A police officer is on desk duty after Internet videos showed him waving his gun during a mass snowball fight on a city street, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty said.
The police department's internal affairs office is investigating reports that the plainclothes officer pulled a gun after he and his personal car were hit by snowballs, Fenty said. The officer under investigation's badge and weapon have been withdrawn.
"It is very obvious to me that the officer pulled his service weapon in response to the snowballs hitting his vehicle," Police Chief Cathy Lanier said. "I have no doubt about this, nor has the officer denied the accusations."
A video posted on YouTube showed the officer waving and pointing a gun as he walks toward the snowballers. Another video shows what appears to be the same man telling people he is a detective and that he pulled his gun because he was hit by snowballs.
One police official had harsh words for both Baylor and the snowballers. "There's no way to justify him taking out his gun without more information," says the official. "What the detective did was clearly wrong. We should sanction him."
Hundreds of people were gathered for the snowball fight during Saturday's record snowstorm.
The police official added that the crowd was being disorderly by having the snowball fight at 14th and U streets, but pulling a weapon was too drastic.
Weapons should be drawn only when lives are in danger, Assistant Chief Peter Newsham told the City Paper.
Lanier said the incident tarnishes the department's otherwise positive effort during Saturday's storm.
"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," Lanier said.
There had been earlier reports that the officer who pulled the gun was responding to a call for assistance from the officer whose car was hit with snowballs. In one video clip, a uniformed officer can be seen holding his gun.