutes with a drawn gun til the (other) cops arrived?

If that's the case, then it seems to be a case of a momentary bad judgment that was instantly regretted, not some cop goes berserk episode, and any disciplinary action should be appropriate. Docked pay, 3 months of desk duty, anger management class, done. Cut the guy some slack.

I also take issue with the "cop driving Hummer = on the take" Meta-frivolity here. That was the little "Hummer" (H3) I believe, and when they come off-lease, you can get them for a song. But don't let me spoil your fun.

Finally, I cringed and felt extremely sad every time some twerp yelled 'fucking pig' on that video. Must be my age. Merry Christmas, indeed.
posted by Artful Codger at 7:55 AM on December 20, 2009 [10 favorites]


So, he's a bitch-ass, is he? And it would have been right to kill him? Hmmm. Maybe you should think on that a bit.
posted by Red Loop at 7:59 AM on December 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Don't Bring a Gun to a Snowball Fight.

Ah, yes please I see. And for where to, may I order the t-shirt and the newsletter?
posted by Skygazer at 7:59 AM on December 20, 2009


Also, it's possible the cop is not the only wage earner in his household. What if his wife/boyfriend/whatever is a well paid attorney or some such?
posted by josher71 at 7:59 AM on December 20, 2009



If this were three neighborhood kids, you'd call them jackasses and be done with it.
That would be an appropriate response. Pulling a gun on the three neighborhood kids would not.


Yeah, I know I'm really backtracking at this point, but we are talking a hundred neighborhood kids at this point. He pulled the gun as a signal of authoritah, he wasn't gonna shoot anyone, he just could not come up with any other response as a lone cop facing what he saw as a violent mob.

He saw a mob of people tossing snowballs at cars. You can't just let that go on, but you can't brandish your gun as a solution either.

Proposed addition to the cop handbook:

You are driving down the road in the middle of a blizzard and encounter a large group of people tossing snowballs at cars in a busy intersection.

Do you:

A: Ignore it and keep driving.

B: Wildly brandish your gun and demand the mob respects your authoritah while threatening to send them all to jail.

C: Stop, call for backup. Get out of the car and firmly explain to the people throwing the snowballs that it is potentially dangerous and that they should probably move along because more officers will be along in a moment to disperse them, so it is probably best if they just call it a day.


(The answer is C)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:59 AM on December 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Civilian pulls gun in a fit of anger -- Not OK. Arrested.

Civilian pulls gun in a fit of anger -- Not OK. Arrested. Charged with aggravated assault.

Civilian pulls gun in a fit of anger -- Not OK. Arrested. Charged with reckless conduct involving a firearm.

Detective pulls gun in a fit of anger -- OK?
posted by ericb at 7:59 AM on December 20, 2009 [15 favorites]


mediareport: Worth pointing out that the cop clearly gets hit with a snowball to the face at 46 seconds into this video (after he'd gotten out of his car and shown the gun).

I'd like to note that I recognize that this is a serious matter and that if I'd been there I'd have been scared shitless but I can't not laugh when the guy gets the snowball in the face. I can't help it, I'm from Iceland, I'm genetically conditioned to laugh when people get snowballs in the face (see also: falling on ice).
posted by Kattullus at 8:00 AM on December 20, 2009 [9 favorites]


Worth pointing out

Only if you believe that being struck with a fluffy snowball is reason to draw down on someone.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:01 AM on December 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Not seen so many anarchists in a pitched street battle since Peregonovka or the defence of Madrid.
posted by Abiezer at 8:02 AM on December 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


> Detective pulls gun in a fit of anger -- OK?

Nobody's saying that. But it probably shouldn't be a career-ender either. Unless you think the supply of competent and willing police candidates is endless.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:04 AM on December 20, 2009


Worth pointing out that the cop clearly gets hit with a snowball

Luckily he was packing heat. The situation could have quickly escalated to two or even three snowballs.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:05 AM on December 20, 2009 [10 favorites]


Several times in my line of work I have found myself mediating between a large group of protestors and inevitably an angry overzealous cop. (Well, mediating is the wrong word as I was hardly neutral, having been the organizer of the protest). The worst possible thing the crowd can do is to yell and taunt the officer, "F$#@ You PIG!". Remain calm, keep well organized, and keep on. Operate under the assumption of being a rational citizen who is well within their rights to hold a snowball fight. Inevitably, just as did happen in this video, a more professional cool-headed officer will attempt to mediate the situation. Once you have your most rational spokesperson talking to their most rational spokesperson you can negotiate a lot. Having your hotheads screaming at their hotheads is just a recipe for jailtime. Some of the snowball group should have had the sense to pull their hotheads to the back of the crowd. The only difference between a mob and an army is discipline. Cops rarely mess with armies.
posted by jlowen at 8:06 AM on December 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


Don't Bring a Gun to a Snowball Fight. Ah, yes please I see. And for where to, may I order the t-shirt and the newsletter?

If you watch the videos, you'll see that is what the crowd was chanting.
posted by ericb at 8:08 AM on December 20, 2009


Organizing snowball fights, huh? So I guess Twitter does have some useful value after all.
My local (college town) equivalent event was organized via Facebook. Some new media grad student could probably get a paper out of the difference between Twitter-organized snowball-wielding flash mobs and Facebook-organized snowball-wielding flash mobs.

I, too, fail to see why this is national news, although I certainly hope the cop is disciplined in some way.
posted by craichead at 8:10 AM on December 20, 2009


He's lucky - in NYC there's been more than one black plainclothes officer shot by his coworkers responding to "man with a gun" calls.
posted by bashos_frog at 8:13 AM on December 20, 2009


*brazenly walks on fire&wing's lawn*
posted by sidereal at 8:15 AM on December 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


And called it in himself?

The police were responding to a 9-1-1 call.

Washington Post:
"...someone from the crowd called to report a man with a gun.

'I think what probably happens is somebody probably saw his gun and called the police,' [Assistant Chief Pete] Newsham said.

A the patrol officer who responded to the call approached with his gun drawn, Newsham said, because he did not know the man with a gun was a D.C. detective. When he realized that, he quickly holstered his own weapon, Newsham said.

[Lacy] MacAuley and others confronted the detective. As the detective walked away, MacAuley said, someone hit him with another snowball, prompting the officer to charge in the crowd and briefly detain the man he thought was the culprit.'"
posted by ericb at 8:16 AM on December 20, 2009


...but i fail to see how this is anything more then local news.

Washington Post:
"The video is making the rounds on the Internet and national TV stations."
posted by ericb at 8:19 AM on December 20, 2009


This, right here, is why I hated living in DC. Any attempt at a little silliness in that town is immediately squashed by some miserable stick up the ass jerk with more power than humanity.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:19 AM on December 20, 2009


Yes, protest/snowball fight + gun-happy cop = potentially really bad. I'm so glad it doesn't snow in Austin.
posted by Partario at 8:22 AM on December 20, 2009


Worth pointing out that the cop clearly gets hit with a snowball

And that's after he's already waved his gun around a bit
posted by fatbaq at 8:24 AM on December 20, 2009


If this were three neighborhood kids, you'd call them jackasses and be done with it.

That would be an appropriate response. Pulling a gun on the three neighborhood kids would not.



We were jackasses like that, as kids in my old neighborhood (Queens, NY). We didn't target cars though*, We would throw at the sides of buses, Delivery Trucks and vans. We would wait around a corner house, along a major road. One kid hung out as lookout, and would yell as one approached, we would be about half a house length in on that next street, and we each fired away. One time we hit a van, and it immediately pulled over sharply, the side door flew open and about 4-6 older kids with metal pipes jumped out and started running at us. As the local "guerrillas"(?), our knowledge of the neighborhood backyards and trails allowed us to escape without being caught. That was about as exciting as it got, other than the occasional truck or van that doubled back and slowly drove down our block, as we crouched on porches and parked cars until the coast was clear.


* The one time I remember a car being targeted was when one kid threw at one of the priests from our church (we were all going to the local catholic school). The priest did drive around our block for like five minutes, searching for the perpetrators.
posted by stifford at 8:25 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought that was the Chicago way. You know, he sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. He throws a snowball, you pull your gun.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:27 AM on December 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


A few people chose to target the maroon hummer, and then to continue to target the individual who got out of it.

Perhaps they knew he was a bait-able target?

(not that the Hummer woulda gave that away.)

dressed in anarchist garb

On good days I break out the bike and pedal about doing various tasks. I normally wear a full face mask + ski goggles.

And when the cops show up, they ask why I'm dressed like that.

I have to point out that its cold outside. And that, while on a bike, its colder still. You'd think the bike helmet on the top of the head would clue 'em in.....but now I get to look forward to the next responders being homeland security next time I bike down the the fed building to drop off a note.

Thanks ABC!

What would be the proper level of force if the anarchists had organized a yard sale?

Or when the local infoshop becomes a 501(c)3 to gain access to tax free funds to better spread the anarchist message. (and yes, that is a regular topic at the local infoshop. They are trying to figure out how to have good beer.)
posted by rough ashlar at 8:32 AM on December 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Only if you believe that being struck with a fluffy snowball is reason to draw down on someone.

Like folks are saying, he'd already pulled the gun before the snowball hit him in the face. I'm with Kattallus; I laughed when he got beaned, too. Then I went, "oh man the guy that threw that is recognizable on the video." I just hadn't seen anyone single out that interesting moment in the story, and it seemed worth singling out.
posted by mediareport at 8:33 AM on December 20, 2009


He saw a mob of people tossing snowballs at cars. You can't just let that go on.

Um, no. Please read the articles and watch the videos. You (and some others) are mischaracterizing the events.

I'll go with the reports, especially from eye-witnesses.
"Early on, MPD officers tolerated the chaos. Around 150 snowballers lined up on the east and west sides of 14th Street NW just north of U Street, idling politely as passing cars sludged through the intersection before rushing out to meet one another on the icy field of combat"*

"From what I could see, when the rare vehicle made it through the intersection, snowball fire died down or it was purposefully arced up over the cars and thrust to the other side of the street....At one point some of them stopped the action to help a police car trying to make a u-turn....Now with every event, there are some tone-deaf participants and maybe the people who inadvertently helped change the course of the afternoon were one or the other: At some point a small group of people, mostly on the West side of the street, mostly on the south end of that stretch of people, decided to throw a few snowballs at a maroon Hummer stopped at the intersection.*
posted by ericb at 8:34 AM on December 20, 2009


Any attempt at a little silliness in that town is immediately squashed by some miserable stick up the ass jerk with more power than humanity.

Errr, isn't that the purpose of the place?
posted by rough ashlar at 8:34 AM on December 20, 2009


The one statement that seems fair to make, as a broad one -- with a notable exception, of course -- is that the event was mostly between consenting adults, in good fun, and very civil.

The "mostly" in there is pretty crucial. A lot of horrible events can be described as "mostly between consenting adults."
posted by The World Famous at 8:34 AM on December 20, 2009


hi! yes this was a lot of my friends and acquaintances. i left right before the cop showed up cuz im slick like that

mjb's blog post linked to above is a good summary, but i can say from my own experience:

a. no cars were being targeted when i was there. every now and then a car would accidentally get hit or someone would randomly toss one as a whim, but on the whole it was participants only.

b. those "protesters" were joking, entirely. They had trash-can lids with anarchy symbols spray painted on. Essentially these were anarchy costumes, not political statements.

c. cops stopped by a couple of times to check out the situation and tell people to "dial it back a little bit" then drove away. clearly they thought it was harmless fun.

d. these two crazy motherfuckers on tiny motorbike with a sidecar kept coming by and starting shit and getting hosed with snowballs and driving off laughing. Also every now and then a car would stop and toss snowballs at us and we'd light it up.

items:
1. throwing a snowball at a car is a felony in dc. nobody knew that i guess!

2. in dc a cop must have even more definitive proof that his life is in imminent danger than in most jurisdictions. he will probably be severely reprimanded.

3. the east side of 14th street is the superior side, and those from the west side team are vile reprobates who should watch their backs, as the game is not over so if i see you around the way yr gonna get capped.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:35 AM on December 20, 2009 [54 favorites]


Uhh, guys, cops pulling a gun is not something that is excusable because they are "hot under the collar." In fact, it's REALLY important that cops DON'T pull their guns just because they are "hot under the collar." It's kind of like, lesson one in cop school. We let them carry guns because they are trained enough not to just pull a gun when they are "hot under the collar."
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:20 AM on December 20 [22 favorites -] Favorite added! [!]


Well, you would hope that it would be lesson one in cop school. But in the United States -- and increasingly in Canada -- it isn't. Police training is changing and police are being trained to be more agressive and to escalate situations rather than defuse them -- one of the big reasons is the influence of the L.A. police union on other North American police unions. The L.A. police are terrible, but rather than improving their techniques they have just worked to bring everyone else down to their level.

Having been in Britain, I've seen police behave in a completely different manner -- they aren't perfect there, but they are trained to be calming, to defuse situations, to be firm but unagressive. When you see help from a police officer in Britain, they are nice to you, and polite -- in Toronto these days, they are brusk and officious, even aggressive to simple questions like asking for directions. And this is because their training is incrediably bad and emphasises aggression and distrust, rather than how to be a protection officer.
posted by jb at 8:37 AM on December 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


Only if you believe that being struck with a fluffy snowball is reason to draw down on someone.

I cringe whenever I hear/read someone say that. I saw a buddy of mine suffer permanent vision damage in his left eye from what was described by the thrower as "just a fluffy snowball." He put a pointy rock in it and compacted the snow with the perfect amount of compression around it so that when the snowball hit something, it busted apart and the rock kept on going. It was the Northern Michigan dirtbag way, ya know.

Not that I'm accusing any DC snowball thrower of doing such a thing, mind you. It's just that snowballs *can* be made to do some real damage.
posted by NoMich at 8:38 AM on December 20, 2009


Don't Bring a Gun to a Snowball Fight. Ah, yes please I see. And for where to, may I order the t-shirt and the newsletter?

If you watch the videos, you'll see that is what the crowd was chanting.
posted by ericb at 11:08 AM on December 20 [+] [!]


Yeah, I know, I just wanted to see that sentence up on the metafilter worded just like that. But I do want a t-shirt that says that, quick someone organize a Dischord music festival and call it Don't bring a Gun to a Snowball fight.
posted by Skygazer at 8:38 AM on December 20, 2009


President Obama should say that Baylor acted stupidly, and then have everybody over for a beer summit at the White House. Snowballers, cops, Obama, Biden - a nice photo-op (out in the snow, of course), everybody shoots the breeze for a while, shakes hands and goes home.
posted by beagle at 8:39 AM on December 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Do tasers work in the snow?
posted by Skygazer at 8:39 AM on December 20, 2009


Nobody's saying that. But it probably shouldn't be a career-ender either. Unless you think the supply of competent and willing police candidates is endless.

Perhaps it's just me, but a cop who whips out his gun when faced with a bunch of jackasses throwing snowballs in the street doesn't actually meet my definition of competent.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:40 AM on December 20, 2009 [15 favorites]


But it probably shouldn't be a career-ender either.

I agree.
posted by ericb at 8:40 AM on December 20, 2009


Yeah, if you describe snowballs as "fluffy," you've probably never thrown one or been hit by one.
posted by The World Famous at 8:41 AM on December 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


He should have thrown snowballs back at them.
posted by inconsequentialist at 8:42 AM on December 20, 2009


Watching the video, I think there's something else that should be pointed out. After Detective Baylor's backup arrives, a couple of the people on the street ask for the detective's badge number, and he asks them "Why" and eventually gives them his name This is, to put it mildly, completely unacceptable. If you're a police officer (excepting obviously undercover officers), and a citizen asks to see your badge or get your badge number, you should be required to give it to them immediately. Without the badge, you have no way of knowing who is and is not a cop. Without the badge number, you have no way of reporting abuse. If Detective Baylor had decided not to give them his name, there would be no way of reporting this behavior. Whether his behavior was justified or not, there's no way of sorting that out if police officers think that you need to explain why you need their badge numbers before you get them.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:42 AM on December 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


Worth pointing out that the cop clearly gets hit with a snowball to the face at 46 seconds into this video (after he'd gotten out of his car and shown the gun). Just a data point. Please resume jerking knees.

yup, and the guy that hit him looks like he has personally had his fill of cops already in this lifetime. He looks around, sees the immense crowd of whiteys, sees that for once the power imbalance is *not* on the side of the cop, pastes the dude in the ribcage and slides off laughing. For that dude, christmas came early.
posted by toodleydoodley at 8:44 AM on December 20, 2009 [16 favorites]


oh and in picturing the scene it's useful to keep in mind there's literally a foot of snow in the streets while this is happening so cars are going about 5 mph. many cars got stuck and people helped them get unstuck.

i dont think the original webpage and twitter has been posted for the fight so here they are.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:45 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not sympathasing with the detective at all, but really screaming "Fuck you pig" was helping how exactly?
posted by schwa at 8:45 AM on December 20, 2009


So a black cop pulled a gun on a bunch of unarmed white people? I bet the response over at RedState is going to be like one of those old science fiction stories where someone asks the robot to compute the square root of negative one and smoke pours out of his ears.
posted by EarBucket at 8:46 AM on December 20, 2009 [12 favorites]


He's lucky - in NYC there's been more than one black plainclothes officer shot by his coworkers responding to "man with a gun" calls.

That was my first thought when I saw the part of the YouTube clip where the uniformed officer appoaches him from behind--out of his line of sight--with gun drawn. I had the sickening thought that if Baylor had wheeled around too quickly and his uniformed colleague was feeling just as hepped up and with the same lack of impulse control.....

Not a smart move for Officer Baylor, on many levels.
posted by availablelight at 8:46 AM on December 20, 2009


> Detective pulls gun in a fit of anger -- OK?

Nobody's saying that. But it probably shouldn't be a career-ender either. Unless you think the supply of competent and willing police candidates is endless.


If he was not already retired, yes it should be a career-ender. I don't know why some people think we should have such low standards for an office granted such strong discretionary powers. When you fuck up with powers like that, you need to get hurt.

Remember the police work for us. They serve us, the protect us. Their oath and loyalty is to serve and protect us. When they pull a gun on us with out fully reasonable cause they should be handled the same a a knight pulling a sword on the King.
posted by MrBobaFett at 8:51 AM on December 20, 2009 [8 favorites]




i dont think the original webpage and twitter has been posted for the fight so here they are

Strangely, in the space of a few minutes, that Twitter account is now "suspended due to strange activity."
posted by beagle at 8:58 AM on December 20, 2009


For those that assume the cop must be on the take because he's driving a Hummer, it all comes down to what the market will bear. Hummers are mostly out of favor with all but the most narrow demographic and can be leased for about $500/month.
posted by readery at 9:00 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I had the sickening thought that if Baylor had wheeled around too quickly and his uniformed colleague was feeling just as hepped up and with the same lack of impulse control.....
True, but I don't think Baylor ever turns to the other cop. He had already radioed to HQ so presumably the other cop already knew who he was and had his gun out only based on reasonable caution and SOP.
posted by beagle at 9:01 AM on December 20, 2009


Nobody's saying that. But it probably shouldn't be a career-ender either. Unless you think the supply of competent and willing police candidates is endless.

Right because turning yourself into a national news story for pulling your gun on young people throwing snowballs is precisely the definition of competent.

Not that I'm accusing any DC snowball thrower of doing such a thing, mind you. It's just that snowballs *can* be made to do some real damage.

As Jon Stewart sometimes says "Not that I'm calling your mother a whore or nothin'..." Why not also mention that guns brandished guns *can* be made to do some real damage?

Clearly these people were not trying to hurt each other or others with their snow-ball glee. It appears for the most part that it was just some young people in a blizzard having a safe bit of fun until Officer Friendly decided that threatening people with a gun was the best way to deescalate the situation.

Absolutely nothing of consequence will happen to Detective Baylor. I predict a PR blitz citing Baylor's "long record of outstanding service to the citizens of D.C.," and six weeks of anger-management training in-house.
posted by inoculatedcities at 9:03 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, he's a bitch-ass, is he? And it would have been right to kill him? Hmmm. Maybe you should think on that a bit.

No, what you're asking is that in situations like this, anyone on the scene project their minds into the future to see threads like this so they can tell it's some crazy asshole cop getting his dick hard instead of someone who pulled a gun out and thus, presented an immediate threat to the lives of surrounding passers-by.

I'm saying that when we remove magic powers from the table, one rational, defensible thing for any armed intervenor to do would have been to shoot Det. Baylor immediately, since he's an agitated guy waving a gun at a crowd and unlike TV, there is no dramatic beat waiting to cue witnesses as to whether this will be a Tragic Shooting, a Tense Standoff or a Hilarious Misunderstanding.

It would have been tragic. I certainly don't believe Bitch-Ass Baylor deserved to die, and it's idiotic to imply it. I generally like everyone to live, no matter how stupid they are.

But in the end, this was Cop Theatre, where the main player was a cop who knew that educated leftist types almost never carry, and who would probably never deploy his weapon in this fashion against anyone who was actually dangerous.
posted by mobunited at 9:04 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, if you describe snowballs as "fluffy," you've probably never thrown one or been hit by one.

Oh, please. You can tell from the way it explodes against his head in the video that it was about as fluffy as a snowball can get.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:05 AM on December 20, 2009


I like how everybody assumes a cop with a Hummer must be on the take.

I guess it isn't possible that he has a wife who makes more than him.

Or that he had an inheritance or won a small lottery prize or otherwise came into some money that, while not being enough to retire on, was enough for something big and expensive.

Or that he just made a really poor financial decision and now owes $40,000 on a vehicle he didn't need.

Nope, he must be corrupt. It's the only explanation.

The guy's still a jackass for this stunt, of course; but for fuck's sake, people.
posted by Target Practice at 9:07 AM on December 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


If he was not already retired, yes it should be a career-ender.

Yeah -- he is being described as a "veteran cop." I assume that means he is retired and now a civilian. If this is the case, he has no authority or power in this situation. Right? Makes it even more of an assholish move. Any other civilian would probably have been handcuffed and arrested for brandishing a weapon in public. Right?
posted by ericb at 9:09 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


The gun was over the top but had the morons having the snowball fight followed one of "Mike's Simple Rules For Living" this wouldn't have happened. This is an important rule:

"DON'T FUCK WITH STRANGERS!"

Don't fuck with strangers - they may not share your sense of humor
Don't fuck with strangers - they may be mentally unbalanced
Don't fuck with strangers - they may be armed
Don't fuck with strangers - they may be violent
Don't fuck with strangers - they just might ruin your fucking day,week,year,life

It's not that difficult people.
posted by MikeMc at 9:12 AM on December 20, 2009 [11 favorites]


Assholes all the way down.
posted by nola at 9:15 AM on December 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


Worth pointing out that the cop clearly gets hit with a snowball to the face at 46 seconds into this video (after he'd gotten out of his car and shown the gun). Just a data point. Please resume jerking knees.

Gosh, yes. It was a snowball that killed McKinley. Leon Czolgosz had it hidden under a handkerchief. Thinking drawing a gun as a response, even preemptively, is a preposterous response is totally a knee jerk reaction.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:16 AM on December 20, 2009 [4 favorites]



To be fair, they did look kinda protestery, and despite the gun being pulled they obviously were not in fear for their lives and were acting verbally belligerent to the cops as the situation went on.

What a bunch of lefty anarchist belligerent protesters might look like.

The belligerence started after the gun was drawn. The fact that they weren't sufficiently cowed, but got all shouty about asking for badge numbers, etc. is something to be celebrated. Civil liberties FTW.
posted by availablelight at 9:17 AM on December 20, 2009 [9 favorites]


People still buy/drive Hummers? In this economy? Aren't Hummers supposed to be bullet-proof anyway? I guess the officer went to the snowball fight with the army he had, and not the army he wanted.
posted by HyperBlue at 9:17 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


MikeMc isn't kidding, folks. He came to my house and destroyed my neighbor's brand new Corvette with a crowbar once.
posted by The World Famous at 9:18 AM on December 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


I like how everybody assumes a cop with a Hummer must be on the take.

Here in Boston police are well-paid.
2005: "1,026 employees, about 36 percent of the force, made $100,000 or more."

2006: "...the average uniformed police officer made $113,617."

2008: "1,430 Boston cops earned more than $100,000."
In nearby Qunicy, MA
"Nearly two-thirds of Quincy’s police officers earned at least $100,000 last year [2008]."
So, a Hummer is not out of the question for some urban police officers.
posted by ericb at 9:21 AM on December 20, 2009


MikeMc isn't kidding, folks. He came to my house and destroyed my neighbor's brand new Corvette with a crowbar once.

That's another one of "Mike's Simple Rules For Living": Don't sneak into the parking space that Mike has been waiting patiently for.
posted by MikeMc at 9:24 AM on December 20, 2009


Assistant Chief Pete Newsham, who leads the department's investigative services bureau, has said the detective in question "was armed but never pulls his weapon."

In the day-and-age of cellphone cameras, digital video, the Internet, etc. things have changed. Note to officers: think before you behave badly.

In related news: Calif. city's police to wear head-mounted cameras.
posted by ericb at 9:27 AM on December 20, 2009


Worth pointing out that the cop clearly gets hit with a snowball to the face at 46 seconds into this video (after he'd gotten out of his car and shown the gun). Just a data point. Please resume jerking knees.

That was my favorite part, too.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:29 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


As Jon Stewart sometimes says "Not that I'm calling your mother a whore or nothin'..." Why not also mention that guns brandished guns *can* be made to do some real damage?

Please. I clearly did not mean my statement in some sort jokey-cynically-jonstewarty kind of way. I related a personal story on why I cringe every time someone calls a snowball "just fluffy." I then added the disclaimer about the DC snowball throwers to clarify that I was not accusing them of doing the same thing.
posted by NoMich at 9:31 AM on December 20, 2009


Don't fuck with strangers - they just might ruin your fucking day,week,year,life

I knew I forgot something today! I forgot to be absolutely terrified of every other human being on earth! Must be the season or something. Thanks for reminding me, MikeMc! {|}
posted by Orb2069 at 9:34 AM on December 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


"What if his wife/boyfriend/whatever is a well paid attorney?"

That would be a stroke of luck, considering he may need one.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 9:40 AM on December 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


The belligerence started after the gun was drawn. The fact that they weren't sufficiently cowed, but got all shouty about asking for badge numbers, etc. is something to be celebrated

Taunt the angry man with a gun. Brilliant!
posted by MikeMc at 9:45 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


A police officer driving a hummer. Was he returning from declawing his cat or on his way to get his child circumcised?

I know this sort of just drove by but 8 people favorited it and I want to know what in-joke I'm missing. Because otherwise what the fuck is this implying?
posted by cavalier at 9:46 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


CNN video about the incident.
posted by ericb at 9:47 AM on December 20, 2009


cavalier, there are a number of subjects Metafilter "doesn't do well". That excerpt strings many of them together, to humorous result.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 9:50 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


A police officer driving a hummer. Was he returning from declawing his cat or on his way to get his child circumcised?

But, he was watching Mr. Rogers on his in-vehicle video!
posted by found missing at 9:50 AM on December 20, 2009




Gosh, yes. It was a snowball that killed McKinley. Leon Czolgosz had it hidden under a handkerchief. Thinking drawing a gun as a response, even preemptively, is a preposterous response is totally a knee jerk reaction.

The detective had drawn his weapon prior to getting hit with the snowball. My favorite part is when the detective grabbed a guy to arrest and it clearly wasn't the person that threw the snowball at him. That and the MPD saying the detective never drew his weapon. Fine police work, etc.
posted by ryoshu at 9:53 AM on December 20, 2009


Years ago I was with some friends at a friend's house in Northwest DC. Everyone decided (except me) that it would be fun to throw snowballs at cars, ambush-style, hiding behind hedges, so the drivers would be caught by surprise.

Well, a car comes along, the snowballs go flying, and the driver is surprised alright. I veers out of the way, the car slips on the icy road, goes through a hedge, and stops just before a 6-foot dropoff. Another foot or two and the car would have fallen over the edge and probably rolled.

Everyone else thought it was hilarious. Luckily the driver was not hurt and didn't go into a rage.

Suffice to say, was the beginning of the end of my friendship with these guys.
posted by brianstorms at 9:58 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ahhhh, thank you mr. crash davis.
posted by cavalier at 9:59 AM on December 20, 2009


Argh. Typos galore. "It veers" not "I veers" and "Suffice to say, that was" not "Suffice to say, was". I thought there was a way to edit, but I guess not.
posted by brianstorms at 10:02 AM on December 20, 2009


I'd just like to make the point that getting hit with a snowball isn't necessarily a fluffy giggly event on par with rubbing a kitten on your face. I spent a month in an eyepatch after being on the receiving end of a snowball that had been gathered off of a pile of sand.
Guns aren't justified, no no - but snowballs can hurt like hell. Just sayin'.
posted by Billegible at 10:02 AM on December 20, 2009


He pulled the gun as a signal of authoritah, he wasn't gonna shoot anyone, he just could not come up with any other response as a lone cop facing what he saw as a violent mob.

If you pull out a gun, be ready to shoot it.

That is the only reason to pull out a gun--when the situation is dangerous enough that you think you might need to use it.

Did he think he might need to shoot someone in the crowd? If not he shouldn't have pulled out his gun. It is not a 'signal of authority', it is a weapon that kills. That is its only purpose, to a well trained cop.
posted by eye of newt at 10:10 AM on December 20, 2009 [11 favorites]


I rubbed a kitten on my face once. It scratched me. So I shot the little fucker.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:11 AM on December 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


So I shot the little fucker.

Isn't that what you're supposed to do with cats?
posted by MikeMc at 10:13 AM on December 20, 2009


The whole situation is just lose-lose, IMHO. You shouldn't mob-throw snowballs at random cars. If you're in one of those cars being pelted, you shouldn't pull a gun.
posted by carter at 10:13 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


A police officer driving a hummer. Was he returning from declawing his cat or on his way to get his child circumcised?

He was on his way to the jewelry store to buy a blood diamond for his girlfriend. And swinging by McDonald's on the way home.
posted by fixedgear at 10:13 AM on December 20, 2009


Artful Codger: Unless you think the supply of competent and willing police candidates is endless."

It's not, but this guy was clearly not competent, so no loss there. I'd like to see him treated the same way any civilian would under similar circumstances: charged with unlawful brandishing of a weapon, fines and possible jail time, barred from possessing a firearm, and fired (since his job requires possessing a firearm) or put on permanent desk duty.

We should hold police to higher standards than the general public, not cut them slack just because of the badge when they act inappropriately. They're supposed to be setting an example, and not of how you can abuse authority for fun and profit.

If he can't keep a cool head when someone's tossing snowballs at him, he shouldn't be behind a badge. Getting rid of him, or at least getting him off the street, would be an unequivocal Good Thing.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:14 AM on December 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


What a bunch of lefty anarchist belligerent protesters might look like.

Actually, I believe these are the anarchists the media was referring to.

There is probably a significant overlap between the two photos.

Most anarchists I know are really rather fluffy individuals who tend to want to hug each other and eat lentil based food. They're lovely really, and terribly misrepresented by the media. I'd even go so far as to say that I am very close to being a 'self-described' anarchist.

There is one guy (in the ReasonTV video) who shouts 'fuck you pig' and seems, in my opinion, a bit too confrontational about it, but that must just be my softie liberal side coming out.

I use liberal there not as it is used in America, but as a semi-derogatory term used by radical types to describe people who think that things like the Copenhagen summit will actually change anything... wooly liberals, pah!
posted by knapah at 10:15 AM on December 20, 2009


In a more awesome world, SWAT would have been called in, and they would have proceeded to annihilate the crowd with snowblowers, snipers with potato-gun snowballs, and special military-grade snow catapults. After word got out, eventually people would travel from all over the world to fight DC's finest, and they could turn it into an annual thing, maybe sell tickets. Oh well, maybe next year.
posted by Humanzee at 10:20 AM on December 20, 2009 [27 favorites]


And then Joe Lieberman could take away their healthcare for engaging in dangerous activity, Humanzee.

Oh wait, wrong thread.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:23 AM on December 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


In a more awesome world, SWAT would have been called in, and they would have proceeded to annihilate the crowd with snowblowers, snipers with potato-gun snowballs, and special military-grade snow catapults. After word got out, eventually people would travel from all over the world to fight DC's finest, and they could turn it into an annual thing, maybe sell tickets. Oh well, maybe next year.

If the police actually did this, even here in the UK, it would go a huge way to reducing suspicion and hatred of their profession.

I'd probably be 20% less apprehensive upon seeing a police officer.
posted by knapah at 10:28 AM on December 20, 2009


All of this could have been easily resolved if a snow fort had collapsed, killing somebody's pet dog.
posted by brundlefly at 10:38 AM on December 20, 2009


the cop was wrong - like way wrong, like 100 magnitudes of wrong - should be brought up on criminal charges wrong...

but - for the people saying things like 'cars weren't being targeted - people mostly just threw at each other - then a few people might have targeted a car, but just a few! they weren't the whole group!' - how would someone driving in poor conditions know that? how would you expect the driver to realize, "oh, it's just 10 or 20 kids in the faceless mass - i'm sure the rest of them are stand up guys!" i would guess from the driver's seat, in cold, icy, snowy conditions, where your car just got hit by a snowball and you see 200 people obviously in the middle of a snowball fight that you would probably assume they were all or most throwing snowballs at cars.

it's easy to say, with the whole story in front of you, or as a member of the side that was involved the whole time, exactly what happened - but to imagine it from his perspective for a minute, as someone who didn't get the twitter updates and wasn't standing out there with everyone else - it probably didn't seem as playful and fun.
posted by nadawi at 10:46 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


To be fair, the anarchists did organize the thing.

Oh, it was the anarchists! Well, then, guns are appropriate, right? What would be the proper level of force if the anarchists had organized a yard sale?


Okay, to be fair TO THE NEWSTATION, anarchists did organize the thing. The news station reported they were dressed like anarchists and had protests signs. Both statements were true because anarchist war protestors were actually there. The squares at the news station can hardly be expected to tell the difference between real protests and ironic protests, can they? I mean, I've been to real anarchist protests and haven't been able to tell if some of these people are fucking serious.
posted by empath at 10:51 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


FWIW, the second cop on the scene seems to have displayed professionalism and kept his shit together despite being confronted by a (justifiably) hostile crowd and a colleague who was attempting to incite a riot. Rather than blindly back the detective, it seems as though actually acted to defuse the situation and make sure nobody got hurt.

Considering the differences in status between detectives and uniformed officers, it seems like the wrong guy got the promotion.
posted by jenkinsEar at 10:53 AM on December 20, 2009 [10 favorites]


> ...this guy was clearly not competent, so no loss there. I'd like to see him treated the same way any civilian would under similar circumstances: charged with unlawful brandishing of a weapon, fines and possible jail time, barred from possessing a firearm, and fired (since his job requires possessing a firearm) or put on permanent desk duty.

We should hold police to higher standards than the general public, not cut them slack just because of the badge when they act inappropriately. They're supposed to be setting an example, and not of how you can abuse authority for fun and profit.

If he can't keep a cool head when someone's tossing snowballs at him, he shouldn't be behind a badge. Getting rid of him, or at least getting him off the street, would be an unequivocal Good Thing.


Well, the detective's not a civilian, and he's allegedly trained to handle firearms, so actually I think that different standards should apply. For starters, a gun is a tool of the job, and we rely on the the officer to use it appropriately. We can of course question whether this was appropriate use. Second, a cop with a gun is a different proposition than Joe Public with a gun. With Joe Public, you don't have any idea what they're up to. Also, I do not think the detective pointed the gun at anyone during the whole episode, so this whole "brandishing" thing is overstated. To me it seems he regretted it within a few seconds of pulling it out, but you can't exactly go "oops sorry" at that point.

We saw alot of police restraint on the video, actually. A couple jerks yelling "fuck you pigs", and they didn't get a beat-down. I was impressed with the low-key, restrained behaviour of the uniformed pollce when they arrived.
posted by Artful Codger at 10:55 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


We can of course question whether this was appropriate use.

i'd like to hear the argument for it was appropriate use.


We saw alot of police restraint on the video, actually. A couple jerks yelling "fuck you pigs", and they didn't get a beat-down.


how sad is it that cops not unlawfully beating citizens is considered restraint....
posted by nadawi at 10:58 AM on December 20, 2009 [17 favorites]


Yeah -- he is being described as a "veteran cop." I assume that means he is retired and now a civilian.

I don't think that necessarily follows. When I hear "veteran cop," the impression I get is simply that he's been on the force a long time, not that he's retired. I assume in that case, he'd have been described as a "retired cop."
posted by EarBucket at 11:00 AM on December 20, 2009


BitterOldPunk: I rubbed a kitten on my face once. It scratched me. So I shot the little fucker.

Somebody rubbed a kitten on my face once. I laughed. It shot me. Goddamn kitten. At least I got a profile picture out of it.
posted by Kattullus at 11:01 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


A couple jerks yelling "fuck you pigs", and they didn't get a beat-down.

I...what...huh? "Fuck you pigs" gets you a beatdown these days? The fuck? No, this should not be what policing in America is.

But I guess you're right. In this real world I live in I suppose I have to be impressed that a cop didn't beat the living shit out of a kid you yelled "fuck you pigs." Objectively speaking, that is kind of impressive. That's how low the bar is set these days. Christ.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 11:02 AM on December 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


it's easy to say, with the whole story in front of you, or as a member of the side that was involved the whole time, exactly what happened - but to imagine it from his perspective for a minute, as someone who didn't get the twitter updates and wasn't standing out there with everyone else - it probably didn't seem as playful and fun.
posted by nadawi


Well then, if he didn't know what the situation was, his training should have told him that he shouldn't have gotten out of his Humvee Hummer to wade into it alone.
posted by leftcoastbob at 11:10 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Great metaphor on Global Warming.
posted by effluvia at 11:12 AM on December 20, 2009


Dear D.C. police officer who pulled a gun because someone hit your Hummer with a snowball,
     You are totally awesome.  Someone tosses a bit of snow, which accidentally strikes your 
ARMOURED PERSONNEL CARRIER, so you get out of your ARMOURED PERSONNEL CARRIER onto a slippery
road and point a gun willy-nilly at a crowd of people in the middle of a blizzard.  
     Keep up the good work.
          Your biggest fan,
               HAMBURGER

P.S. Why the fuck were you driving during a fucking blizzard anyway?  What are you, an idiot?

posted by Sys Rq at 11:16 AM on December 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


Has anyone pointed out yet that not only is the guy a COP, but he was driving a HUMMER and he decided to PULL A GUN OUT ON A SNOWBALL FIGHT.

Paging Dr. Freud.....paging Dr. Freud...comedic gold and over-compensation at the corner of 14th and U. Paging Dr. Freud.....
posted by Skygazer at 11:24 AM on December 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Does anyone know what the cop's record is like? I think that would go a long way toward clearing up some thoughts and feelings on the matter.

Personally, I am leaning toward the side that any cop who loses his temper and tries to abuse his power shouldn't be on the police force.
posted by annsunny at 11:25 AM on December 20, 2009


That's how low the bar is set these days. Christ.

Many moons ago the MPD had a detachment of detectives whose job it was to "persuade" people to reconsider the complaint they filed against the department/their fellow officers. When I was a kid I saw them "persuade" my neighbor Kenny's face into the roof of their unmarked car a few times - he dropped the complaint (Kenny was involved in some shady shit so I don't think he was inclined to pursue things further). Based on that I'd say we've come a long way (not that we don't have a long way to go).
posted by MikeMc at 11:28 AM on December 20, 2009


"S'up"

"Hey. Whatcha doin'?"

"Nothing, you?"

"Nuddin. You wanna get on Metafilter and get our hate on?"

"Gimmee a second to get my righteous indignation on and I'm in!"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:32 AM on December 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Actually has anyone pointed out that anyone driving a HUMMER at this point has a huge target on the hood saying Please throw snowballs at me cos I'm an asshole?

Just wondering.
posted by Skygazer at 11:34 AM on December 20, 2009


OMG someone called GREGORYABUTLER is posting angrily on the YT thread coments, threatening charges o RIOT and DISORDERLY CONDUCT and so forth.
posted by mwhybark at 11:36 AM on December 20, 2009


...amidst some truly ugly racist comments, geez
posted by mwhybark at 11:39 AM on December 20, 2009


But it probably shouldn't be a career-ender either.

I'm fine with Detective Baylor remaining on the police force if they can find a job that doesn't involve carrying a firearm and he gets a lifetime ban on owning or carrying firearms.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:40 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well then, if he didn't know what the situation was, his training should have told him that he shouldn't have gotten out of his Humvee Hummer to wade into it alone.

as i said at the very top of my comment - the cop wasn't justified in any way to bring out a gun. i was just pointing out that a few faces in a crowd acting badly could be seen by passerbys as the entire crowd acting as a mob.
posted by nadawi at 11:42 AM on December 20, 2009


*Throws fluffy snowball @ Brandon.*
posted by Skygazer at 11:44 AM on December 20, 2009


They'll get my snowball when they pry it from my cold, cold hand.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 11:45 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


When snowballs are outlawed, only outlaws will have snowballs?
posted by fixedgear at 11:51 AM on December 20, 2009


> In this real world I live in I suppose I have to be impressed that a cop didn't beat the living shit out of a kid you yelled "fuck you pigs." Objectively speaking, that is kind of impressive. That's how low the bar is set these days. Christ.

I was a bit over the top with the they didn't get a beating thing. Sorry. I really meant to imply that I (as in me) would have had trouble remaining placid if some twerps were yelling "fuck you pigs" in my face. This is why I am not a cop.

Can we agree that the other cops who arrived on the scene behaved with the sort of restraint and calmness that we expect from our police force, and that the guys yelling "fuck the pigs" were douches?
posted by Artful Codger at 11:54 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


We saw alot of police restraint on the video, actually. A couple jerks yelling "fuck you pigs", and they didn't get a beat-down.

Ah, I see, it's the soft bigotry of low expectations.
posted by orthogonality at 11:54 AM on December 20, 2009


I was impressed with the low-key, restrained behaviour of the uniformed pollce when they arrived.

Impressed? Why? It was a snowball fight in the middle of a blizzard. I'm impressed the other cops didn't burst out laughing.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 11:57 AM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think cops should be encouraged to pull a gun on anyone found using twitter. And use of the word twittersphere should be a legitimate reason for them to use it.
posted by ciderwoman at 12:03 PM on December 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


Yes, because the people we pay to serve and protect the public are not only allowed but expected to violently assault teenagers who call them names.

Restraint, schmestraint. Those cops should be fired for failing to do anything to protect the world from those taunting youngsters! Who knows whose feelings they might hurt next!
posted by Sys Rq at 12:03 PM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, because the people we pay to serve and protect the public are not only allowed but expected to violently assault teenagers who call them names.

I pay my taxes, I expect my local law enforcement officers to beat teenagers early and often. It's the only way they learn.
posted by MikeMc at 12:08 PM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, no, I think she meant 'douche.' Carry on.
posted by fixedgear at 12:18 PM on December 20, 2009


He, sorry BB.
posted by fixedgear at 12:18 PM on December 20, 2009


How does a DC detective afford a $100,000 car?

I think this post is interesting and worthy because it shows the difference between now and 10 years ago. Now the belligerent cop has 3 or 4 videocameras pointed at him. It's not "he-said, she-said." It's "let's go to the videotape." Cops have to be really wary about menacing civilians -- someone's going to be recording it.
posted by musofire at 12:26 PM on December 20, 2009


I think the cop is totally wrong, a fuckhead, etc.

But snowballs are not harmless to cars, or people. The guys in mediareport's video throw a snowball into the policeman's face from about 25ft with a fair amont of force. That would fucking sting, and the guy has made it plainly clear he's not participating in the "harmless snowball fight." Unless they did it in self-defense against the gun, I'd call that plain and simple assault, just the same as if they walked up and punched him in the face.

So fuck the people in the crowd too. Passive agressive shitheads.
posted by autodidact at 12:27 PM on December 20, 2009


... it really bugs me. These 200 idiots put the onus on random passers-by to accept random indignation and possible damage to their paint, and don't get out of your car or else barely civilized shitheads will hammer you in the face with "harmless" snowballs.
posted by autodidact at 12:29 PM on December 20, 2009


Yeah -- he is being described as a "veteran cop." I assume that means he is retired and now a civilian.

To my reading, "veteran cop" means "experienced police officer, i.e. not a rookie."
posted by rtha at 12:30 PM on December 20, 2009


autodidact, you're fantasizing. We have eyewitness testimony from a mefite that that wasn't happening.
posted by empath at 12:34 PM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


How does a DC detective afford a $100,000 car?

The MSRP on a brand-new 2009 Hummer H3 is $33,390.

Don't let me get in the way of the spurious, unfounded accusations of police corruption going on in this thread, though.
posted by mpbx at 12:34 PM on December 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


BBC "Don't freak out to a snowball fight." Priceless.

Also, please MetaFilter people, get a grip. It's been said upthread, but allow me to re-state the obvious. He's a detective. Cops work overtime. Even a patrol officer who works lots of overtime in my city can earn $100K a year. It just makes you sound stupid when you say stuff like 'how can he afford a Hummer?" He can afford a Hummer because the H3 isn't all that expensive, and costs nowhere near $100K and they are available used. Maybe he likes to spend a larger percentage of his income on cars than you do. Christ, there are GS-7s where I work who drive Hummers.
posted by fixedgear at 12:35 PM on December 20, 2009


But snowballs are not harmless to cars, or people.

Oh. So I guess threatening to shoot people was totally justified.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:35 PM on December 20, 2009


autodidact, you're fantasizing.

I'm fantasizing about what? The part in the video where a six foot two grown man hurls a snowball directly in the cop's face?

Oh. So I guess threatening to shoot people was totally justified.

Being intentionally fatuous doesn't win arguments. That's obviously not what I was saying. I was simply reminding everyone that though the cop might be a shithead, the crowd was full of shitheads too.

And no that doesn't mean I think every single person in the crowd was a shithead.
posted by autodidact at 12:42 PM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]



President Obama should say that Baylor acted stupidly, and then have everybody over for a beer summit at the White House. Snowballers, cops, Obama, Biden - a nice photo-op (out in the snow, of course), everybody shoots the breeze for a while, shakes hands and goes home then partakes in the first annual White House lawn SNOWBALL FIGHT!
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:47 PM on December 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh. So I guess threatening to shoot people was totally justified.

It is completely possible to agree that snowballs occasionally do more damage than you'd think, and that the cop is a dangerous asshole who should be charged with assault (since it sure looks to me like he pointed a gun at the crowd). Pretending otherwise is getting pretty tedious.
posted by waraw at 12:47 PM on December 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


You see one guy throw a snowball at the cop AFTER he pulled a gun. Unless you have some evidence that they were hitting random passersby, you're just making shit up.
posted by empath at 12:48 PM on December 20, 2009


Also, I'm in DC, i've seen the snow that's on the ground. It's a really loose pack, especially yesterday. There's no chance anyone is getting hit by anything but a fluffball.
posted by empath at 12:50 PM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm TALKING about when they threw the snowball in his face and nothing else. I'm not fucking making anything up.
posted by autodidact at 12:50 PM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm in DC, i've seen the snow that's on the ground. It's a really loose pack, especially yesterday. There's no chance anyone is getting hit by anything but a fluffball.

Oh, okay fire away then.
posted by autodidact at 12:52 PM on December 20, 2009


And someone it has escaped everyone's notice that this is how the Boston Massacre started (throwing snowballs at people with guns).

Maybe the organizers of these snowball fights should start targeting DC lobbyists.
posted by Davenhill at 12:52 PM on December 20, 2009


We saw alot of police restraint on the video, actually. A couple jerks yelling "fuck you pigs", and they didn't get a beat-down. I was impressed with the low-key, restrained behaviour of the uniformed pollce when they arrived.

Yeah, totally! Just yesterday, this guy stole the parking spot I'd been waiting for at the mall, and I didn't take out a crowbar and smash his windshield to smithereens, and then I didn't hunt him down and crack open his skull with said crowbar. And then I didn't go through his pockets while he was unconscious and steal his wallet and cell phone. What impressive restraint I showed - they should probably give me the Presidential Medal of Freedom right now.
posted by lunasol at 1:10 PM on December 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, totally! Just yesterday, this guy stole the parking spot I'd been waiting for at the mall, and I didn't take out a crowbar and smash his windshield to smithereens

You're a far better person than I. A guy did that to me once, you should have seen what I did to his new Corvette. Just ask The World Famous.
posted by MikeMc at 1:19 PM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


he is being described as a "veteran cop." I assume that means he is retired and now a civilian.

To my reading, "veteran cop" means "experienced police officer, i.e. not a rookie."


To my reading, 'veteran cop' means don't take that last call before you retire because you just know nothing good will come of it.
posted by ciderwoman at 1:26 PM on December 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


The fucking police are fucking out of control in this country.
posted by nevercalm at 2:04 PM on December 20, 2009


"To my reading, 'veteran cop' means don't take that last call before you retire because you just know nothing good will come of it."

"I'm too old for this shit."
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 2:07 PM on December 20, 2009


I don't think that necessarily follows. When I hear "veteran cop," the impression I get is simply that he's been on the force a long time, not that he's retired. I assume in that case, he'd have been described as a "retired cop."

Yeah...you're right. Plus he had an DC police walkie-talkie.
posted by ericb at 2:12 PM on December 20, 2009


"S'up"

"Hey. Whatcha doin'?"

"Nothing, you?"

"Nuddin. You wanna get on Metafilter and get our hate on?"

"Gimmee a second to get my righteous indignation on and I'm in!"


"Ready, let's hit up this Cophatejizzfest."
posted by ob at 2:13 PM on December 20, 2009


hipsters should have gone to have their snowball fight in the PARK that's just a block away from there. but no, it's not hipster if you don't do it where everyone else can see you. the hipster sense of entitlement leads them to believe that they can do whatever they want in public spaces.
posted by yarly at 2:13 PM on December 20, 2009


Somebody rubbed a kitten on my face once. I laughed. It shot me. Goddamn kitten. At least I got a profile picture out of it.

And, I've got a photo of the culprit!
posted by ericb at 2:16 PM on December 20, 2009


localnewsfilter.
posted by the cuban at 2:35 PM on December 20, 2009


the hipster sense of entitlement leads them to believe that they can do whatever they want in public spaces.

Totally. Damn those hipsters with their complicated shoes and their brandishing of handguns! OH WAIT
posted by Sys Rq at 2:38 PM on December 20, 2009




Man, 45 seconds in on the reason clip, someone beans that guy right in the head while he's holding the gun and everyone's seen it and talking about it.
posted by delmoi at 2:47 PM on December 20, 2009


localnewsfilter.

Lemme see. BBC. CNN. Fox News. NY Daily News, etc.

Yeah -- only the locals would be interested in the story/event.
posted by ericb at 2:48 PM on December 20, 2009


Someone tosses a bit of snow, which accidentally strikes your
ARMOURED PERSONNEL CARRIER


An HMMWV, not to mention an H3, which is based on a the chassis of a light pick-up truck, is not a an ARMOURED PERSONNEL CARRIER, dumbass.
posted by Snyder at 3:11 PM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


True. It is, however, suitably armoured against snow.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:23 PM on December 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


I pay my taxes, I expect my local law enforcement officers to beat teenagers early and often. It's the only way they learn.

Why start so late? Tase them when before they get to preschool. It's the only way they learn who the tough guys are.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:39 PM on December 20, 2009


An HMMWV, not to mention an H3, which is based on a the chassis of a light pick-up truck, is not a an ARMOURED PERSONNEL CARRIER, dumbass.

1. If you ever get the urge to call someone a dumbass (or dipshit, asshole, shithead, whatever) around here, reconsider posting the comment entirely. This isn't Something Awful or YouTube. I'm sure I've done it here in the past, and if I looked back at an instance of doing it, I wouldn't be justified either. I keep this in mind while posting these days.

2. I got the impression that the "ARMOURED PERSONNEL CARRIER" bit was a description of the Hummer mindset and not a literal description of the vehicle. I could be wrong, of course, but taking literal interpretations of everything tends to make me more likely to be wrong than considering otherwise, I've found.
posted by Mikey-San at 3:43 PM on December 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


localnewsfilter

Isn't most news local to someone?
posted by Hicksu at 3:53 PM on December 20, 2009


I don't see anything wrong with this being discussed outside of the local D.C. news. A cop pulled a gun on some people having a snowball fight in a public space. I don't mean to sound like a cop-hater, but this is the kind of thing that should get mentioned on the national level. Cops are supposed to have more restraint than this, given what we entrust them to do and carry. When they fuck up, it's important.
posted by Mikey-San at 4:00 PM on December 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Whenever anarchists come up I always feel the urge to make a bunch of lame jokes questioning how they ever manage to organize anything. They aren't funny jokes, but in my mind there's a image of a bunch of tidy, polite anarchists with name tags, exchanging contact information, and checking their day planners ... it amuses me. They have conferences and stuff, you know... picture it...Anarchists...

It only stays funny if you never really learn anything about anarchism.
posted by ServSci at 4:09 PM on December 20, 2009


jenkinsEar: FWIW, the second cop on the scene seems to have displayed professionalism and kept his shit together despite being confronted by a (justifiably) hostile crowd and a colleague who was attempting to incite a riot. Rather than blindly back the detective, it seems as though actually acted to defuse the situation and make sure nobody got hurt.


Absolutely; they were the absolute model of good policing and good humans. It just re-enforces yet again what I believe is one of the primary problems in policing today: The failure to more aggressively get rid of the assholes. That one anger-management-impaired cop on a power-trip is undoing the good work of all the other cops there. Never mind the moral, ethical or legal issues, they should be canning these idiots on the basis of bad public relations alone. If I -- unjustifiably -- went off on a customer in a meeting, I would not be long for my job. I don't see why he should be any different.
posted by Bovine Love at 5:33 PM on December 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


in my mind there's a image of a bunch of tidy, polite anarchists with name tags, exchanging contact information, and checking their day planners ... it amuses me.

Anarchism is a political philosophy that favors bottom up organizing, direct democracy, and obsessing about hierarchies. I understand why you might find the image funny, because the popular conception of anarchists is a nihilistic bomb throwers, but almost every anarchist I have known has had dayplanners or the equivalent, as you have to be really organized because there are the coop meetings, the Anti-Racist Action meetings, the Anarchist Black Cross meetings, the infoshop meetings, and, of course, roller disco.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:33 PM on December 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


it's not hipster if you don't do it where everyone else can see you

But they were throwing ironic snowballs, that makes it ok, can't you see that? Or maybe they were throwing the snowballs ironically, I get confused by hipsterism sometimes. All I know for sure is that it involves a total misunderstanding of "irony", '70s porn mustaches, drinking PBR and smoking Parliments. Oh, and fixed gear bikes, can't forget the fixies.
posted by MikeMc at 5:39 PM on December 20, 2009


Don't fuck with strangers - they just might ruin your fucking day,week,year,life

I knew I forgot something today! I forgot to be absolutely terrified of every other human being on earth!


There's a great leap between "don't fuck with strangers" and "be terrified of everyone." It's similar to confusing "don't eat food you find on the street" and "don't eat anything because it could kill you." Sure, that found food might be fine, but maybe someone left it there because it was rotten.

Also, I really should check the Google Ads when I want a laugh at computer-generated content.

Ads by Google: Gun Show / New Years Parties DC / Free Wine Washington DC
"Don't Bring a Gun to a Snowball Fight."
So, I should bring a gun to a New Years party instead? Or maybe drink when I get my gun?
posted by filthy light thief at 6:04 PM on December 20, 2009


But they were throwing ironic snowballs, that makes it ok, can't you see that?

And the cop was brandishing his weapon ironically. Jesus, do I have to spell everything out for you people?

Now that I think about it, that is the only way his actions would make any kind of sense. Whoa.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:06 PM on December 20, 2009


Astro Zombie: almost every anarchist I have known has had dayplanners

Anarchists are the only group of people I know who fetishize their dayplanners. I've never known anything like it. They have really elaborate ones and are really fastidious about putting every last little thing in there.

This doesn't go for every anarchist and I also know other left-wing radicals who have a similar connection to their dayplanners, but it seems especially prevalent among anarchists.
posted by Kattullus at 6:07 PM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


OH...I wish I had been the guy he dragged out of the crowd, shoved into the street and yelled at for a bit. I have always wanted a Hummer and a city block. Cause when my lawyer was finished with this Chickenshit, no-dick punk cop I would own both.
posted by tomb at 6:08 PM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Uhh, guys, cops pulling a gun is not something that is excusable because they are "hot under the collar." In fact, it's REALLY important that cops DON'T pull their guns just because they are "hot under the collar." It's kind of like, lesson one in cop school. We let them carry guns because they are trained enough not to just pull a gun when they are "hot under the collar."

Riiight! That's what tazers are for.
posted by notreally at 6:31 PM on December 20, 2009


ericb Yeah...you're right. Plus he had an DC police walkie-talkie.

It's a "portable" not a "walkie-talkie". Christ.
posted by mlis at 6:32 PM on December 20, 2009


The GREAT thing about posts like this is we always find more evidence of how the world was made, and yes, it's cop apologists all the way doooooooooown....
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 6:33 PM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Anarchists are the only group of people I know who fetishize their dayplanners.

I'm sooooo going to have to reexamine my notion of what an anarchist is.
posted by MikeMc at 6:54 PM on December 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


OH...I wish I had been the guy he dragged out of the crowd, shoved into the street and yelled at for a bit. I have always wanted a Hummer and a city block. Cause when my lawyer was finished with this Chickenshit, no-dick punk cop I would own both.

You seem to have a rather naïve view of the justice system. You don't win lawsuits on the basis of how self-righteousness you feel. And they give a lot of leeway to police.
posted by delmoi at 10:01 PM on December 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sorry. I really meant to imply that I (as in me) would have had trouble remaining placid if some twerps were yelling "fuck you pigs" in my face. This is why I am not a cop.

Artful Codger, at this point I'm also hoping you're not a bus driver, postal employee, school teacher, member of the armed services, crossing guard, ...
posted by IAmBroom at 10:38 PM on December 20, 2009


OH...I wish I had been the guy he dragged out of the crowd, shoved into the street and yelled at for a bit. I have always wanted a Hummer and a city block. Cause when my lawyer was finished with this Chickenshit, no-dick punk cop I would own both.

What are you, ten years old?
posted by aught at 6:15 AM on December 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


A black eye for gun owners/users indeed.
posted by winks007 at 6:53 AM on December 21, 2009


Here's the most accurate and comprehensive coverage of it so far:

Today Show


Thanks Meredith!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:56 AM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I so thought you were being sarcastic, Potomac Avenue, but that's actually a very good overview. Go American TV news, you still have shreds of quality left after all!
posted by Kattullus at 7:43 AM on December 21, 2009


Worth pointing out that the cop clearly gets hit with a snowball to the face at 46 seconds into this video

And hopefully the perpetrator will now go to prison.
posted by jock@law at 8:04 AM on December 21, 2009


How is hitting an armed man with a snowball the kind of crime that gets you sent to prison? (note: the man hadn't identified himself as a police officer at the time)
posted by Kattullus at 8:10 AM on December 21, 2009


Two points: (1) Hurling projectiles at someone is assault. Assaulting a police officer is a felony. The people who were throwing snowballs at moving vehicles were engaging in acts of violence that may or may not have had a likelihood of causing death or serious injury - without more information about how many snowballs, hitting where on the vehicle, etc., I don't know. But it wasn't okay behavior and they should all be locked up.

(2) The police officer should probably not have been so quick to draw his sidearm, though it seems as though he was assaulted personally after stepping outside the vehicle. A crowd of several hundred people throwing things at a police officer that could injure him or momentarily blind him could conceivably reach the point where drawing a weapon was appropriate. I'm sure internal affairs will conduct an investigation, as well they should. Absent any specific knowledge to the contrary, I will have to assume that the appropriate action will be taken at the conclusion of that investigation.
posted by jock@law at 8:14 AM on December 21, 2009


At the risk of being hit with a fusillade of snowballs or shot...

The snowball throwers were assholes. The cop was an asshole.

Glad nobody was hurt.
posted by Splunge at 8:31 AM on December 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Ah, I see now jock@law. I missed the part of the video where several hundred people threw 'things' at the police officer. Yeah, he was totally justified in that case.
posted by Bovine Love at 8:50 AM on December 21, 2009


A crowd of several hundred people doing anything, including sitting quietly, sleeping, being anaesthetized, or lying comatose could conceivably rise up at any moment and descend upon a brave officer of the law in cannibalistic fury.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:58 AM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


My favorite quote from the first video after Det. Baylor had drawn his gun:

"What are you going to do, shoot the fucking sky?"
posted by schleppo at 9:05 AM on December 21, 2009


The people who were throwing snowballs at moving vehicles were engaging in acts of violence.... and they should all be locked up.

*golf clap*

Masterful trolling, sir. Really first-rate stuff.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:37 AM on December 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


    Wouldn't a DC detective have to be on the take to be able to afford to drive a Hummer?
If he's on the take and the best he can get is a hummer (H2,H3) worth around $15k then hes not working with the right gangsters. Its not like a hummer costs much these days - you can't give them away in most regions due to the cost of fuel and the expiration of the tax credit.
posted by offtheroad at 10:54 AM on December 21, 2009


The police officer should probably not have been so quick to draw his sidearm, though it seems as though he was assaulted personally after stepping outside the vehicle.

The only time it's justified to draw your firearm is if it's justified to threaten to shoot somebody. At one point, in your opinion, does throwing a snowball at someone justify getting shot?
posted by empath at 11:02 AM on December 21, 2009


MSNBC is reporting that Detective Baylor has been put on desk duty pending the investigation.
posted by ericb at 1:24 PM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


DC Police Chief Slams Officer Over Gun at Snowball Fight
“The city's police chief slammed a veteran detective Monday for pulling a gun during a mass snowball fight that had been advertised on Twitter.

Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said she watched video clips from the confrontation and has no doubt the off-duty detective pulled his gun after snowballs hit his personal car 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 after the videos made the rounds on YouTube. ‘In no way should he have handled the situation in this manner.’

Lanier said the detective, whom she did not identify, did not deny the accusations. He is on desk duty until an investigation is complete.

Hundreds of people gathered for the snowball fight on a major street after organizers used social networks such as Twitter to advertise it.

One video posted on YouTube showed a man holding what appears to be a gun in the snowy street. Another video shows the same man telling people he is ‘Detective Baylor’ and he pulled his gun because he was hit by snowballs.

At one point, the crowd begins to chant: ‘Don't bring a gun to a snowball fight!’

Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham told reporters Monday that the detective's badge and weapon have been withdrawn. He said the detective has more than 25 years of experience and a good reputation.

Newsham said the internal affairs division wants to complete its investigation as quickly as possible.

‘We have to put the whole incident into context,’ he said.

There could be a recommendation to discipline the detective, which could range from a reprimand to removal, he said.

Police have at least two videos of the incident, and Newsham said there could be more as the footage shows other people with cell phones and cameras. Police are working to obtain any additional material and will continue to speak to witnesses. He asked people to contact police if they have more footage.

There were no arrests, he said.

The videos also show a uniformed police officer holding his gun by his side before holstering it. Police said in a statement Sunday that he was responding to a call about an armed man, acted appropriately and did not point his weapon at anyone.

Newsham praised the work of other officers who arrived at the scene and de-escalated the situation.

He called the incident ‘very disappointing.’

‘It does bring a negative light’ on the department, he said, and detracts from the work of hundreds of officers who helped people in the snow and directed traffic.”
No word yet if Chief Lanier is going to charge the snowballers for "assaulting a police officer...a felony."
posted by ericb at 2:50 PM on December 21, 2009


Washington Post:
“Police said initially that the detective had not flashed his weapon. On Sunday, the officer was placed on desk duty after Twitter, blogs and YouTube appeared to show otherwise.

If the final investigation shows the officer pulled his weapon after being pelted with snowballs, D.C. Assistant Chief Pete Newsham, head of the investigative services bureau, said that ‘would not be a situation in which a member [of the force] would be justified.’

‘We have to see what the entire circumstance was,’ Newsham said Sunday. ‘But just a snowball fight, not in my mind. That doesn't seem a situation where we would pull out a service weapon.’

The snowball fight was the brainchild of Yousef Ali, a 25-year-old former Apple Genius and aspiring ‘rock star’ who is forging a career in media and technology. In an interview Sunday, Ali said, he was inspired to start the snowball fight by a friend's Facebook status and used a dormant personal blog, http://www.futuremagining.com/?p=3, and extensive Twitter promotion to expand the participant list.

With Ali's nonstop efforts, the event was making the cyber rounds. Even the D.C. Department of Transportation seemed to embrace it, Tweeting on Saturday soon after the fight began: ‘SNOW UPDATE as advertised, there is a large snowball battle at 14th and U. Keep it safe.’”
posted by ericb at 3:01 PM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Masterful trolling, sir. Really first-rate stuff.

You can call it whatever you want. I just hope that if and when you ever do it, I or one of my friends get the pleasure of putting you behind bars.
posted by jock@law at 4:05 PM on December 21, 2009


You can call it whatever you want. I just hope that if and when you ever do it, I or one of my friends get the pleasure of putting you behind bars.

You should really be embarrassed for posting juvenile shit like that here.
posted by empath at 4:13 PM on December 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


How, exactly, is it juvenile to take pride in removing dangerous people from society for a period of time?
posted by jock@law at 4:14 PM on December 21, 2009


If those people were dangerous, I am one bad-ass mother fucker.

I'm gonna go find me some ninjas and totally fuck up their shit.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:18 PM on December 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


I know you think you're being clever and whatever, but it's perfectly obvious to anyone who's driven in inclement weather -- especially around people who don't have experience driving in inclement weather -- that reducing visibility and distracting drivers is a dangerous thing. So go ahead and defend throwing snowballs at passing cars in a snowstorm in DC. It only makes you look like a fool.
posted by jock@law at 7:12 PM on December 21, 2009


You can call it whatever you want. I just hope that if and when you ever do it, I or one of my friends get the pleasure of putting you behind bars.

Good luck storming our snow fort, copper!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:33 PM on December 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Kattullus: "Anarchists are the only group of people I know who fetishize their dayplanners."

To wit: the Slingshot.
posted by mwhybark at 7:51 PM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I knew I forgot something today! I forgot to be absolutely terrified of every other human being on earth!
There's a great leap between "don't fuck with strangers" and "be terrified of everyone."
here

I know, to speak to, maybe fifty people in the city I live in - of 1.4 million people. I think the great majority of people around me are strangers. So, the people who are not going to 'ruin my day, week, life' as the OP put it basically become a rounding error. The leap just dosen't seem so great IMO.
posted by Orb2069 at 10:56 PM on December 21, 2009


How, exactly, is it juvenile to take pride in removing dangerous people from society for a period of time?

Because it's indulging in an adolescent vengeance fantasy, and ruining lives to do it. It's the sort of mentality that sees drug addicts prosecuted, jailed, and forever marked as a worthless junkie instead of getting treatment and rehabilitation. Removing dangerous people from society? What the fuck purpose does that serve? If that's all you're trying to do, you turn out people at least as dangerous as when they went in, if not significantly more so thanks to all the other such people they've been spending all their time with, and for bonus points the anger that comes with being subjected to our dehumanizing prison system.

You are taking pride in making the world a worse place.
posted by kafziel at 11:04 PM on December 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Jock@Law: You can call it whatever you want. I just hope that if and when you ever do it, I or one of my friends get the pleasure of putting you behind bars tasering the shit out of you and making you squeal like a low-life dirtbag who would dare question the authority of the police to beat your ass anyhow we see fit and then arresting you on trumped up BS like disorderly and assaulting an officer, just for fun. No put that snowball down before I shoot you.....

There ya go, fixed that for you.
posted by Skygazer at 11:16 PM on December 21, 2009


Escalate!
Escalate!
All you motherfuckers gonna do is Escalate!

He throw some snow
whip out your gatt
he gonna blow
your head off splat
posted by tehloki at 2:13 AM on December 22, 2009


How, exactly, is it juvenile to take pride in removing dangerous people from society for a period of time?

If these people are your idea of "dangerous people" who need to be removed from society for an unspecified period of time, then your world will be one that will be quite sparsely populated only with smug anal retentives such as yourself.
posted by leftcoastbob at 7:25 AM on December 22, 2009


He does have a point though. If you let some dangerous person throw some snowballs at someone and get away with it, he just gets emboldened and the next thing you know he's getting sent up for life because he pissed on a Chevrolet logo.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:41 AM on December 22, 2009


I find it interesting that I have been unable to find anybody speaking with authority about whether the vehicle was a Hummer H2 or H3.

Not that it really makes any difference, but people who are experts on Hummers (because they like them and can tell the difference) don't seem to want to comment on this incident.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 11:34 AM on December 22, 2009


So i got the inside scoop on the anarchy stuff.

Apparently the black flag was a friend of mine who tied her black pillowcase to a swiffer broom handle, and the "No War But Snowball War" was brought by 5 queer activists/anarchists. That was basically the extent of the anarchist war protesting contingent.
posted by empath at 1:03 PM on December 22, 2009


Whoo-boy.

DC police union blasts chief's snowball fight slam
"The head of the Washington, D.C., police union is decrying the police chief's public criticism of a detective for pulling a gun during a snowball fight.

...D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier on Monday called the officer's actions 'totally inappropriate.'

Union chief Kristopher Baumann said Tuesday it's questionable whether Detective Michael Baylor will get a fair and unbiased investigation by the department. He said Lanier should wait for the investigation to close before passing judgment."
posted by ericb at 2:47 PM on December 22, 2009


i don't blame him for that, that's his job.
posted by empath at 2:51 PM on December 22, 2009


tasering the shit out of you and ... beat[ing] your ass anyhow we see fit

smug anal retentives such as yourself

indulging in an adolescent vengeance fantasy

No, actually. I am on record as being pretty strongly against vengeful impulses in the criminal justice system. In a regulatory infraction case, I have been in a contest of wills with a judge over his wanting to sentence based on the underlying violent crime. I won.

But go ahead and destroy the level of discourse on Metafilter by assuming you know other people's character.

As a substantive point, what on earth makes you think that assault misdemeanants get sent to prison? In this particular case, possibly, because assaulting a police officer is a felony in most jurisdictions; however, even that's unlikely since (as I now know) it seems unlikely that anyone knew he was a police officer at the time. I think it might be useful, in a larger discussion of the good and bad parts of the criminal justice system - a discussion which would be nice to have and which could maybe result in the good and intelligent people of Metafilter of ALL perspectives being enlightened - if we were to get a little background knowledge. Putting someone in county lockup for a couple days to think about why what they did was a bad idea is probably not going to make them more violent.
posted by jock@law at 3:26 PM on December 22, 2009


Clarification: Yes, I am backtracking. When I said the perpetrator should go to prison, above, I was mistakenly under the impression that the officer had identified himself as such. While I agree that assaulting a police officer, because it has system-breaking effects, is a much more serious crime, I don't think a person who is unaware that the person is a police officer should be punished as though he was aware. Apologies for the confusion.
posted by jock@law at 3:37 PM on December 22, 2009


i fail to see how this is anything more then local news

Polismannen drog vapen under snöbollskrig.
posted by ericb at 6:03 AM on December 23, 2009


Yeah, this was on Icelandic TV news as well.
posted by Kattullus at 6:21 AM on December 23, 2009


Daniel Schramm who is the person Detective Baylor grabbed and detained at his Hummer writes about his experience in the Washigton Post.
posted by ericb at 8:12 AM on December 23, 2009




VIDEO: Fox News Spins Snowball Fight Incident So That It's Interesting.
posted by ericb at 11:15 AM on December 23 [+] [!]


They have no shame.

Don't bring Fox News to a snowball fight...
posted by Skygazer at 12:34 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


A man pulled a gun on some kids in Oregon who were throwing snowballs at cars. He was arrested and charged with four counts of menacing. He was not a cop, though.
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:33 PM on January 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Reason has a followup article on the incident, which includes a link to a local TV report suggesting that the detective may lose his job.
posted by jenkinsEar at 10:33 AM on January 4, 2010


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