Cop Pulls a Gun at a Snowball Fight

A D.C. detective over-reacts to a snow scuffle, and the fight goes online

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Videos of a policeman drawing a gun in an incident with snowball throwers in Washington D.C. went viral this weekend, and the online response has been swift and severe. The first wave of criticism has been aimed at the plainclothes detective who drew his weapon after being pelted with snowballs, while the second has been directed at the D.C. police force in general, who originally denied that a weapon had been brandished only to confirm the incident later. Here are some of the reactions in the Internet feeding frenzy:

  • Oh, the Testosterone "A cop pulls through in his Hummer," explains Ernie Smith at Shortformblog and pulls out a (#^!#(& gun to show how awe­some and manly he is, appar­ently."
  • Bad Post-incident Spin "The overreaction to the snowballs is almost forgiveable," declares Ed Brayton at Scienceblogs. "The lies," he says, writing of Assistant Chief Peter Newsham's reported denial of the incident, "are not.
  • Agreed: Ditch the Act "The D.C. cop who drew his gun at a snowball fight this weekend is now international news," notes Radley Balko at The Agitator. "This will make it somewhat more difficult for MPDC to continue lying about the story." He doesn't think much of the policeman's original action, either: "Good on the snowballers for not backing down, and sticking around to tell him what a douche he is."
  • Pretty Stupid The incident's slogan--"don't bring a gun to a snowball fight"--write Wall Street Journal staff, is all very well. But more to the point: "Don't pull a gun at a snowball fight when everyone there is tweeting it or taping it for their Facebook page."
  • 'I'm Siding with the Cop,' declares Anne Althouse. She points to the danger in throwing snowballs at cars.
  • Talk About Disproportionate Gawker's Foster Kamer clearly disagrees. The cop, he says, pulled "his gun, that can put holes in people and make them dead. As opposed to a snowball, the highest grade of which will give you a welt." The result? "Washington DC residents know exactly how much of a joke 911 is in their own town."
  • What Was He Thinking? "Never pull a gun unless you are prepared to shoot to kill," writes William Grigg at the Lew Rockwell blog. "That being the case, one must wonder what was going through the mind of Washington, D.C. Police Detective Baylor when he brandished a gun and threatened to arrest people who had pelted his maroon Hummer with snowballs during a street protest in the imperial Capital City."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.