Police Officer Fired Over Questionable Confrontation, Would Have Gone Unnoticed Without YouTube Video

from the filming-police-is-a-good-thing dept

In the last couple years we've had a bunch of stories about people arrested for filming police. While it seems that more and more courts are recognizing that such filming is protected activity, there have been a few bizarre moments, including famed appeals court judge Richard Posner complaining about how allowing such filming would mean that it would actually happen.

But, as we've seen over and over again, filming police is one of the few ways to prove abuse of police power. Back in the summer of 2007, a police officer named Salvatore Rivieri in Baltimore decided to use his position to harass some skateboarding kids in Baltimore's Inner Harbor area. As part of his harassment, he took one kid's skateboard after throwing him to the ground and screaming at him. The whole thing was videotaped by another kid... and it was uploaded to YouTube a few months later:

At the very end, you hear the officer starting to ask if he's being filmed -- and notes "if I find myself on...." Given his earlier harangue, it sure sounds like he's about to warn the other kids about putting the video online, though we don't know exactly what was said. Either way, the video went online (eventually, months after the incident) and it got quite a lot of attention.

As a result of the massive publicity storm from the video going up online, Rivieri was suspended (with pay) a few days after the video went up in early 2008. More than two years later, a disciplinary panel cleared Rivieri of the most serious charges ("using excessive and unnecessary force" and "uttering discourtesies") but guilty of failing to file a report about the incident or provide the kid with a "contact receipt." The board recommended a short suspension. Instead, the police commissioner fired Rivieri, arguing that "his ability to interact effectively with the citizens of Baltimore has been seriously compromised."

Last week, a Maryland state appeals court upheld the firing (pdf and embedded below -- thanks to Eric Goldman for alerting us to the story), agreeing that the commissioner had the right to fire Rivieri.

What's most interesting in all of this, however, is that none of this would have happened if the incident hadn't been filmed and subsequently posted online. In fact, absolutely nothing did happen for many months until the video was posted online. Rather than causing problems, this video seems to have done exactly what many defenders of filming police have said all along: helped to display and call attention to abuse of power by the police, in a way that not only punishes those who did the abuse, but also which will alert other law enforcement officials to obey the limits of their profession. Judge Posner may regret that police can be filmed, but it certainly seems like a good way to keep police from engaging in the kind of harassment that they have been able to get away with for years.


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  1.  
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    MrWilson, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 9:43am

    Talk about having a stick up his ass. If he thinks being called dude is that disrespectful and warrants that kind of rage, he has more severe personal problems to deal with than skateboarding kids.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 9:44am

    This article gets the obligatory, "Fuck the police!"

     

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    Parker, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 9:45am

    Death Threats?

    Did the officer threaten to kill the kid at one point???

    I get how some people don't want to get filmed for just doing their job. But a Police Officer is a public-facing job. They should be filmed.

     

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  4.  
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    Jesse Townley (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 9:46am

    Wait a minute...

    ... Did the system just work in favor of justice?

    Fuckin' A-alright!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 9:52am

    the worst part...

    the worst part is the police board only found him at fault for not filing enough paperwork.

    WTF

    That board needs to have a citizens panel review their conduct as a board and they all need to be fired by the public they work for.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 9:53am

    Re: Wait a minute...

    no, youtube was the provider of justice. not the system.

     

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  7.  
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    WysiWyg (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 9:53am

    Sounds about right...

    Threaten to kill a 14-year old kid - loose your job two years later. Sounds about right.

    And we wonder why the police is abusing their power. Sheesh.

    And just to make everybodys day a little bit better, let me remind us all of how it's supposed to be done:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMMPV4D6cs0

     

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  8.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 9:56am

    Judge Posner needs to reconnect to the real world.
    Because of all of the cameras everywhere we are now more aware than ever that there are police who the average person would consider unfit for the job.

    This clashes with how we imagine they behave. When we have dealings with the police we expect them to be polite and ready to help. When they are going after a person who has done us wrong we want them pushing the limit to send a message.
    We try to keep them in these defined boxes all the time, and to see the truth... they are human, they have bad days, they do cross the line... ruins the stereotype we cling to.

    We talk about racial profiling being a bad thing, but do we think twice when we see someone who isn't white pulled over?
    Do we wonder if they might be pulled over for the 'serious' infraction of not fitting the stereotype we have for the race?

    We want ours rights upheld, until it slows down the commute. So many people were angry at the BART protests, and supported the cell towers being turned off... ignoring letting that power be used means it can and will be used again where it might affect more than people protesting.

    We want to feel safe on the streets, to know the police are protecting us. Then you see Tony Bologna pepper spraying women (and other cops) then running from the scene. Then a story about how he was pepper spraying men who were out of control and ran off leaving those women to set him up. Then more video showing him pepper spraying people trying to document what he had done. And still they pretend what he did wasn't that bad. The protesters had it coming, they were inconvenient.

    We give them tools so they have options to use between talking and shooting... and then are surprised they use that option at the first (and sometimes no) attempt at just talking.

    We watched a veteran take a projectile to the head, seriously injuring him. Then we see someone who is supposed to be serving and protecting wait until the crowd offering assistance to the injured man is large enough and then launches another missile into the crowd to inflict the highest amount of damage possible.

    We give them armor and high tech weaponry, and expect this will not change their approach. We need to be safer, but we miss where we are pushing them to just use the tech and not the best tools, their minds.

    The cameras are needed to show that the world is no longer idyllic Mayberry, where Sheriff Taylor just talks to the bully and fixes the problem. The Mayberry of today the town drunk might be dead, having "resisted" by being unsteady on his feet and having been tasered multiple times.

     

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    another anonymous dude, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 10:05am

    reality...

    What should be noted is the police review panels tends to always favour the police, regardless of country, and jurisdiction. They are more or less an extension of the Police Union. Its only until the investigation and review is made "independent" that the truth can be exposed.

     

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    BeachBumCowboy (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 10:06am

    Expected

    The final results are expected. As more of these videos get put online, and as election cycles roll around, the officials that are actually dependent on the public for their jobs will start to take action.

    It will become increasingly hard for police chiefs and sheriffs to stay in office when their election opponents have free video footage of the behavior that are tolerated and encouraged within the police departments. Thus we will start to see chiefs to become even more proactive concerning their officers behavior by A) encouraging officers to not be filmed doing something questionable, and B) suspend and fire any officer that does get caught.

     

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    Dixon Steele (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 10:15am

    To serve and protect

    The job is to "serve and protect." Yes, doing it well is incredibly difficult and good police officers are deserving of respect, but somewhere along the lines, too many cops have forgotten that they're the servants, not the kings. Bullying a 14-year-old for the pretty-much-involuntary tick of saying "dude" is not part of the job description.
    Gross.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 10:17am

    Re: Expected

    You're forgetting C) Take harsher steps to punish and silence those who are filming police

     

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  13.  
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    Greg G (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 10:18am

    Re: the worst part...

    I had the same reaction. Seriously, review board, WTF are you thinking?

     

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    WysiWyg (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 10:19am

    Re: reality...

    Then again, there is a big difference with taking the word of a policeofficer over someone they arrested and see this kind of video-evidence and just go "ah well". I mean, they should at least try to pretend that they're honest. Right?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 10:20am

    'using excessive and unnecessary force" and "uttering discourtesies'. how the hell the disciplinary panel let him get away with the 'more serious charges' just shows how biased the disciplinary committee is as well! it's obvious he used excessive force than was required on a 14 year old. if there was any disrespecting of a police officer's position and badge, it was by him! he should have been fired a lot earlier!

     

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  16.  
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    DannyB (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 10:26am

    Re: Re: Wait a minute...

    This is why the MPAA want to shutter YouTube, Google and indeed, the entire intartubes.

    YouTube makes it too easy to prove wrongdoing.

    Google makes it too easy for common people to find information about things formerly controlled by gatekeepers. (Real Estate, Used Cars, etc).

    Them intartubes allow common people to (gasp!) communicate with one another, infringing upon corporations' privacy. They can even communicate about companies that make poor quality or unsafe products. Or worse, companies that make products which are both poor quality and unsafe. Are no corporate secrets safe anymore?

    Clearly we need SOPA. SOPA by any other name would still be as effective.

    Skateboarding should be illegal! If those kids skateboard, the next thing you know they'll be on my lawn!

     

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  17.  
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    An Officers Widow, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 10:28am

    While I am not defending the actions of any police officer that abuses their power, I feel that I at least have to point out one thing to everyone that tends to trounce the police when such rulings/decisions are made after videos like this are released. That being is that not all of these videos provide all the context relevant to a given incident. No matter what, there will always be stuff that is not caught on film, be it from before the camera was turned on at that specific incident, or from previous incidents.

    Please note that as I said, I am not defending the actions of police officers that abuse their powers. Nor am I saying that they should not be filmed (especially since such films are one of the best ways to show that they're abusing their powers). I am simply trying to remind people that unfortunately these films could be considered only parts of potentially larger stories. After all, there have been a few incidents (which tend not to be as big news makers as these when the police get in major trouble because of large fines/officers being fired/etc.) where prior to filming people have done stuff to provoke reactions from the police, and then only after the provocation has happened and the police are reacting to it does the camera start rolling.

    Also, on a semi-related note, also please remember that while the bad examples of being a police officer that have been caught on film may may be high profile, they are not always the norm (and should never really be considered the norm under ideal circumstances). After all, there are good officers that go the extra mile to help people who tend to not get any recognition, and there are also ones who could just be considered 'regular joes' who do their jobs effectively and generally are good people.

    Sorry to spam people with this, but these days it does feel like all we see are the 'bad' officers, or stories that tend to make officers overall look bad or ineffective.

    And again, just so I don't get jumped on, I am not defending any abuse of police power, nor am I saying that the police should not be filmed.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 10:32am

    Police should be fired for arresting people who film them.

     

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  19.  
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    xenomancer (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Wait a minute...

    Clearly we need SOPA. SOPA by any other name would still be as effective.
    To otherwise paraphrase Shakespear: Is a pile of rotting elephant shit not a monument of decay'd feces by any other name?

     

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  20.  
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    Irving, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 10:45am

    Re: To serve and protect

    "good police officers are deserving of respect"

    Yes, both of them!

     

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  21.  
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    latin angel (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 10:46am

    Re: the worst part...

    The Board need to be filmed doing its ruling!!

     

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  22.  
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    DannyB (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 10:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Wait a minute...

    But it would still smell as sweet.

     

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  23.  
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    ChrisB (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 10:49am

    Re:

    If you don't want to defend cops, I will. I have many cops as cousins and in-laws (but I'm in Canada, so it may be slightly different).

    They have a soul-sucking job. They deal with the absolute worst of society: violent drunks, addicts, domestic abuse, child abuse. These people are con artist, and are used to dealing with the police. It is easy for cops to become cynical because 90%, the people they are dealing with are lying sacks of crap. When they deal with the last 10%, who really are innocent or not breaking the law, mistakes can be made.

    They go into situation and have no idea who is the bad guy, who is a spectator, and who just wants to help. If some punk has a camera in their face, they don't know if someone is creeping up behind them. Filming a cop from a respectable distance is fine. When a cop is try to figure out what is going on, if you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

    The idea cops should be held to a "higher standard" ignores the fact they are in a different situation. Has anyone got mad in traffic and cut someone off, or otherwise done something dangerous? Of course. And that is during a 1/2 hour drive to work. Imagine a 12 hour shift where people are testing your patience all day. Most cops lose their temper way less than you or I would in their situation.

     

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  24.  
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    DannyB (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 10:51am

    Re: Sounds about right...

    > Threaten to kill a 14-year old kid - loose your job two years later.



    To paraphrase scooby doo. . .

    . . . and I'd have gotten away with it too if it weren't for you pesky kids and your YouTube!

     

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  25.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 10:51am

    Re: the worst part...

    Let's see now...the video shows you being disrespectful to the public, but that doesn't matter. BUTTTTTT!!!! I see you didn't dot your T's and cross your I's...that's it! Officers, throw him to the wolves!

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 11:04am

    Re: Re:

    Holding the cops to a higher standard isn't ignoring the fact that they are in a different situation, it's because of it.

     

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  27.  
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    Dr Evil, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 11:08am

    i'm not MAN

    "I'm not man, I'm not dude"
    he IS a little man
    mistakenly thinks his badge makes him bigger.

    sad.

     

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  28.  
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    Jesse Townley (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 11:12am

    Re: Re:

    The reason they're held to a higher standard is because, like the character Judge Dredd, they ARE the law.

    They have the power of immediate life and death, and can seriously screw up someone's life, so when it's appropriate (say, catching a rapist or murderer) they go forward and do their job.

    The problem happens when it's *not* appropriate, as in this case.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 11:14am

    Re: Re:

    Absolutely everything you say might be true...

    However, no one snatched them from their little cribs and sold them off into cop slavery. If you don't like the job quit and do something else.

    Here's the issue though, Every single one of the inbred degenerates that put on a badge do it because it's the only way they can continue to relive that magic they felt beating up the little kids in grade school.

    If any cop wasn't just crap wrapped in skin they'd be demanding that they be recorded 100% of the time not scurrying under rocks like cockroaches and rodents and trying to keep the cameras as far away as possible.

    What's that line they constantly spout "If you've go nothing to hide..." So clearly since they're dead set on NOT being recorded undoubtedly they have much to hide and be ashamed of.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 11:24am

    Re:

    Out of a cannon. Into the sun.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 11:25am

    Firing was not enough

    He should have been (a) prosecuted (b) sued and (c) blacklisted from ALL public service for life, as he's clearly a psychopath with serious anger issues -- there is no way that he should ever be allowed anywhere near the public. And you know who should have been loudly advocating for all three of those?

    His fellow officers. If they're truly serious about "protect and serve", then they should be leading the charge to oust pigs like this guy. (Yes, "pig". He doesn't deserve to be called a "police officer".) But where is that outcry? Where are the calls from other police officers to have this guy turned into an example?

    *crickets*

     

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  32.  
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    DictionaryUser, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 11:29am

    The kid is right calling him a dude.

    He also dosn't know what "dude" means. It is a wester US term for someone from the east how vactions on a Ranch. Or a man who is overly concerned about his cloths and appearance (Badge and uniform comment). Not a cowboy who works on one.
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dude

     

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  33.  
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    Saska, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 11:38am

    Re: Re:

    "They have a soul-sucking job. They deal with the absolute worst of society: violent drunks, addicts, domestic abuse, child abuse."

    I totally agree, they do have a tough job. However the argument can also be made that they are free to chose another profession and probably should if they cannot handle acting professional, with both courtesy and honesty. The fact that they deal with the dregs of society should never be used as an excuse to lower ones self to those same standards. Be the better person and rise above it! If more police officers acted the way most people expect them to act, they may find their job just a bit easier to do.

    Most of my encounters with officers have been quite good fwiw. In fact I would even say some of them were quite pleasant. The only time it wasn't was when I was chased all the way home in the middle of the night by an off duty cop who had just gotten off of work and was in a very foul mood. She screamed at me for a good five minutes over something utterly trivial. To her credit she phoned me the next day to explain her outburst and apologize, to which I thanked her for doing so.

    PS: My brother-in-law is named ChrisB and lives in Canada. :-)

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 11:57am

    Re: Re:

    By mistakes do you mean a group of Henderson police beating an epileptic on the side of the road after they pulled him over and detained him? Yeah, I can see how that can happen.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 11:59am

    His Reply

    There is another video on YouTube that is a radio interview with him where he says that the video doesn't show everything, like him speaking to the kids mother on the phone, giving him his skateboard back, etc. He said he didn't want the kid to have a Juvenile record for skateboarding.

    I don't know having a skateboarding charge on your record might be as effect at keeping you from being drafted (if/when it comes back) as the famous littering charge in "Alice's Restaurant".

     

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  36.  
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    California Uber Alles, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 12:06pm

    Police Truck

    Tonight's the night that we got the truck
    We're goin' downtown gonna beat up drunks
    Your turn to drive I'll bring the beer
    It's the late, late shift no one to fear
    And ride, ride how we ride
    We ride, lowride

    It's roundup time where the good whores meet
    Gonna drag one screaming off the street

     

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  37.  
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    Cowardly Anonymous, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMMPV4D6cs0

    Re-posting this link from earlier, as it is quite relevant. Watch through to the end and you'll see a cop volunteering his image, name and badge number to a camera after verifying that he is being filmed. He also didn't seem to notice the camera at first and his demeanor isn't altered by it in the slightest.

    There are some cops that actually are looking to protect and serve. There are also some cops that are bullies. We don't have any substantial statistics, and we clearly need significant improvements to the system used to check the bullies.

    The police as a whole aren't evil, but there are severe issues in the current state of oversight of the profession.

     

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  38.  
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    Rhett, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 12:23pm

    2 years later?

    I agree with the comments...youtube got him fired, not the system. The system waited 2 years...why? What other evidence came forward? In the meantime, Baltimore had to pay to keep this idiot employed until they could fire him. Sad.

     

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  39.  
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    Cowardly Anonymous, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 12:24pm

    Re: His Reply

    None of which excuses him coming into physical contact with the boy and wrestling him to the ground. He had no cause to seize the skateboard and that is the sole apparent reason for the action, his response not withstanding. That was clearly out of line and violent.

     

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  40.  
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    Justin Singleton, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Death Threats?

    Yup ... I heard it too. He threatened to kill the kid.

    And yes, this is a public official and so everything he does while on duty should be public knowledge (barring any covert operations, of course).

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 12:30pm

    Re: the worst part...

    Those responsible for the sacking need to be sacked and replaced with llamas.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re:

    I disagree with almost everything you have said.

    "They have a soul-sucking job."

    Saying the job is hard does not excuse police abuses of power. That's like saying because the president's job is hard it's OK if he bombs Chicago every now and then. It's exactly BECAUSE of the job they have, that they need to be held to a higher standard of accountability.

    "It is easy for cops to become cynical because 90%, the people they are dealing with are lying sacks of crap."

    I completely disagree with your disdain for the general public. THE PEOPLE THE POLICE ARE DEALING WITH ARE US, THE PUBLIC! Yes, some of the people of this country are part of what might be considered the criminal underbelly, but I don't think it's anywhere near 90%. Yes, officers do need to stay safe and protect themselves from people that might do them harm, but part of the reason those people have negative, possibly even violent reactions to their interactions with the police, is because they have learned through experience that the police only ever hurt them. Perhaps if the police weren't such bullies, even those kinds of people would be more willing to interact peacefully, even positively, with the officers who have sworn to protect them.

    "If some punk has a camera in their face, they don't know if someone is creeping up behind them. ... When a cop is try to figure out what is going on, if you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem."

    So... because you are being recorded, you can't turn your head? Sorry, but I fail to see how being recorded impacts one's ability to maintain awareness of their surroundings, regardless of the distances involved. As I mentioned before, officers do need to take precautions to stay safe, but they must also be held accountable to the will of the public AT ALL TIMES, even at times when their use of physical force is necessary and justified. The people who record these images and relay them to the public are always part of the solution.

    "The idea cops should be held to a "higher standard" ignores the fact they are in a different situation. ... Most cops lose their temper way less than you or I would in their situation."

    As I said before, the difficulty of the job does not excuse abuse. While I can understand that the stresses of the job can get to even the best of officers at times, (they're not machines after all) we can't just say it's OK if a really good officer puts a little boy in a choke hold every once in a while. We simply need to look at individual situations on a case by case basis, and make our determination from there. The people who record the police, are helping us with this task.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This gem from below sums up everything you need to know..

    "He should have been (a) prosecuted (b) sued and (c) blacklisted from ALL public service for life, as he's clearly a psychopath with serious anger issues -- there is no way that he should ever be allowed anywhere near the public. And you know who should have been loudly advocating for all three of those?

    His fellow officers. If they're truly serious about "protect and serve", then they should be leading the charge to oust pigs like this guy. (Yes, "pig". He doesn't deserve to be called a "police officer".) But where is that outcry? Where are the calls from other police officers to have this guy turned into an example?

    *crickets*"

    In general the attitude of the police is one of disdain to the public and to protect "the badge" above all else. Until we see them trying to clean up their own house they should be held to the low opinion they've more than earned.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I have to disagree with all your points...

    I don't like slapping that bitch at home around. It's just that after a hard day and all the stress when you get home and dinner's not on the table and she's yapping about this or that you've got to do something... otherwise you just don't feel like enough of a man.

     

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    Amber, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 1:03pm

    Re:

    And exactly within what context is a cop abusing a kid appropriate? Your point is stupid. The video shows the context quite clearly, and plenty of it. The kid was committing some infraction, and the bully cop abused him and threatened him and his friends. If there is any context where this behavior is considered appropriate, then we really are living in a police state. I don't think there is really very much discussion among non-police about the non-appropriateness of the cop's behavior.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 1:09pm

    Re: Re: reality...

    Because they have to answer to...?

     

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  47.  
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    Amber, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 1:11pm

    Need A Photo-Cop Day

    We need a day each year where everyone goes out and films cops in every city and village across the country. Taking pictures is legal. Then we should have a place to upload all the photos so people can see what's happening. I suspect we'd get lots and lots of cops smiling happily, because most of them are probably not the thugs who make the news. But I'm sure this will aggravate the sort who feel they can do whatever they want and violate the rights of anyone they feel like. All participants to this movement should then be prepared to file lawsuits against the police departments.

    If this was a yearly occurrence, we could remind the police once a year that this is a legal, protected activity.

    Any suggestions anyone?

     

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    Thomas (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 1:27pm

    this is exactly why..

    way way too many cops don't want to be recorded on the job - they know full well that they are using excessive force or making unlawful arrests and they don't want to be caught. They want to prevent another Rodney King incident by preventing anyone from recording it, not preventing another brutal beating; they believe they are fully within their rights to beat the crap out of anyone, especially a person of color, and no one should be able to challenge a beating, or killing.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: His Reply

    I did not intend to be excusing his behavior. I was more thinking of the problems one might have in later life hampered by a "Skateboarding" charge on your "permanent record".

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 1:44pm

    Re:

    First, this is an incredibly insightful and well-written comment. I don't agree with all of it, but that's unimportant: thanks for writing it.

    Second, I'm sorry for your loss. I wish it weren't so.

    Third, while you might be right that "...it does feel like all we are the 'bad' officers..." it's worth keeping in mind that we're only seeing a small fraction of ANY officers, because, so far, video recording isn't ubiquitous. So if we see 2 videos of cops behaving badly and 3 of them being professional, we have no way to know whether these tiny samples are representative of the whole.

    Fourth, one thing we do know, though, is that police often react very badly to it. VERY badly. Connecticut was finally forced to pass legislation at the state level making it possible for citizens to take action -- because apparently memo after memo after memo reminding police that they are PUBLIC servants wasn't working. Personally, I think any police officer who rejects public video recording should be fired on the spot. No hearing, no appeal: just instant, permanent dismissal from the force. If they can't serve the PUBLIC in PUBLIC, then they're unfit for duty.

    Fifth, my own interactions with police have been cordial for the most part (including the time I pulled myself over for speeding and waited for the officer, who was laughing as he walked up to the car) but I've also had the experience of being bullied and screamed at by a bloated fat pig of a cop who nearly hit me (he was speeding and blew a stop sign) and decided to blame me for his lousy driving skills. Unfortunately: no video, it was a long time ago. But I'm ALWAYS respectful, cooperative and do my best to make sure they know I'm not a threat -- e.g., I never make any sudden moves or anything like that.

    Sixth, but...I'm white and professional. Were I black and poor, I wouldn't be surprised if I'd been beaten, tortured with a taser, had drugs planted in my car, charged with resisting arrest, or some combination of the above by now. It happens every day, and we all know it. And THAT is why a lot of us are learning not to trust the police: WE READ. And every day there's another incident where some cop lost her cool or where one reacted violently or where a group of them responded to a minor kerfluffle with massive force and provoked an incident where none need happen. (See: "pepper spray of seated, peaceful students" -- and by the way, THAT pig should be tied down and have pepper spray forced at high pressure into every orifice in his body.)

    Seventh, we also all know that cops never turn on their own. So therefore we also know that if seven are standing around while two beat one of us, than there will be nine cops testifying that we threw the first punch. They LIE. They protect each other over truth, over justice, over professionalism, over SERVING THE PUBLIC. They'll cover up murder if they have to (and they do). Until this changes, and this change can only come from cops themselves, we can't trust them, which brings me to:

    Eighth, there should be mandatory always-on video recording of police officers. It should all be posted to the 'net at end-of-shift. And supervisors should be reviewing it, using it for training, screening, etc. We NEED the police, but we need them to live up that motto stenciled on the sides of their cars: we need them to be professional even when under duress, even when it's a bad day, even when they're provoked. We need to reward the good ones who do all this -- pay them better, fund their retirement, take care of them when injured, etc. -- and we need to weed out the bad ones who can't handle it. And police need this too -- because their best allies are the citizenry. A lot of that citizenry won't call them, won't talk to them, won't help them because they're so alienated. That needs to be fixed, but the only way that'll happen is if police demonstrate -- by action, not by word -- that they'll stand up for citizens, even against their own if that's what's right.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Re: His Reply

    I did not intend to be excusing his behavior. I was more thinking of the problems one might have in later life hampered by a "Skateboarding" charge on your "permanent record".

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 1:52pm

    "filming police is one of the few ways to prove abuse of police power."

    but ... but ... but ... PRIVACY!!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Death Threats?

    No, he did not. He said that someone would kill the kid. He did not say that he would. It may be possible to infer such a thing, in a bit of a stretch.

     

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    Jesse (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Sounds about right...

    The police should be thankful for YouTube. After all, they always complain about the "few bad apples" that ruin police reputations for the rest of them.

    Why don't they appreciate YouTube and citizen journalists holding the "bad apples" to account?

     

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    Peter, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 2:27pm

    I would have not only fired the cop, I would have made sure that he never worked in law enforcement again, and then publically humiliated him. If I were the kids dad's this matter would have come to the publics attention alot sooner.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 2:28pm

    He's probably a wife beater as well...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 2:43pm

    When you have unreasonable laws, you have unreasonable law enforcement.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 2:47pm

    so, you ignore the kids skating where they shouldn't be, they could run into a child or a mother holding a baby and ignore the kids constant disrespect to the PO, and yes, calling a PO man and dude is disrespectful,
    but that doesn't bother you freeloading criminals one bit

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Re:

    I get it they are under preasure, they make misstakes. Like that time I called a friend ''whore''.

    But here is the thing. I admitted that I did wrong. and I said sorry.

    Sorry is a magic word that makes small misstakes dissapear.

    Have anyone heard a policeofficer say sorry?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 3:03pm

    Re: Re:

    I agree for the most part. However, I would argue that police are not necessary components of an advanced society. The conflict occurs when laws are enacted and enforced WITHOUT the consent of the citizenry. If we had the ability to create laws that we like, and do away with the ones that we don't, more people would agree with the laws, and less people would break them. Of course there will always be folks that want to do harm to others, but I feel a far more effective method of staying safe is to stay armed, and to know how to defend yourself. For example, there's this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_v._District_of_Columbia

    Basically, a group of women was violently attacked and raped over a 14 hour period. One of them was able to get to a phone at some point, and called 911. TWICE. The police showed up, did nothing, and left the women to continue being raped and beaten by their attackers. If they had been armed, it might have turned out differently. This example serves to demonstrate that just because you have police in a society, does not mean it is going to be a safe society. On the other hand, for those of us (such as myself) who are ready, willing, and able to defend themselves and their families, police are completely and utterly unnecessary for protection.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 3:30pm

    Re: Re: Death Threats?

    I missed the part where there's a gang of thugs who go around killing people who kill cops "dude".

    The only person who would kill a kid over this is the cop himself. And if there were another (crazy) person who would kill the kid over this, the cop wouldn't have knowledge of it. Therefore, the only way he could know the kill could get killed over this is if he was thinking of killing the kid himself.

    Let's stop playing on words and face it: this was a death threat, a poorly covert one, and certainly not anything a cop should say to anyone.

    On top of that, regular people can be convicted of making a death threat over much, much smaller things. Clearly you are just biased in favor of who wears the badge, just like the court system is.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 3:42pm

    Real meeting of the minds here

    Roid rage on one side, inability to pronounce "officer" on the other.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 3:46pm

    Re:

    I agree with you, society is hypocritical when it comes to law enforcement. People want not what is right but what serves them.
    Arrest an old woman, they'll complain it's horrible. Arrest a suspected murderer, they'll want the law to be tougher on him than it is.

    But that does not mean the cops need to give up on their own judgement. It's simple: people have rights, and they need to be upheld even when society doesn't want them to be upheld. And cops should be able to keep that in mind regardless of what the public demands.
    If a cop plants evidence to arrest a man we all know is a criminal but can't prove it, the cop is wrong and can't excuse his conduct with "people were outraged this guy was free".
    If a cop beats up a criminal, he can't excuse it with "the public is sick and tired of these monsters".

    The public has 0 right to strip other people from their right and freedom, and cops better keep that in mind at all times. Cops are the last barricade that stands between democracy and tyranny. More than that: they get to decide which side they serve, and the side they choose becomes the one we live in. If cops respect the law, we live in democracy; if they decide sometimes they can violate it, our society becomes a tyranny.
    As such, they have a far, far greater responsibility to uphold the law than anyone else. And that is why the tolerance for police misconduct and abuse of authority should be strictly dealt with.
    Any police officer found guilty of something should at minimum lose his or her job regardless of what the crime is. The only exception should be when the mistake was not intentional and not the consequence of poor judgement. Cops breaking the law - any law - is a much too severe problem to give second chances.
    And since the US government is so much into terrorism and anti-democracy extremists these days, well rogue cops who violate the law are the biggest threat to freedom and democracy in the USA. And that would make such cops bigger terrorists than Al Qaeda.

     

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    Copyright Cartel, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 4:16pm

    Hey Officer Ravioli, You Mad DUDE!!!!

    FUCK YEAH!!!!

     

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    RadialSkid (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 4:21pm

    Did he ever get his liter of cola?

     

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    RadialSkid (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 4:25pm

    Re:

    Respect is earned. An arrogant, punk officer like Rivieri doesn't deserve respect, in any capacity.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 4:33pm

    Re:

    Too much urine in your Cheerios, officer dude?

    At most the kids should have gotten a ticket; not threatened or assaulted as the video shows. They didn't commit a crime, at most they violated an ordinance. We already have too many laws where "could" and "might" outweigh "do", "did", and "will".

    WTF is a freeloading criminal? Do criminals need to pay for the privilege of committing crimes?

    Glad the cop dude was fired. He had no business being in the public and acting that way. In fact, he should have to pay back what he didn't earn.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 4:42pm

    Re:

    troll harder

     

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    Travis, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 4:53pm

    WTF

    Are you telling me this SOB wasn't arrested for assaulting a minor (he was choking the kid then threw him to the ground)? The ONLY reasons for a cop to touch a kid is if the is being arrested or being carried to safety. This was blatant assault on a child 1/3 his size, and wold be theft had he not returned the board (as an AC stated at noon). Also, threatening the kid with death (yes, I know he amended that threat...2 seconds later, like an after-thought) is WAY beyond what any police officer should do when dealing with an unarmed child. The commissioner was right to fire this fat bastard, but he didn't go far enough. Cases like this are why on duty, 3rd party oversight monitoring of all cops should be enacted.

     

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    Chargone (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 5:47pm

    Re: Re: the worst part...

    bureaucracy is like that.

    there's a reason why it's easier to catch thieves and con-artists for failing to file taxes on their income than on the crime they actually committed ('course, if they DO file the taxes, there's you're evidence for the crime. nice system, actually.)

     

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    Chargone (profile), Apr 30th, 2012 @ 6:01pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    ... there's a reason why, in a lot of countries, they Don't have the power of life and death.
    (for all that those at the top keep trying to change that.)

    NZ, for example, no firearms come into play unless someone actually starts shooting at the cops (or something of that nature) and even then they have to report it and make a request for backup, then someone off site sends the backup... no decisions made in the heat of the moment there. (they do have body armour and such, mind.)
    (entertainingly, the backup may well include AFVs with autocannons and grenade dischargers. heheh. only if the situation warrants it mind.)

    Also no opportunity for a criminal to acquire a gun off the cop. (the armed cops are, from memory, armed with longer range and heavier weapons than pistols.)

    'course, guncrime in general is a lot rarer when the guns available are more limited, their usage restricted and licensing mandated.

    it makes armed uprising against a tyrannical government more difficult, of course, but then again, so do government owned/controlled AFVs, combat aircraft, missiles, and artillery. among other things. (and it's not like the citizens of the US actually use that right for it's intended purposes anyway.)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 6:39pm

    It's about fucking time that asshole was canned. Took them long enough...

     

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    Gerry, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 7:36pm

    Re: Re:

    Don't make fun of police officers wha! Wha! Wha! My mommy and my daddy are pOlice officers in Canada wha! Fuck you Canadian and FTP

     

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    PanBlaiz, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 7:49pm

    Its punk-ass cops like this jerk who give good honest cops a bad name. So sad to see a grown man get tough on a 14 year old boy. ... Okay, everyone has bad days but police officers are held to a higher standard and rightfully ought to be so.

     

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    PanBlaiz, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 7:49pm

    Its punk-ass cops like this jerk who give good honest cops a bad name. So sad to see a grown man get tough on a 14 year old boy. ... Okay, everyone has bad days but police officers are held to a higher standard and rightfully ought to be so.

     

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    F!, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 8:17pm

    system fuels itself

    That kid (and his friends) may have had a fairly good-to-neutral opinion about cops before this incident. More likely they had that rebellious anti-authoritarian teenage rebellious phase that EVERYONE goes through, and they would have eventually grown out of it. Now it can be pretty much guaranteed that he (and his friends) hates cops, and will continue to hate them even after they outgrow the phase.

    Cops are responsible for creating criminals.

     

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    ucanhaz, Apr 30th, 2012 @ 10:30pm

    Re: Sounds about right...

    Thanks for the link, it's good to see an example of professional and calm conduct by an officer in this potentially hazardous circumstance.

    Walking up to an unknown person openly carrying a pistol and politely asking questions about the weapon and how to check it was indeed 'safe', all done without the usual threats and hysterics.

    Even when "Jeremy" refuses to show ID or give his full name, instead stating his right no to do so, this officer simply agrees and lets him get on with his day.

    I don't know if this could have been handled any better, well done Officer Matt Lyons

     

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    Watchit (profile), May 1st, 2012 @ 12:15am

    The officer said "you're disrespecting my badge", when in fact he was the one disrespecting what used to be his badge, and the responsibly that comes along with it. While I generally respect police out of hand, he lost my respect the moment he abused his power to push around a kid, and steal his skateboard. Actually, do we know if the kid ever got his skateboard back?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2012 @ 6:27am

    Seems to me he was upset because he got stuck with the clown patrol car. "DUDE your driving that and want us to respect you?"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2012 @ 8:59am

    Much ado about not a whole lot

    Sure the cop is a jerk. But while cops are probably busy right now in some inner city neighborhood beating or otherwise flagrantly violating the rights of the poor and vulnerable, it hardly seems worth getting worked up over a skateboarder getting pushed. Getting outraged over this is an insult to Rodney king.

     

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    WysiWyg (profile), May 1st, 2012 @ 10:50am

    Re: Much ado about not a whole lot

    Wait, what? Is your argument REALLY that as long as there are worse things happening, it's no big deal? Basically it's okay to beat someone up as long as someone else gets murdered?

    Or did I just miss obvious sarcasm again?

     

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    Watchit (profile), May 1st, 2012 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re:

    to the moon.

     

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    Watchit (profile), May 1st, 2012 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re: Re: His Reply

    Some would even consider such a record admirable.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2012 @ 11:26am

    I cannot believe the responses to this article.. honestly most of you have little to no idea the shit a police officer has to deal with daily. I get frustrated and angry over things, my job is not nearly as stressful or dangerous. The kid was obviously being a punk and his friends knew it too you can hear them telling him to stop. It's easy to assume the police officer is abusing his power because he is in a position of power, maybe the force was unnecessary but worthy of him losing his job? Personally I probably would've snapped myself.


    I think there are plenty of police officers out there that are significantly worse than this guy. Police officers are often disrespected and are authority figures so I think calling him dude isn't the most intelligent route. I prefer to give the police the benefit of the doubt.. we do not know what was said before the video was started as well.

     

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    latin angel (profile), May 1st, 2012 @ 12:01pm

    Re:

    I cannot believe the responses to this article.. honestly most of you have little to no idea the shit a police officer has to deal with daily. I get frustrated and angry over things, my job is not nearly as stressful or dangerous.
    There are other jobs out there...

    The kid was obviously being a punk and his friends knew it too you can hear them telling him to stop.
    If you are being abused by a officer, you obviusly need not to oppose...

    I think there are plenty of police officers out there that are significantly worse than this guy.
    Its your responsability to point your finger at them...

    We do not know what was said before the video was started as well.
    I agree to that.

     

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    btr1701 (profile), May 1st, 2012 @ 3:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Wait a minute...

    > Skateboarding should be illegal! If those
    > kids skateboard, the next thing you know
    > they'll be on my lawn!

    The skateboarders *are* on my lawn all the time. I live a few blocks from the beach and I constantly get these asshole skateboarders using my driveway as their launching pad to do their idiotic tricks.

    If they were just kids it would be annoying enough, but understandable. But it's not. These guys are like 30 years old, typical California surfer-type burnouts, who ride around in packs and frequently decide to just hangout in my driveway (and yes, on my lawn!) in the middle of the night. Can't count the number of times I've woken up at 2:00AM to the sound of cracking skateboards, drunken laughter, and shouts of "Duuuude! That was AWEsome!"

    I can sympathize with someone who feels like beating the crap out of a skateboarder.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2012 @ 4:45pm

    Re:

    is That you ex-officer Riviera?

     

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    Jackie, May 1st, 2012 @ 5:05pm

    Police officer fired:

    He shouldn't of been fired until he learned not to use his police position for bullying. He was right as far as this child talking back to him. But not to throw him on the ground. He was out of line but so was the child. Alot of kids these days are out of line and it's not always the parents fault either. Society has parents working sometimes 2 and 3 jobs to make ends meet and that leaves the kids roaming the streets and getting into trouble.I have more to say but I don't want ppl thinking I tooting my horn to make myself look like a hero, but there are more things I could talk about.

     

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    sj, May 1st, 2012 @ 5:56pm

    He Should be in JAIL

    "Fired???"
    How about charging this loud-mouth bully with assault?
    Tough guy, picking on those kids. What a damn coward.
    Makes me want to visit there just to find him and give him the ass-whipping he so richly deserves.
    Then HE can call HIS mommy.

    What a disgrace.

    sj

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2012 @ 6:25pm

    Re:

    "I think there are plenty of police officers out there that are significantly worse than this guy"

    Agreed, sadly most of them still have their jobs. That's what makes this case stand out - the system actually worked, and pulled a bad cop out of the line of duty.

    If cops can't handle the pressure, they shouldn't be cops. Period. And really, if he can't handle pressure from a 14-year-old (and I didn't see the 14 year old being anything other than a normal 14 year old), would he be able to cope with a *real* criminal?

    While you're correct in that we don't know the whole story - that cop could have a whole string of earlier offenses and this was the straw that broke the camels back - this behavior on it's own is completely unacceptable from a police officer, and appropriately resulted in the loss of his badge.

    The sad part is that it took two years AND this video to get rid of him! Without this vid, he'd still be abusing his badge to bully children.

     

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    F!, May 1st, 2012 @ 6:28pm

    Re: Re:

    "this behavior on it's own is completely unacceptable from anyone"

    FTFY

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2012 @ 8:47pm

    I had a close relative who spent 20 years in law enforcement. It made him a very bitter person who eventually could not see the good in anyone. His perception was tainted by daily encounters with the worst of the worst and ,unfortunately, he started to extend this view to average citizens if he felt they somehow didn't "look right" or "act right". His definitions for these things were vague and inconsistently applied so it was hard to talk to him about anything without it getting a bit ugly.

    As many people in this situation might do, alcohol became his primary coping mechanism. The only thing that allowed him to lighten his views was a medical situation that forced him onto desk duty for the rest of his career. Only then did he begin to start to see the good in people again but it was very slow in returning. However, by then many of the personal and family relationships he once had were casualties of his prevailing attitude of negativity.

    None of this is an excuse for inappropriate behavior on the job. I really don't like it when law enforcement over steps boundaries just to prove that they are "in charge". A true professional knows how to asses situations accordingly and pick battles appropriately. But The hot heads will always want to dominate any situation, which is what angers the public. So much of the full on physical apprehension encounters don't need to continue after it is crystal clear to everyone that the suspect is NOT resisting in any form.

    Its just playing catch up without calling it that. Dragging a suspect along the ground, kicking them, dislocating their shoulder because they didn't use the word "Sir" - I've seen it all. If you have personal issues or have a perpetual chip on the shoulder then seek help. No one in society benefits from a law enforcement representative with an inferiority complex or anger issues. Get help or get off the street.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  93.  
    identicon
    STEVE FLEISHER, Jun 27th, 2012 @ 7:55pm

    THE COPS BAD COPS

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  94.  
    identicon
    Mz. T, Jan 8th, 2013 @ 12:48am

    Re: Re:

    I hear you Chris, and yes they do have a very hard job, a soul-sucking job as you say, but I didn't take an oath to serve and protect the butt hole that cut me off in traffic. Regardless, they did take the oath and they should be held accountable. If I or one of my loved ones has to be operated on, I hope the surgeon's oath is to "do no harm, save a life." But just because he have performed many surgeries that day that he don't have a change of heart during mine. They have to always be on their P's and Q's. I know they are human but they have no room for failure, it is what it is.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  95.  
    identicon
    easiest Job in the world i guess, Aug 10th, 2013 @ 7:59am

    If we need to get it right 100% of the time...we need to get paid a whole lot more...

    If the police are meant to be perfect and never get it wrong then all police need to quite thier jobs and become doctors and scientists. We'd have the answers to everything...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  96.  
    identicon
    Bob Marely, Sep 28th, 2013 @ 10:09pm

    Salvatore=F Idiot

    This cop is a friggin loser.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  97.  
    identicon
    Kirby Hollis, Oct 5th, 2013 @ 1:15am

    what a fat ass cunt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  98.  
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    steve p, Dec 21st, 2013 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Wait a minute...

    Yes it did, can you believe it. Im just wondering now though if the dick cop isnt going to come back with his union to the city for some million dollar bullshit lawsuit

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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