A three-member police panel found Baltimore Police Officer Salvatore Rivieri not guilty of using excessive and unnecessary force and uttering a discourtesy in a 2007 incident, Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police President Robert Cherry said Tuesday.
Rivieri confronted several teens who were skateboarding in a tourist area of Inner Harbor where skateboarding is not permitted. When then-14-year-old Eric Bush called Rivieri “dude,” the officer put him in a headlock, pushed him to the ground, and shouted, “I’m not ‘man,’ I’m not ‘dude’! I am Officer Rivieri! Now, the sooner you learn that, the longer you're gonna live in this world!”
After a video of the incident got national attention, a local filmmaker came forward with a video of his own confrontation with Rivieri. In that incident, Rivieri confronted the man, who was making a film of people’s reactions to a small box he was moving around a sidewalk with a remote controlled car. Rivieri angrily kicked the box and berated the filmmaker.
Eric Bush’s mother sued Rivieri for assault, battery, and violation of rights. In September 2009, Rivieri was granted a motion for summary judgment to dismiss the suit. The Bush family’s lawyer said at the time, “The family is incredibly disappointed, and feels wronged. … They've had their day in court taken away.”
In the wake of the two incidents, the Baltimore Police Department overhauled the leadership of its Inner Harbor patrol team. The Baltimore Police Department's internal investigation levied administrative charges against Rivieri, but the new decision by the three-member panel overturns that, according to the Baltimore Sun. As it stands, the only disciplinary recommendation against Rivieri is that he be suspended for several days for failing to file the proper paperwork.
Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld could still review the proceedings of the panel and fire Rivieri anyway, though that is unlikely.
According to records, Officer Salvatore Rivieri was paid $64,370 in 2009.