MPD Chief Cathy Lanier yesterday issued a statement regarding the around-the-world famous snowball fight at 14th and U Streets NW on Saturday. The fame occurred after the snowballers pelted a passing Hummer that was driven by an off-duty DC police detective—who angrily got out of his car to confront the crowd with his gun drawn; a uniformed officer than arrived with his gun drawn.
In her statement, Lanier called the detective’s behavior “totally inappropriate” and said that he has been placed on “non-contact status until all the facts are gathered and discipline is handed down.”
As Chief of Police, I wanted to respond to the many messages received to our police listserv groups last night in reference to the off-duty police officer’s actions on last Saturday. I have reviewed the video clips and heard from the public. It is very obvious to me that the officer pulled his service weapon in response to the snowballs hitting his vehicle. I have no doubt about this, nor has the officer denied the accusations.
Let me be very clear in stating that I believe the actions of the officer were totally inappropriate! In no way, should he have handled the situation in this manner. We have taken swift action by placing him on non-contact status until all the facts are gathered and discipline is handed down.
This officer’s conduct, in no way, reflects the training and the standards we hold each officer to at the Metropolitan Police Department. During the course of this horrendous snow storm, our officers worked hard and made many significant arrests for drug and burglary crimes, as well as gun recoveries. What is so disturbing is that, up until this incident, I had received several messages of thanks from the many people our officers assisted when their cars became disabled in the blizzard conditions. So it does not sit well with me that the negative actions of one officer has become “viral” during a time when so many officers have done so much good.
I can assure you that we do take this matter very seriously and will handle it appropriately.
The video clips and the number of witnesses willing to come forward have proven a point I have reiterated, you are the additional eyes and ears in the community and your feedback in solving criminal complaints is crucial.
My office is receptive to this kind of information. I encourage all residents to remain active in our fight against crime and to know that at MPD, we believe no one is above the law.
Chief of Police
Metropolitan Police Department