City Desk

Eyewitness Confirms: D.C. Cop Freaks Out Over Snowball Fight–Brandishes Gun

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According to an eyewitness, a D.C. Police detective (pictured above w/ gun) went nuts after kids pelted his Hummer with snowballs at 14th and U Streets NW this afternoon. The veteran detective got out of his car and eventually grabbed for his gun, displaying it to the crowd. He did not immediately identify himself as a police officer. He calmed down once his fellow uniformed cop arrived. Apparently, someone called 911 to report a man with gun. The snowball fight had been well hyped on Twitter. The news of the incident first broke there. We caught up with an eyewitness moments ago.

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Eyewitness Matthew Bradley tells City Desk:

"An hour ago, we showed up to see a snowball fight already in progress. Two factions along 14th Street along the intersection. It was pretty friendly, mostly OK. At one point, there was one interaction with the police that I saw. A cop got stuck in the snow. People stopped and helped him out. A couple moments later, at the intersection, heading west along U was this big maroon Hummer. A small faction of people decided to target it with snowballs. They're throwing snowballs at the Hummer. It turns out the driver of the Hummer is a detective. He gets out. He's waving a walkie talkie. It's not going well. Then he starts waving a gun. He hadn't identified himself at this point. There was a point where things cooled off a bit, more police showed up, and he identified himself at that point. The name was Det. Baylor. My guess was B-A-Y-L-O-R."

"There was a point where it got really tense. The experience for many people was snowball fight kind of fun...and then there's a guy with a gun."

Bradley says he heard that the police were responding to a 911 call for a man with a gun. The detective calmed down once his fellow cops arrived. Bradley says that he thinks the cop was a detective but is not 100 percent sure. D.C. Police later confirm that the gun-waving cop is a veteran detective.

Later in the incident, the detective goes into the crowd and grabs a man who he thinks threw a snowball at him:

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Bradley has posted more photos of the entire incident.

A video of the incident made by Chris Strohm shows the aftermath–where the officer admits he pulled his gun out:

Like so many others, Robin Bell heard about the snowball fight at 14th and U Streets NW and decided to go and check it out. He tells City Desk that prior to the incident, a cop car got stuck in the road and everybody stopped the snowball fight and helped the cop get his car out of the snow. "The crowd cheered and everybody was happy," Bell says.

Soon, though, he started hearing people shouting: "Don't bring a gun to a snowball fight!"

"Then I walked over and I saw a police officer brandishing a weapon," Bell says referring to the uniform cop. He says he didn't see the detective brandish his weapon–only the furious aftermath. He says the detective was yelling and "kind of out of control." "It was really strange to see a police officer so upset and angry over what seemed at best a misunderstanding," Bell explains. "At worst, it was some kids throwing a snowball at him."

At one point, Bell says, the detective ran into the crowd and grabbed man whom he thought might have thrown a snowball at him. Bell adds that the detective them put the individual next to his Hummer. Cops grabbed two others. All three were given warnings. "It was ridiculous because everyone was throwing snowballs," Bell says.

Via Twitter:

"Detective Baylor(sp?) hummer get hits by snowballs and he waves a gun around. Cops on radio say Det is being 'blackmailed'"

And later:

Chant from 14 & U snowball fight: "You don't bring a gun to a snowball fight." Banner: "No war but snowball war."

Prince of Petworth reports similar cop scene:

"A reader writes in about the snowball fight at 14th and U. Word on the street is that apparently it started in good fun but then someone hit a Hummer driving by belonging to a police officer and then the reader says multiple patrol cars responded."

D.C. Police Officer at the 3rd District does confirm to City Desk that the police did respond to 14th and U, refused further comment.

An officer tells me that 2D cops responded and that 3D cops assisted on the incident. An official at 2D says that officers did respond to an incident involving snowballs being thrown at a passing vehicle at 14th and U. He stated that he had not heard about an officer waving his gun around. WJLA just posted a story on the incident with video. It appears that the officer merely brandished his gun. Another uniformed officer took out his pistol.

Still not cool.

Assistant Chief Diane Groomes tells LL via e-mail:

"Hello..i am just learning of this alleged incident..we are trying to verify and get in contact with witnesses to interview...to confirm and investigate"

More video here.

Assistant Chief Peter Newsham tells LL: "There was no police pulling guns on snowball people."
Newsham described the detective as a veteran detective.

*All photos courtesy of Matthew Bradley.

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