Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

More on Bringing a Gun to a DC Snowball Fight

The video from Reason:

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A cop who pulls a gun for no reason, tries to provoke someone into assaulting him, and then shoves that person when he doesn’t take the cop’s bait?  Shocking, I tell you.  A particularly nice touch was parking in the middle of the street, and then using the fact that you can’t block the street to move the public out of ear range of what they’re doing.

Detective Baylor seems to be the guy’s name, and Washington Post says he’s on desk duty.  It’s also shocking that the police denied that he’d pulled a gun until they realized that this thing was caught on video.

(I do have a bit of sympathy for the cops called in after.  If the looks on their faces say anything, it’s “I cannot believe I’m having to defend this jackass . . .”)

Another interesting tidbit, about the promotion of the snowball fight:

With [the organizers] 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.”


Trouble in Chunnel; Continent Cut Off


HP Doesn’t Care About Black People!


  1. Warren

    Doesn’t anyone wonder how a DC cop can afford a Hummer?

  2. LFS

    Seriously, what’s with all the pants shitting hysterics? The cop’s gun is unholstered, but doesn’t point it at anybody. And the audio says that people are throwing snowballs after he arrives. You can clearly see some of them holding the snowballs and facing off with the cop. If they felt they were being threatened, they have an odd way of showing it.

    Admittedly, had a citizen done this then they would be in jail. And in DC, that would have started with having a holstered handgun, much less handling one openly.

  3. Gill Robb

    You are Right!

    All of those D.C. cops are sociopaths. Fire them all and let the thugs run the City.

    Oh, the thugs ALREADY run D.C. and BTW, that explains why a cop can afford a Hummer.

  4. MB

    With judgment like that, LFS, I hope you don’t go carrying a gun around, too. Looks like you’ve got some curious ideas about when and why it’s okay to brandish one. Not in line with the paranoid compensator stereotype *at all*.


    Gill, just go ahead and say what you mean.


    But really, guys, it’s fantastic. You can always count on assholes like you to back up cops using (or threatening to use) excessive force against citizens. Of course, you’re the same folks who get the vapors over “threats” to your “liberty” every time you’re asked to pay taxes. It’s kinda funny, really.

  5. LFS

    MB, have you been staring at me in the locker room again?

    Seriously, considering he did not point the gun at anybody, what did he do wrong? And how did he do it any “wronger” than the second cop who had an unholstered handgun? And I think you missed my point about police being given powers not available to the citizenry, such as being able to park where they damn well please and, in DC, carrying a firearm. Or do you not agree that police should have those powers?

    And btw, I do pay my taxes and am against the use of excessive force by the police. Since you are now fond of linking to and reading Reason, you might want to look up much of Radley Balko’s work on true excessive use of force by police.

  6. MB

    LFS, here’s some homework. Instead of staying in next Thursday and wondering where your life went, head out for the evening. Then find a disagreement, and insert yourself (I’m sure you can do this). Then pull out your gun (no need to point it at anyone). You will shortly get an answer to your question that will leave a greater impression than anything I could say here.

    And to give you a bit of credit you don’t deserve, I’d admit that my preference would be that most cops didn’t have guns (holstered or otherwise). But whether they do or don’t, I’m okay with them having a wider range of options for being armed than most citizens, yes.

    Also, I suspect I was reading Reason before you’d picked up your first copy of Atlas Shrugged. I’m well aware of Radley’s work, both the good stuff and the bullshit. I bet you’re thrilled with Stossel’s recent uptick in presence, there.

  7. LFS

    Chill MB. You act like you have something to prove. Fine, you’re some great political philosopher or something who has been around forever reading all sorts of discourses but for some reason can only express yourself through profanity. I get it… mad genius so frustrated that the world doesn’t see it your way. You can own that; I won’t take it from you.

    What I was trying to get you to understand is the context of the threat perceived by the officer. You knew it as a snowball fight. He rolled up on 200 people scrambling in a busy intersection while his car is getting hit with hard objects. The second cop rolled up on a black man with a gun. Just try to see through your mad progressive rage for a second.

    And by the way, I’ve never read Atlas Shrugged. Are you recommending it?

  8. MB

    Reduced to complaining about my language, LFS? On *my* site? Why even bother?

    And no, you weren’t trying to get me to understand that context. Your first comments, enshrined here (lucky you!), illustrate that pretty well. Most of your posts here have shown you to be a dishonest/not very bright* twit, and you’ve not given me any reason to think otherwise.

    And no, even with my very low regard for you, I’d not wish any of the shite that Ayn Rand has written on you. I do, in fact, have some human compassion for you. Some.

    *jury is out on the ratio, I’ll admit.

  9. Warren

    Good grief. I am a certified, NRA card-carrying gun nut, and member at the local range. My CCW license has expired, so I’m carrying openly until I can find the time to renew it. Even when it was valid, I carried openly in establishments that serve alcohol. Every once in a while, people will glance down at my gun, but that’s it. But if I were to DRAW my gun, I would be in violation of the law. I believe the legal term is “brandishing”:

    § 18.2-282. Pointing, holding, or brandishing firearm, air or gas operated weapon or object similar in appearance; penalty.

    A. It shall be unlawful for any person to point, hold or brandish any firearm or any air or gas operated weapon or any object similar in appearance, whether capable of being fired or not, in such manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another or hold a firearm or any air or gas operated weapon in a public place in such a manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another of being shot or injured. However, this section shall not apply to any person engaged in excusable or justifiable self-defense.

  10. LFS

    Warren, are you a cop? The law, especially as it relates to firearms, differs for the police. Additionally, unlike the police you have a duty to retreat. The police may opt to enforce order even by use of force. MB doesn’t seem to understand the difference between the duties of the citizenry and the responsibilities of the police.

    And good on you for open carrying in alcohol serving establishments. But then again, you’d be breaking the law otherwise. You might want to reestablish your CHP as there are benefits to having one that go beyond carrying.

    MB, I’m not complaining about your profanity. I am just sympathizing with your progressive rage condition which has reduced you to mumbling curse words. It is sad and I hope you get better soon. BTW, the bit about Ayn Rand was joke; who’s the “humorless dick” now?

  11. Warren

    WRT police officers, we have:

    B. Any police officer in the performance of his duty, in making an arrest under the provisions of this section, shall not be civilly liable in damages for injuries or death resulting to the person being arrested if he had reason to believe that the person being arrested was pointing, holding, or brandishing such firearm or air or gas operated weapon, or object that was similar in appearance, with intent to induce fear in the mind of another.

    So, no, even a police officer cannot brandish a firearm in this situation. (I am speaking of Virginia, of course. I am not familiar with DC law on these matters.)

    From what I can see, pulling out his badge, not his gun, should have been his first move.

    VA code does apply to police officers, on and off duty. The code itself specifies when police officers are exempt from particular sections of the code.

  12. LFS

    Warren, if a police officer is set upon by two individuals wielding bats, can he justifiably draw his gun and use it to deter the individuals? The answer is yes. You too would be justified if you didn’t instigate the conflict. The difference is that you have a duty to retreat if possible, where the police officer does not. In fact, the police officer can demand that the individuals drop their bats. That section of code does not say that the police can only use firearms when confronted with firearms. I’m no lawyer, but I suspect VA code does not address this and you’d have to rely on common law.

    I agree that the first thing the police officer should have done is identify himself as a police officer. And for all we know, he did do that. The video doesn’t even show the instance where he draws his gun. It just shows him holding the gun down at the ground. It also indicates that people are still throwing snowballs at him and shows individuals with snowballs at the ready. It also shows that very police officer examining the snow. It is quite possible that he perceived the threat to be much greater than just snowballs at first, and that once he figured out that it was just a snowball fight he holstered his weapon.

  13. Warren

    ANYONE “set upon by two individuals wielding bats, can… justifiably draw his gun and use it to deter the individuals.”

    Anyone set upon by individuals wielding snowballs, however, should perhaps not get out his Hummer if he is afraid of snowballs.

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