Cop roughs up teenage skateboarder on video

Baltimore police officer Salvatore Rivieri was suspended yesterday after a YouTube video turned up showing him roughing up a teenage skateboarder. The unknown boy, who claimed to be 14, was apparently skateboarding in a no-skateboarding zone. The police department has launched an internal-affairs investigation into the incident. From the Baltimore Sun:
Copskatebrd On the video, the officer... puts the boy in a headlock, pushes him to the ground, questions his upbringing, threatens to "smack" him and repeatedly accuses the youngster of showing disrespect because the youth refers to the officer as "man" and "dude."

At one point, Rivieri, a 17-year veteran of the force, says:

"Obviously, your parents don't put a foot in your butt quite enough, because you don't understand the meaning of respect. First of all, you better learn how to speak. I'm not 'man.' I'm not 'dude,' I am Officer Rivieri. The sooner you learn that, the longer you are going to live in this world. Because you go around doing this kind of stuff and somebody is going to kill you."
Link to Baltimore Sun, Link to YouTube video


  1. I appreciate that the kids were in a “no-skateboarding” zone, which certainly puts Officer Rivieri within his rights to be stern and forceful (verbally).

    but, jesus, there’s a point about 25 seconds in where Rivieri just loses his mind. there is no reason that he should be allowed out into the streets of B-more ever again. what would he do when confronted by an actual dangerous/aggravated situation?

  2. come on guys, he could have shot him.

    And how about the guy in the wheelchair?

    Someone has to start a site devoted solely to police videos

  3. 20 years ago, I was that kid. This isn’t easy to say but…

    I think the cop should have been more respectful. I think skateboarders need love because most of us kids, then or now, come from families in various stages of disrepair. He should not have taken down the kid even if he was being annoying.

    However, he was right. Skateboarding can wreck many public areas, surprisingly. If you learn to live carelessly, passing the buck onto others for your bad behavior, you never fully figure yourself out.

    It might have been a mixture of asshole and love, but at least the love was there somewhere.

  4. I saw a video and story about the same sort of thing last summer:

    But that cop compared to this one…
    Woah. Dude.

  5. I love his last line…

    “Y’got that camera on? If I find myself on Y…”

    That’s right Officer Rivieri… you’re on YouTube!!! How tough do you feel now? I hope this piggy fries nice and crispy.


  6. The cops might be watching all of us, but if we’re all watching them too, then a ballance will be achieved. I used a board plenty when I was younger, and interestingly enough, never got into trouble or ruined public property just for kicks. Freaking slacker-planker-wanker!

  7. I would like to salute Officer Rivieri for all the fine work he is doing to dispel the cops==bullies stereotype.

  8. The cop should be given a medal. Even when I was growing up there seemed to be more respect for authority figures than there is now. Man and Dude are no way to address Cops, Soldiers, Parents or Teachers.

    It’s pretty sad that even at the ripe old age of 31 I am commenting on how horrible our youth are.

  9. From what I saw on the video the cop is just an asshole. As I understand it, the kid had his iPod on and didn’t hear the cop originally. I also note that the kid is very meek about it all– the cop takes offense at being called “dude”? Oh please, what an ego.

    I am not clear on whether or not these kids were actually skating there, or just guilty of being in possession of skateboards, we might assume in an area like that they probably were, but then the kid says “I didn’t do nothin”, so who knows.

    In my hometown the cops used to harass kids for sitting on park benches on the town green, the infraction? “Loitering” (well, what are the benches there for if we’re not supposed to sit on them?) In my experience there are a lot of cops who are just egotistical jerks, they are supposed to uphold the law, not prop up their own egos, not get their aggressions out on some kid, not turn a public park into a mini police state. I understand some people have a problem with skateboards, then give the kid a ticket if he broke the law, roughing him up isn’t going to teach him respect but make him hate the police even more.

  10. The cop should be given a medal. Even when I was growing up there seemed to be more respect for authority figures than there is now. Man and Dude are no way to address Cops, Soldiers, Parents or Teachers.

    It’s pretty sad that even at the ripe old age of 31 I am commenting on how horrible our youth are.

  11. if you listen, during the last few seconds of the video you can hear the officer asking if the camera on.

    “cause if i find myself on y”

    i swear he was going to say youtube…

  12. @ Technical Writing Geek: I came here to say basically the same thing. 20 years ago I was also that kid with a skateboard, running from/mouthing off to cops and security.

    When you’re 14 and trying to ‘rebel’, it’s fun to be a smartass and test the limits of authority figures. Usually you probably deserve a good talking-to. But no cop should be threatening kids, and certainly not physically roughing them up, unless they feel in danger. I don’t think that skinny kid was endangering Officer donut-gut physically in any way.

    The kid probably has a rough home life and needs some guidance. But now he and his friends probably have a solid hatred for the police that may never go away. That cop ruined it all – the exact opposite of solving the problem.

    Also, the kid has diabetes, which is sad. The officer has, as of now, been suspended with pay. That bastard should be fired. He is a disgrace to his profession. He is supposed to be helping the community.

    Full story:

  13. @ Technical Writing Geek: I came here to say basically the same thing. 20 years ago I was also that kid with a skateboard, running from/mouthing off to cops and security.

    When you’re 14 and trying to ‘rebel’, it’s fun to be a smartass and test the limits of authority figures. Usually you probably deserve a good talking-to. But no cop should be threatening kids, and certainly not physically roughing them up, unless they feel in danger. I don’t think that skinny kid was endangering Officer donut-gut physically in any way.

    The kid probably has a rough home life and needs some guidance. But now he and his friends probably have a solid hatred for the police that may never go away. That cop ruined it all – the exact opposite of solving the problem.

    Also, the kid has diabetes, which is sad. The officer has, as of now, been suspended with pay. That bastard should be fired. He is a disgrace to his profession. He is supposed to be helping the community.

    Full story:

  14. This is a sad, insecure man.. an investigation of his family would likely reveal he abuses his wife and/or kids. Just a guess.

  15. The cop should be given a medal. Even when I was growing up there seemed to be more respect for authority figures than there is now. Man and Dude are no way to address Cops, Soldiers, Parents or Teachers.

    Do you also tell kids to ‘get off your lawn?’. Jesus, man – I’m about your age, but give me a break. That’s how kids talk. Maybe he never had anyone teach him how to say ‘sir’. Here in California everyone calls everyone else ‘man’. It’s not derogatory. Besides, society just isn’t as ‘formal’ any more, dude. Get over it.

    Yeah, throw him to the ground and threaten to kill him. That’ll learn him some respect. That kid’s never going to call a cop ‘sir’ ever in his life now.

  16. “The cop should be given a medal” for practically chocking and manhandling and throwing a little scrawny kid on the ground?

    How about this: “Hey kids, no skateboarding here. Move away from this area, now.”

    That’s it. No yelling. No revealing daddy issues surfacing. Just doing the job.

  17. A peace officer who cannot keep his cool in a situation needs to step back and call a colleague to step in. If an officer regularly loses control of his emotions, he should not be in contact with the public.

  18. Sure, Mbirdsong — the cop should be given a medal for trying to make America more authoritarian. Good on you, except for the whole “in America” part. Maybe you’d be happier someplace in the world where authority has the legal right to act like that. Someplace under shari’a law, perhaps.

    Meanwhile, back in democracy, the cop’s getting a vacation with pay while the city hopes everybody’ll stop paying attention before they reinstate him with a warning. Maybe you think that’s peachy. I think it’s pathetic.

    If the kids were breaking the law, there are legal means to handle it. Give them a citation, make them go to court and deal with that. Good civics lesson. Instead, the only lesson is you’d better not piss on a strong man’s turf.

    That’s not America.

  19. Geez, maybe the cop had a bad day. So a 14 year old got rough up a bit, so now we hang a guy who will have to deal with situtations where he will get shot at to protect us. That 14 year old was brat, he was going to get an ass kicking from someone, better sooner than later.

    That cop should get a 2 week suspension with no pay, and that is good enough. If you think it should be more, like fired, then you are the heartless pig.

  20. There are a dozen or more videos like this on YouTube. I’m not for wrecking public places or private property. But I’m REALLY not for cops abusing their power.

  21. Saw this on YouTube earlier today. I figured you guys would pick it up soon.

    I’ve seen comments here and elsewhere about how this kid is a smartass. I don’t see the kid being a smartass here at all. All I see is a cop going insane because a 14-year-old called him ‘dude’ and didn’t hear his first order to stop skateboarding. How that qualifies as smartass behavior, I don’t know. The kid seems to me to be pretty meek and well-behaved about the whole thing, in the face of what must be an awfully scary incident. Did I miss something?

    At any rate, I’m glad this SOB’s been suspended, but I’m not pleased that it’s a paid suspension.

  22. Unfortunately, that IS America.

    And take a look at that bazillion dollar gentrified/tourist area in the background. It just screams “locals keep out! especially local teenagers!”

  23. What Wingo said. That cop should have nothing to do with the public. Let him have a little fiefdom running the evidence locker or something. But no way should he be the face of law enforcement at Baltimore’s main tourist area.

  24. I’m sure this will do wonders for Bawlmer’s image, especially considering this is at the Inner Harbor, which was created to get tourists to return to the city (it’s basically like a shiny mall in the middle of a decaying city).

    I lived in Maryland for four years, and my parents have lived in the County (Baltimore Co, that is – I think the cop asks if the kid is “from the County,” doesn’t he? I don’t want to re-watch this awfulness) for 14…and this doesn’t make me want to go back!

    Honestly, it doesn’t matter what the pre-taping situation was, the officer’s behavior is completely out-of-proportion and out-of-control. How does this help keep anyone safe?

  25. It seems that everyone is overlooking the bigger issue here and that is the dangerous working environment the Balto PD is engendering. The two most glaring hazards are:

    – Sending cops out wearing black footwear and black socks with shorts.
    – Having them drive little cop clown cars.

    What LEO isn’t going to have issues dealing with the public when he has to deal with that every day?

  26. Civics Lesson 1.01.

    The United States Of America is not, nor has ever been, A Democracy. We are a Representative Republic. We are not governed by Mob Rule, We are governed by Rule Of Law.

  27. #26

    Authoritarian? Bully a 14 year old kid skateboarding illegally and now we live in a police state. Talk to people in Chile about what is it like to live in an authoritative regime, and they would laugh in your face. Reality please.

    So a cop went over the edge a bit, not a big deal. Something tells me that the unfortunate hurt feelings of a 14 year old is worth the price to pay for the life this cop may save someday.


  28. The cop was afraid of appearing on YouTube. This shows the power of YouTube, and that power is extended into the camera itself.

    Cops used to be afraid of being filmed because it might show up in the courtroom some day, as evidence against them. That danger isn’t that huge, because thanks to the “blue wall of silence” and a friendly court system, most of the time cops can wriggle out of big legal trouble.

    YouTube and viral video, however, is a new threat. Video no longer has to show up in court to ruin an officer’s career, it just has to be widely available on the internet, and suddenly you’ll see it popping up on talk shows and maybe even news programs.

    When evidence like this is widely available, people outside of the courts demand action, and those responsible get fired or suspended.

    I think the awareness of officers that cameras have this new potency means that shooting video is both more dangerous and more powerful. If the cop had known he was being recorded the whole time, he probably wouldn’t have acted as he did. At the same time, he would probably have insisted that the camera be turned off (even though he had no right to do so), and confiscated it forcefully if he was not obeyed.

    Are cameras more valuable as a way to document abuse, or to prevent it from ever happening?

  29. Niiiice.

    So Officer Goon bullies a 14 yo kid and, IMHO, commits battery: his words are, IMHO, a threat of physical violence and harm against the kid.


    And it’s systemtic of a burgening problem in America: emboldened cops are behaving with increased brutality.

    Consider: the Tampa cop who dumped a quadraplegic under arrest out of his wheelchair; Indiana cops harrassing a woman in the station; a cop gleefully telling a woman who was speeding to the hospital trying to get to her father who had a heart attack that he’s gonna make sure she doesn’t see him (was that here on BoingBoing?)…

    So, why is it that cops like Officer Big Brave Baltimore Mister Man are acting out their brutalization fantasies with increasing regularity?

    People will scoff, but IMHO part of the answer is the heightened sense of fear in America. When our national government sets a tone of fear, war mongering, and tolerance – even active endorsement – of torture, I suggest there cannot help but be a trickle down effect.

    Whether readers agree or not, I am sure we can all agree that the Big Brave Baltimore Mister Policeman should be disarmed, de-badged and disgraced for good. Let him be an unarmed minimum wage parking lot night watchman, the bastard.

  30. That police officer (a public servant) physically assaulting a fourteen year old boy, who weighs maybe one-third of what the officer does, is just disgusting. The kid was not a violent threat to the officer or anyone else, nor was he fleeing the scene.

    Nothing that sends chills down my spine like A) the abuse of authority, and B) child abuse. That asshole cop managed to combine both of them.

  31. …yet another great example of our tax dollars at work. apparently those same dollars to not afford us the right of free speech…you can’t call a cop “dude” unless you want to get thrashed?

  32. The Rule of Law! Blah. The Rule of Law, like any other thing created by humans, can be subverted by humans for nefarious purposes … let’s ask black folks from the 1950s south how fun The Rule of Law was for them .. and I was just waiting for the apologist to show up,and #37 did right on time … let’s turn a little cop logic back on one of their brethren. My cop pals will tell me for every time you finally can get the goods on a bad guy, he’s probably done about 10 things the same or worse — that he’s gotten away with … soooo, applying this to Officer A-hole in his Youtube moment … and because cops can “theoretically” save lives (which as a betting man, I would not bet on Officer A-hole to save Joe Citizen’s life), does not give them the right to be thugs. Oh, and yes, this is not a police state in the United States — and you know how we keep it from being one — by bouncing people like Officer A-hole off the force, and not letting him get away with this because he “might” just save someone’s life one day. Judging from the evidence before our eyes, he might just take one too …

  33. malcolmkass – not a big deal? This guy is a public officer, and should be held to a higher standard than some random person who “had a bad day”. Supposedly, the police work for the taxpayers, not for themselves or some abstract entity (i.e. the city, in this case); the only problem with what’s happening to this cop is that, as a 17-year veteran, he’s likely had other episodes in the past that went un-addressed, and his moment of reckoning is likely well overdue. If being held accountable for out-of-control behavior is such a problem for someone who supposedly enforces the law, they should get a different job, end of story.

    Also, to those who might counter that Officer Roid-Rage has a dangerous job: if he only works in the Inner Harbor, that’s about as close to being a mall cop as one could be in the Balto PD. Baltimore is a crime-infested hellhole (and I actually like the city), but I don’t think there could be a less-dangerous beat to work than the Inner Harbor. This guy is an asshole, pure and simple.

  34. Officer needs anger management class and some mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy.

    I hope the kid is okay. Being bullied is traumatic. I mean, how is the guy supposed to respect authority figures when they toss him around like a rag doll? He’ll likely walk away with this with a burning hatred of cops and authority figures. Nice work officer.

  35. “Suspended”. Who will take bets he is back on duty with a clean record in a a month?

    Does the Baltimore Police Department care?

  36. What a dick.

    And its a bit surprising to me that there’s anyone on this board who could watch this video of obvious police harassment and bullying of a little kid and make comments in defense of it.

    Was this cop bitten by a skater as a child? He’s clearly using this kid to vent his repressed anger about *something.*

  37. Cops are not there to put up with other peoples’ ill-trained children. If the kid does not know how to act when in the presence of an officer of the law, then shame on him. Maybe a good wack on the head would teach him how to show respect. And like it or not, Libertarians, someone will always have power over you, so figure out who and act properly around them. Unless you want to be a rebel. Go for it.

  38. I can’t believe no-one quoted Denis Leary, did you even see the fucking article? the poor guy’s on a bicycle, he was probably hoping the video would go on youtube so he could be removed from the street and do some nice respectable paper-work instead of that degrading bike-work, I’d rather be on a segway, at least that has a geek-factor or something.

    All those poor bike cops should be given big ass police horses, nothing says authority like a horse hung like, well, a horse, and a policeman on top towering some 3-4 meters up in the air, no punk kid would dare talk back to such a guy.

    Or what about the police in Havana, Cuba, they have the most awesome old motercycles, they are so freakin’ cool!

    But bikes? freaking bicycles? give me a break. I’d do anything to get off road work on a bicycle. I mean it’s great for commuting and stuff, but I look like an idiot, there’s noting cool about a bicycle, unless it’s a chopper.

  39. @27: Try to think of another job where you could treat someone like that and not get fired. I’m sure there’s one, but I can’t think of it. Physically accosting and then berating someone in a very angry and personal way is pretty much unacceptable across the board.

    There is this one exception though: Cops, in the course of their duty, sometimes need to use physical force to control someone trying to commit a serious crime. Because of this one exception, both the public and cops themselves seem to have concluded that cops can use physical force whenever they like, that they’re somehow exempt from the social standards of when violence is appropriate.

    Basically, there’s a double standard. Perhaps society as a whole feels that it’s appropriate to put kids in headlocks and aggressively intimidate them for skateboarding or failing to use sufficiently respectful language. That’s a separate issue.

    But if that’s the case, the consequences for me headlocking that kid should be the same as if a cop did it. Independent of the question “is it an appropriate response?” is the question “why is the situation treated differently simply because that guy happens to be wearing a uniform?”

  40. @49

    Except that #33 (EDT) beat him to it !!

    It seems that everyone is overlooking the bigger issue here and that is the dangerous working environment the Balto PD is engendering. The two most glaring hazards are:

    – Sending cops out wearing black footwear and black socks with shorts.
    – Having them drive little cop clown cars.


  41. The whole idea of calling a policeman “sir” is freaky to me, and it would bother the majority of cops I know too. Perhaps it’s a cultural thing, but here everyone would expect to be called “sir” by the police, unless they were being a spectacular arsehole while being arrested (and that included the heavily-armed police who were a routine thing when I was a kid). The police called you sir, and the Army called you “mate”, and you avoided being conspicuously friendly to either.

    The notion of police officers as public servants rather than enforcers of the penal codes seems to have lapsed in the US, if it ever existed.

  42. This really has nothing to do with what those kids did or did not do. I agree that people — especially punk little kids — should show respect for law enforcement officers.

    But those kids didn’t really show a lot of disrespect. They were pretty submissive.

    The fact is that a cop who cannot manage to control his anger in a confrontation with a scrawny little skate punk is simply not good at his job.

    That cop was out of control. He needs to be re-trained or put at a desk.

  43. It is only by releasing the video of events like this that the general public has an opportunity to see “authority figures gone wild.” There is simply no point in making an official complaint about an incident like this. If the kid had reported it, most people would think he was exaggerating or say he deserved it. In the video, you can see that the teenager was being compliant, and the cop was acting out his own authority issues. If someone were to say “…I’ll smack you” to a cop, they would probably be charged with criminal threatening. Anyone other than a cop pushing someone to the ground would be considered assault. (IANAL)

  44. “I’m not ‘man.’ I’m not ‘dude,’ I am Officer Rivieri.”

    …Yeah, right. Rivieri, that’s spelled H-I-T-L-E-R from the look of things. This type of cop isn’t a peace officer, he’s the school bully who, having gotten older – as opposed to growing up – found that the only job he was qualified for was a cop. It’s the only job where he could assault those weaker than he is with some semblance of impunity and carte blanche, and actually get paid for it. I’d love to see him take this sort of hard-nosed Gestapo attitude with a *real* crook, but as with most bullies he’s too chickenshit to actually take on someone who’d actually be a threat. Which explains why he’s on “skateboard patrol” rather than actually out solving *real* crimes.

  45. “The cop should be given a medal”
    You sir/madam are a buffoon.

    News flash, it is NOT ok for police or other so-called “authority figure” to assault people, nor enforce through pain (ala tazing). Policemen abosultely do NOT have the right to arbitrary punish someone, and when a cop is choking a kid that is exactly what he is doing.

    Seems these kind of things are happening with increasing frequency. I wonder how far it will go. I wouldnt be surpised if skateboarding might result in you ending up in a camp. If people continue to think that turds like this should get “medals”, I fear for the future.

  46. @57

    Wikipedia is NOT a reliable source of information regarding how long Britney Spear’s poops were this morning, Much less how our system of government works.

  47. @50

    Bicycles are extremely cool! Just not cop bikes. . . maybe if they were armored or had awesome suspension systems. But really, they usually just look like Target bikes. Oh, and to make things worse, why do they always put the biggest guys on the bikes? At least find the svelte cops for bike duty. Burly guys in stiff cop shirts on bikes . . . well . . . um . . .

  48. MalcomKass:

    Talk to people in Chile? OK, lets. Maybe also stop over in El Salvador or Nicaragua or the Dominican Republic or any other place that the U.S. has supplanted self-determination with puppet reichs. They’ll all tell you how much this reminds them of the fascism the US helped to unleash in their countries, and how they wish it would go away.

    Yeah, and be sure to drop the name Pinochet a few times…you know, the dictator that the CIA installed into power after helping to assassinate the elected socialist, Allende? Watch for the flicker of joy in their eyes. I’m sure they’ll even say thank you. Not.

    How bout we stop trying to be cowboys about this kind of crap – as we seem to export a lot of it – and evolve. It isn’t acceptable, it creates hatred and hatred creates violence.

    No one twisted Joe Friday’s arm into taking a job that may involve being shot at, but presumably he knew the risks. If he didn’t, he shouldn’t be carrying a gun.

  49. It’s been pointed out, but I’d like to reiterate, for those of you who say, “Kids should have respect for authority figures…” (MBIRDSONG).

    Having a cop scream at you, humiliate you, grab you around your neck and throw you to the ground, and illegally take your property–is that really the way to gain respect? If your boss did that to you, would you respect him more? Not likely. It’s much more of a certainty that all of those kids are now going to fear and despise cops. As are, to some degree, many thousands more people who watch the video. Given the evidence, why should we have any respect for them?

  50. What took so long for this video to surface? It must be around 6 months old. Unless thats how people in Baltimore dress in 6 degree celsius weather.

  51. Mayor Sheila Dixon
    City Hall, Room 250
    100 N. Holliday Street
    Baltimore, Maryland 21202
    Phone (410) 396-3835
    email: mayor@baltimorecity dot gov

    Baltimore PD: 410-396-2411

    Maryland States Attorneys Office at 1-410-396-4001

    Citizens review board 410-396-3141

    At least send an email DUDES!

  52. Having a bad day is no excuse when you have the full force of the state behind you. Police are authorized to use force if they feel threatened- that means they’re trusted to use their judgement, bad day or not. The sad fact is, many cops are bullies and when they get caught like this they need to be dealt with harshly.

  53. if this cop has kids, then i feel sorry for them. look, the great majority of skateboarders are reasonable kids. you ask them to leave, they leave. they’re used to it. that cop was way out of line and should receive some punishment and be required to apologize. especially for wrestling what looks like about a 120 lb. kid to the ground.

    i also agree with the comment about the “trickle down” effect from a government intent on whittling away at our rights while saying that torture is OK. crap like this is bound to happen, and it’s a damn shame.

  54. Given this well-documented act of police brutality comes so closely on the heels of the other goon-cop-caught-on-tape in Tampa dumping a paralyzed guy out of his wheelchair, I think (hope) we might get some mainstream media attention on this growing problem.

    And here’s hoping Rivieri (spelled H-I-T-L-E-R, good one, #57, well done) ends up with TV network microphones in his face, walking square-jawed and glassy eyed away, doing his best to find his happy place, acting oblivious to the cameras, the coward.

    Several people remarked this Riveri goon sure ain’t no bodybuilder. Hey Rivieri, that makes you a PIG, in more ways than one…DUDE.

  55. Had that been my kid and I’d seen it I’d have marched him to the police station to apologise in person to the officer. My parents would have done the same to me.

    The kid was showing no respect to the police officer. Man-handling the kid was a little too much but was completely understandable under the circumstances, and no harm whatsoever was done.

    People here seem to understand the difference between police beating people up (police state) and children being expected to give the police some respect. Shouting at naughty children does not equal a police state.

    People need to get some perspective.

  56. I’m shocked at all the good germans that approve of this cop. You ought to be goddamned ashamed of yourselves. What the hell has gotten into our country.

  57. @70 – there are two different issues here. First, the respect issue. Yes, the kids should have shown more respect.

    But that pales in comparison to the second issue which is that this cop cannot control his emotions. This is not just “a little too much”. That cop is barely holding it together when confronting harmless skate punks. What happens when, god forbid, someone REALLY talks back to him. I bet he pulls out his nightstick or tazer.

    As far as I see it, cops are not supposed to react to disrespect with out-of-control emotion and violence.

  58. This whole thing makes me pissed off. First off the cop kind of threatens the kid with death (depends on how you interpret what he’s saying), not really a good thing to do as a public servant.

    I’d challenge anyone who says that the cop deserves a medal to think about their initial reaction when seeing a cop. I bet it’s not “Oh, how nice, a police officer”, it’s probably more like “What’s he coming over here for?” It’s long past the time when police officers were looked at as people there to help the community, and it’s their own fault. Too many years of abuse of power has ingrained it into the police culture. The only way to root it out and get it changed is to film them when they are not acting correctly and put it out there for the world to see. Once they figure out that the game has changed they will begin to change too.

    We all should be aware that there are many police forums out there actually promoting the idea that cops should be protected when they do wrong instead of punished; simply insane.

  59. There is no excuse for that guys behavior. The kids may have deserved a ticket, if so, they should have gotten one without the two minute tirade. They may have deserved a talking to, but that can be accomplished in a professional manner.
    This guy obviously has some anger management or abuse of authority issues. There is NO excuse, at all, for a 250 lb armed man to grab a 14 year old and throw him to the ground during what should be a reasonably straightforward and civil exchange. That he did speaks volumes about his character.

  60. So to recap the comments of the pro-authoritarians here in the discussion:

    @35 Mbirdsong: (with added snideness) says “The United States Of America is not, nor has ever been, A Democracy. We are a Representative Republic. We are not governed by Mob Rule, We are governed by Rule Of Law.” Precisely. Which is why our police should obey it. You think mob rule (the policeman) should get a medal. Fine by me — but you’re the guy needs a civics lesson, pup.

    @37 Malcomkass: “It’s worse in Chile.” Yes. I’d rather it didn’t get that bad. You, on the other hand, seem vested in sticking your fingers in your ears and going la-la-la. “Jeez.”

    @48 Jeff: “someone will always have power over you, so figure out who and act properly around them” – please, sir, may I have another?

    I frankly don’t understand people who can read our founding documents, then think it’s great that our cops beat people up for no reason but their own low-cost psychotherapy. The great thing about America is, of course, that all three of you have the right to say these things. But you’re still freaking wrong.

  61. If I did to the cop what this prick did to the kid and I wasn’t shot a dozen times, I’d be brought up on charges of assault of a police officer, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and whatever other charges they could come up with.

  62. As the poster above pointed out, a policeman is a public servant. His job is not to enforce respect for the police force. It’s not against the law to show disrespect to a policeman. It’s against the law to cause him harm, or resist him when being arrested.

    If he is unable to deal calmly with a nonviolent situation, even though he feels he’s being disrespected, then he has ego problems too big for the public position he occupies.

    The safety, honor and purity of the body public is not contained within the bodies of its armed enforcers

  63. Kids breaking the law and destroying public property deserve an ass-kicking. This video is pretty tame — I can remember when cops would crack heads.

  64. #72 DanHawkeye: Thank you for refering to the police brutality apologists as “good germans” – You reminding me of an excellent recent New York Times article: The Good Germans Among Us.

    The op-ed is focused on how Americans act like Hitler’s “good Germans,” choosing to remain oblivious to atrocities in Iraq, the White House sanctioning of torture, and knowingly leaving US soldiers very vulnerably ill-equipped:

    Our humanity has been compromised by those who use Gestapo tactics in our war. The longer we stand idly by while they do so, the more we resemble those “good Germans” who professed ignorance of their own Gestapo.

    This has everything to do with acts of police brutality here in America, as American civil rights are slowly whittled away and people become increasingly afraid to assert those rights. I’d hate to think how far the “Officer” Rivieris and the “Deputy” Charlette Marshall-Joneses (she is the one who dumped the quardaplegic out of his wheelchair in Tampa) would go if they knew they didn’t have to worry about getting caught on tape and having their atrocities on YouTube and other sites for an outraged world to see.

    Come on “good Germans,” passt gut auf! (Pay attention!)

  65. I am appalled that anyone could be supportive of this officer’s behaviour. The demeanor of the teenager in this video simply does not excuse the conduct of the officer. The onus is on the officer to maintain an even keel and to not assault a young person who is rude to him.

    This officer should be fired and charged with assault. There is simpy no place for bullying and hair-trigger tempers in law enforcement.

  66. The kid says “I’m gonna call my Mom” like it’s a threat. Yeah, doofus. Call your mom and tell her you were skateboarding where you shouldn’t have been, and when a cop asked you to leave, you ignored him. And now, no matter how many times you call him “dude”, he just won’t go away and leave Mommy’s precious snowflake alone.

  67. @75 TonyB: There are people here, apparently, who also think that policemen should have carte blanche because they “protect us” from … uh … skinny 14-year-olds with iPods. Or something.

    It’s sad.

  68. The kid didn’t hear the police officer speaking because he was listening to an iPod. This interaction didn’t start from a place of disrespect and the police officer took it there. It was clearly a misunderstanding but the officer didn’t back down. He didn’t listen to any of the answers the kid gave and he was extremely disrespectful and unprofessional.

    Furthermore in trying to explain himself, the kid was assaulted by the officer. His property was taken without a reasonable cause and he was verbally battered in front of his peers.

    Yes, the kid did use the terms “dude” and “man” but in the same vain as kids who use the term ‘like’ when they’re not actually comparing things. It’s normal English usage in America. It isn’t a sign of disrespect, it’s a sign of a living language.

    Oh and the threatening of his life. That was classic. Way to ruin it for any actual reasonable police officer in this kids future!

    To top all of it off, the officer then proceeded to address the issue of being filmed as if he was about to hurl more threats from his position of authority. Those kids have every right to film in a public place and certainly when a police officer has an altercation with their friend.

    Fuck that cop and any cop who pulls this shit. Fire him and sue the city into the ground.

    I’m a tax payer and I’m sick of my money going to dirty power hungry assholes. Hand out a ticket if it’s really illegal, otherwise please go solve some real crimes!

  69. Public servants are only entitled to respect if they accord that same respect to the people they’re meant to be serving. Quid pro quo.

    I’m polite to everyone I meet as a matter of course, address everyone I do not know as either sir or ma’am, and have never disrespected a police officer– nonetheless, I’ve had many a cop jump in my shit simply because he knew he could, trusting my ingrained ‘respect’ for the law to help disregard his errors in judgment & protocol.

    The only people who have ever pointed guns at me were cops, and I never heard an apology from any of the officers who have done so. Quite the opposite: I have been scolded, admonished & brusquely dismissed.

    In my case, what might have been respect for officers of the law has transubstantiated into obsequience and loathing. I know there are good police– I’ve been friends with a couple –but by and large I don’t trust them to do right by me or mine.

  70. 50-some years I was captain of the yard monitors at a school in the Bronx. It was considered good sport by some wise-acres there to try get a rise out of us with “witty” remarks, etc., in front of a bunch of their pals. It was annoying, until I came up with an innovative “counter” (as they say in Yeovil). I pulled out a sawed-off peashooter, wrapped my fist around it (so the teachers couldn’t see it–or anyway could deny that they’d seen it), loaded up, and hosed him down.

    “Dance,” I’d say. His pals got a laugh out of it; and it actually made subsequent relations smoother all around. This was partly because I’d trusted them not to report me for possessing an item that was automatically confiscated by the teachers, and partly because I hadn’t responded by wielding my authority, but on a mere-human, kid-to-kid level.

    Anyone who has a spare bag of split peas and a peashooter (a large plastic straw will do) might do well to send it to the mayor, with a suggestion that he pass it along to that cop. And, indeed, with a suggestion to buy a whole truckload of peas for his force. Cops need a way to blow off steam harmlessly; smart-alecks need to be taken down a peg; and we all could do with a laugh or two: People take things too seriously–the social-game needs to be shown up for what it is.

    (If peas are too lightweight for thick-skinned adults, one of those high-pressure water-guns would do instead. Or a paint gun, loaded with sweetly perfumed paint-pellets.)

  71. this was an abuse of power. regardless of the kid’s age, his rights were violated. i hate that mentality of ‘a boot in the ass will fix it’ when it comes to kids. it just opens the door to relationships built and maintained on power and abuse. go amurrica.

    as someone else said, this time was filmed. how many other citizens has he done this to? this time he just got caught.

  72. So we have now arrived at a place where it takes YouTube videos posted on the internet to combat abuse of power.

    Checks and balances are clearly out to lunch. Enjoy your police state.

  73. If that was my kid, Officer Rivieri would be sitting in court on a civil suit right now. Oh, and I’d also burn down his house. Yeah. That’s how I roll.

  74. #81

    I have to ask you what property the kids were destroying? I didn’t see them destroy anything from that video. You realize that the act of riding a skateboard does not automatically equal vandalism, right? It causes no more damage than a bike or a pair of skates.

    Perhaps they were breaking the law. We’ll assume that there was in fact a sign up prohibiting the skateboarding…but that’s a heavy assumption. I skate all the time, and those signs aren’t up very often unless they are put up by a private party.

    In any case. Please explain why you feel that the fully grown, 250 lb, armed police officer was justified in threatening, accosting, getting into a chokehold, throwing to the ground, robbing, and berating a 14 year old child who simply didn’t hear him, tried to explain, stopped riding the board immediately as he was told, and, god forbid, called him “man” and “dude” while he was being beaten and robbed.

    Doesn’t seem particularly reasonable to me. Perhaps your insight (seeing as how you somehow knew that they were destroying property without any evidence of that being on the video) will make it seem more so. I doubt it seriously, but am looking forward to an attempt.

    Also, I didn’t create an account, that’s why it’s anonymous. For this purpose, we’ll just call me smidget. :)

  75. Oops–I left a word out of my post (#88)–it should have started “50 years ago ….

    That kid probably had it coming–this was just the first time he got caught doing something. How often before this has he walked on the grass, flicked a spitball, or belched out of turn? Plenty, I bet. Off with his head.

  76. I have no idea how some of you guys are coming to the defense of the officer. He’s bullying and berating a little kid for riding a skateboard. Wonder what would have happened if the kid was jaywalking. Probably would’ve gotten the night stick.

  77. Okay, Officer Rivieri has got some rage issues to address, no doubt. Except for the unusual takedown, this was pretty tame for police brutality. Consider this is BALTIMORE.
    What really grabbed me was how stupid and impudent the kid’s behavior was. Anyone who has ever dealt with an angry cop knows not to call him “dude” when he’s screaming at you. I suggest that this whiny youth has seriously needed to have his ass kicked by SOMEBODY for quite some time. Christ, I was wishing I could crawl into the video and throttle him myself. Officer Rage is indeed correct –if he keeps that up, someone will definitely kill him.

  78. The Cop, sorry Officer Rivieri, just reminds me of a grown up Eric Cartman, I can’t get the ‘Repect my authority.’ line out of the my head when he’s speaking.

  79. Rampant, I hope you are put in a position of mortal danger, and forced to rely on law enforcement to save your sorry ass.

    There are bad people and good people in every profession, including doctors, teachers, and yes, law enforcement. The cop in question was a bad one. Unfortunately, they are almost always the ones that you hear about.

  80. It’s a good thing McNulty didn’t find that kid, he’d end up dead with a red ribbon on his wrist.

  81. You see people… 99.9% of cops are sad little clowns who were picked on, or somehow neglected as children. When these people grow up they gravitate towards positions of faux power where they can slap asses with like minded fellows, grow mustaches, fatten up and squeeze into little Barbie mobiles like the one driven by Officer Dude. I’ve really seen enough of this shit in my lifetime. For all of these kinds of things that make it online and into the public just imagine how much abuse goes unreported. Always remember that cops are in their own words a ‘brotherhood’ and a ‘fraternity.’ The whole ‘service to the public’ stance is a fraud. It is an ‘us against them’ situation and ‘we’ are the ‘them.’

  82. I think that B’more cop is just frustrated at the poor condition of police vehicles, the no-overtime policy of Mayor Carcetti, and the 23 bodies found in abandoned houses. Plus, Marlo remains free and Omar is limping, yo.

  83. The comments to the Baltimore Sun article are instructive; a much higher percentage of them thought Officer Rivieri’s behavior was perfectly legitimate way of dealing with “snotty kids.”

    Luckily, their online poll reports 82% thinking Rivieri was “way out of line.”

    I’m pleased to note that almost all BoingBoing commenters find the officer’s behavior violent and possibly criminal. A 220 pound cop with a gun who threatens an unarmed, non-violent 14-year-old seems a pretty clear case of police brutality. Thanks to YouTube, one more dangerous authoritarian bully is (at least temporarily) off the streets of Baltimore.

  84. when i skated in the late 80s/early-mid 90s, we had a mantra…

    skateboarding is not a crime

    If that kid was anything like me or my friends, I’d say that he’s probably half rebel and half idiot – he wasn’t calling the cop ‘man’ or ‘dude’ to disrespect him… he was using his own language and vernacular. If he wanted to disrespect, he would have said “pig”. He should have been smart enough to shut up and act passive, and bore the cop away – that’s what we all did.

    Cop: Stop skateboarding here.
    Us: Ok.
    [ we leave ]
    [ we come back 10 minutes later ]

    That said, the cop entered the situation with a predetermined outcome – it is very clear that he wanted to belittle the kid and teach him a lesson. That kid was 100% clueless throughout the video, while the cop kept escalating the situation. The antagonism on behalf of the officer was egregious. The physical force exerted was obscene.

    The cop owes the kid an apology… and he owes his department and his city one too. In a mere 10 seconds of his own arrogance and excessiveness, he’s given his city and colleagues an incredibly bad name… and put them at odds with the people.

  85. Couple of points:

    1. Rivieri should be in jail right now for violent assault on a minor. Suspended with pay is an affront to anyone with even a modest sense of fairness. Calling a police officer “dude” is not breaking the law. Why does society tolerate the double standard? Why do we let cops wantonly break the law?

    2. One has to wonder how many other helpless people Rivieri has attacked if this is what he did to a 14 year old kid. Imagine that you were a 32 year old black man. Think Rivieri has gotten away with slapping around a few people in his career? Do you think he has provided false testimony? God knows what he’s probably done.

    3. It’s rather appalling that anyone would rise to his defense. I wonder how far Rivieri would have taken it if the kid called him “asshole” or something. Could he be dead right now? Jesus fucking Christ!

    4. Are people satisfied that he’s not in jail???

  86. @14 MBIRDSONG:

    Dude. Chill out man.

    The cop’s reaction was way disproportionate to the perceived offense. When was the last time you started yelling a complete stranger than force against them because they used a word that isn’t even an insult?

    You think he should be given a medal? Well apparently the Baltimore Police don’t, given that BPD Spokesman, Sterling Clifford said, “The entire incident raised red flags for all of the members of the command staff who watched the video.”

    Unless your medal is little red flags like those they give out in totalitarian states, I don’t think anyone else believes he deserves one.

    I also really like you bringing out the old canard that a democracy isn’t a republic. They’re not two different things. You should have learned that in civics class dude. A democracy is a form a government that derives its power from the governed, through elections. A republic is a form of government whose head is elected, as opposed to say a monarchy where the head of government is determined by birth.

    And just one more thing man. I’m also 31, so I want you know this comes only from love. You are a bitter small old man at 31, but I suspect from your comments you always were.

  87. #93 so we should let cops intimidate us when they are screaming in our faces for no reason? Next time a cop is yelling at me and calling me names for calmly telling him that no, he cannot come into my house uninvited just because there was a noise complaint for the party, I should fall to my knees, call him your highness and beg for mercy just so he doesn’t beat me up? The officer is already disrespecting me so why should I respect him? If at that point I tell him to get the fuck off my property, asshole, should he be allowed to kick my ass because I should know better than to swear at an angry cop? No, he should give me a ticket for the noise complaint and get off my lawn.
    Same thing here. There were actions that cop could have taken that wouldn’t have involved yelling and violence. Like giving the kid a ticket, or contacting his parents.

  88. Jesus H. Christ, I’m 40 years old and my default term of address to any unknown male I’m suddenly confronted with is “Dude.”

    This is like the “Say ‘what’ again” scene in Pulp Fiction. He’s not trying to defuse the situation, he’s trying to escalate it. This is probably learned on the job, just like those other bullshit cop tactics. (C.f., the old “jerk their arm, then claim they were resisting when they instinctively pull back.”)

    Or maybe he just likes playing rough with young boys.

  89. Takuan wrote (and the sentiment was shared by others):

    Someone has to start a site devoted solely to police videos

    Already done – and it’s an excellent site with many videos, nicely controlled investigations, and studies:

    The site speaks for itself. I recommend checking it out in small doses if -like me- this kind of thing bothers you.

  90. I find it telling that the headline (in is
    “Officer Suspended After Appearing In YouTube Video”, not “Officer Suspended for Roughing Up Skater.” No wonder police are so afraid of being taped.

  91. To those saying the kid should have shown him respect: ever hear of the notion that respect should be earned?
    Also. what is so disrespectful about calling someone man or dude? If that is the worst a cop has been called then the cop must not have been on the job very long.

    You want to know what is really funny? I was going to make some reference to the Scatterbrain song “Don’t Call me Dude” and a search turned up this article on CNN about a mayor complaining about a cop calling him dude:
    what goes around comes around I suppose…

  92. @26
    “Maybe you’d be happier someplace in the world where authority has the legal right to act like that. Someplace under Shari’a law, perhaps.”

    Seems that if the cop only got a suspension, then the administration is admitting he has a legal right to act like that. I’d be scared to live under either Shari’a law or the laws of the United States!

    My quote is; “Maybe you’d be happier someplace in the world where authority has the legal right to act like that. Someplace like Baltimore, perhaps.”

  93. Checked out that police abuse website (they need a better server maybe)

    Best thing to do overall: always have your phone or camera handy, get the shot, get it on Youtube IMMEDIATELY. If the cop is innocent, they have nothing to hide. If they are guilty, get it on the web before something happens to the camera,the recording or you.

  94. If the kids were breaking the law, there are legal means to handle it. Give them a citation, make them go to court and deal with that. Good civics lesson. Instead, the only lesson is you’d better not piss on a strong man’s turf.

    That’s not America.

    That’s not even Mexico!


  95. @#35

    Civics Lesson 1.01.

    The United States Of America is not, nor has ever been, A Democracy. We are a Representative Republic. We are not governed by Mob Rule, We are governed by Rule Of Law.

    Thank you for playing, Mr. Pedant, but wrong. A representative republic is a type of democracy. Not all democracies are representative republics, but all representative republics are democracies.

  96. Every other statement and action taken by Officer Rivieri has been criticized except for one:

    A dude is NOT someone who WORKS on a ranch. A dude is someone who VISITS a ranch for VACATION. A city-slicker, if you will.

    There, now I think we have full coverage.

  97. OMG, a COP hassled a SKATER?!?! What is this world coming to?

    Well, at least the kid learned a good lesson – cops can be gigantic dicks. I’m not saying all cops are dicks, but a hell of a lot of them are.

    And here’s another clue for the little grommet (what we used to call kids who skated back in the olden days of yore when I ground a curb or two) – uh…dude? when you’re illegally skating somewhere, and you aren’t fast/smart enough dodge the cop in the first place and you end up in a confrontation, act like you’re Eddie Haskell (google it, dude). Those wanna-be intimidating control freaks eat that shit up with a silver spoon.

    Really I’m just bummed we didn’t have mini video cams and every other goddam thing when I skated! I fondly remember receiving some choice words of advice from a hardon in uniform on several occasions…

  98. Actually, mbirdsong is right about USA being a republic and not a democracy, and our founding fathers were very clear about protecting the rights of the minority opinion and not having a “mob rule” situation. For example, the electoral college was put into place to prevent states with a larger population from completely nulling out the voice of the less populated ones. I’m not sure why that’s so hard for people to understand and believe. The USA is a federal, constitutional *republic* with some democratic tendencies. We vote directly for our representatives in the legislative branch only, and do not vote directly for our president, who is the head of the executive branch, and is the only one who can add members to the judicial branch. This is all part of a well-designed system of checks and balances to prevent things like mob rule as well as its other extreme, rule by monarchy or oligarchy.

    That’s where my agreement with mbirdsong ends, as this video shows an egregious abuse of police power. If you look at that link to the WJZ news clips, the mother even tried to register a complaint with the police dept, who blew her off by saying that his supervisor was on vacation, and then no one ever got back with her. This was apparently in mid-summer, so it’s not like they went immediately to youtube and posted that video. If such authority figures didn’t act like this, there would be more respect for them. It’s not his job to play Daddy, it’s his job to enforce the law.

    I live in Maryland and have heard a few things about Baltimore police that lead me to not be shocked at this at all. I myself have been on the receiving end of such abuse from MD police and seeing stuff like this just reaffirms my disdain for police and Maryland in general. This reminds me of something I heard in the news, I think last year, about some out-of-town tourists who got arrested for simply asking some Baltimore cops for directions. Way to turn the city from the murder capital of the country to a tourist mecca… Oh, I think this is it – actually a young couple up from VA to see an Orioles game:

    I worked with this guy who was running fiber optic cable about 10 years ago and I got to talking to him in the datacenter about an experience he had with Baltimore cops. He had just left the Army and was living there (I think he was from there). He said he was dating this girl and had built a house for them and wanted to marry her. I’m not sure about the details, as to why he would have been foolish enough to have a house built and put it in her name or what, but it turns out the girl started cheating on him with a Baltimore cop, and this guy ended up getting kicked out of the house that he built to have this cop guy living there with his girl. Whatever happened, it was enough to make this guy angry enough to plot blowing up the police station where the cop worked with a McVeigh-esque van of explosives, such that he was trying to figure out when the ideal time would be to blow up the most cops. I mean, that’s pretty crazy, but you really have to be an asshole to piss off anyone that much, and I got the impression the cop was really working his position of authority and a crony relationship with the city police (I’ve heard many times they really “take care of their own”, to an unethical degree) to his advantage.

    Oh, and I had an asshole manager whose Dad was a retired Baltimore cop. I hated that guy and I’m not surprised his hypocrite ass was fathered by a Baltimore cop.

    I moved out here from Washington state in high school and have been stuck here ever since. For a long time I thought, maybe it’s just me. A girl I know from WA came out to Univ of Baltimore for her law degree, which she recently completed and promptly got the hell back home. It’s not just me. This place sucks.

  99. “Seems that if the cop only got a suspension, then the administration is admitting he has a legal right to act like that. I’d be scared to live under either Shari’a law or the laws of the United States!”

    Suspended pending the outcome of an investigation. It basically works that way in all jobs anymore if they determine you may have done something pretty bad. Suspension isn’t the punishment itself, just what happens during the waiting period.

    Your attempt to turn this into some sort of anti-American thing is duly noted, but makes you look uninformed and silly.

  100. That cop needs to be fired.

    He has absolutely no right to assault that teenager.

    He is a danger to the public with his “respect my authority” juvenile Cartman-esq attitude.

    There is absolutely no obligation to call cops by any name. The teens could have called him a pig and there is not a damn legal thing the cop can do about it.

    I will not be the least bit surprised if the city keeps him employed though, cops have political connections and they look out for their own.

  101. “all jobs” should be “most jobs”, or at least those that are at companies with more than 10 or 20 employees anyway.

  102. I usually take the anti-cop position, but boy, did I instantly dislike that kid. That (quick) choke hold was a little over the top, but the rest… I don’t think I was ever stupid enough to call a cop “dude.”

  103. Suspended is too light given the available evidence. This cop should be arrested and charged with assault and theft (unless he gave the skateboard back or gave the kid a receipt after the video ended).

    The idea behind the phrase “a nation of laws” was that this nation would be a place where the law ruled over all people, where no one person was immune to it. This is the opposite of that. The cop is not enforcing the laws, he is bullying a 14-year-old kid and observing no laws in the process. The kids may have been committing a very low level misdemeanor by skating where it is prohibited, but assault and theft are much more serious crimes and should be treated as such whether or not they are perpetrated by cops or civilians. The cop clearly assaulted the kid. He should be arrested for it.

    If a 200 pound kid had done that to a 100 pound cop, the kid would be in prison by now and likely to stay there for a long time.

    As for people saying that the kids should have been more respectful of the cop: bullshit. The police are paid to serve the public, and it’s their job to be respectful and polite to the public even in the worst circumstances. The cop was rude to the kids from the beginning and for no discernible reason. The kids were not rude at all. Talking to someone when they’re screaming at you is not a form of rudeness. Several times the cop would scream something at the kid and then pause. Then the kid would politely respond, and then the cop would yell at him for “back talk”. This is bullying behavior. The cop didn’t want respect, he wanted the kid to kowtow to him. That’s not respect, that’s submission. They aren’t the same thing at all.

    It is not illegal to talk back to cops.
    It is not illegal to videotape cops.
    In most states, orders from a police officer do not have to be obeyed unless you are being placed under arrest, the cops have a warrant, someone is in immediate danger, or the cops are ordering an unruly mob to disperse.
    So, it is not illegal for the kid to not sit when the cop told him to or to talk when the cop told him to shut up.
    It is illegal to assault someone.
    It is illegal to threaten someone.
    It is illegal for cops to detain you outside of certain specific circumstances.

    People who take the cop’s side will claim to be in favor of law and order, but really, they’re against it because what they’re arguing for is that the law shouldn’t be enforced against cops, only civilians. They’re not for law and order, they’re simply for submission to authority. That’s a nation of people, not a nation of laws.

  104. “having a bad day”? Come on people, that is not someone who’s had a bad day, that’s someone with a nose full of cocaine. The cop in that video is coked to the gills and should not be allowed within 100 feet of a loaded nerf gun for everyone’s safety.

    And anyway, what’s wrong with calling a cop “dude”? He’s not talking down to the man, he’s addressing him like an equal, a fellow human from whom he expects reason. No Scott, he’s not insulting the cop (who richly deserves is), he’s jus not being a grovelling snivelling wretch.

    Somehow, I expect that, if a cop went off on you like that over a trivial communication error, you’d be back to your “anti-cop stance” pretty quick. After the fact, that is, after you had grovelled and lick-spittled your way out of the immediate situation.

  105. if they made me wear a dorky uniform and drive in that Toytown golf kart, i’d probably be a bully too. especially if i were fat and stupid like that cop.

  106. the thing about police forces is they tend to attract elelments least suited to wield power, let alone fire arms.

    This guy’s aggression is totally at odds with the incident.

    All security knows that bellowing and attacking people escalates the situation…oh but of course it can’t elelvate can it, he’s only a skinny little 14 year old riding his skateboard, the cop is a bully, he was probably hard by the time he was head locking the kid.

    And as an aside, if you want to get rid of skate boarders, change every second paving slab to one with a heavy textured finish.

    It’s not rocket science FFS.

  107. It’s always amazing how quickly these stories’ comments fill up. We’ve all dealt with this guy.

    Basically, here’s what you can all look forward to when I’m dictator for life: “Violating the public trust” will be a capital offense for police officers. Obviously the law will have to be roughed out a little more than that, but someone who is hired solely to be the good guy, but uses that latitude to be the bad guy, is a very bad guy indeed and should probably be put out of our misery.

  108. Cop was acting liked a Meth-head. Should’ve been tazed to the floor, and then given a good kicking just to be sure.

    But to be serious – I’m AMAZED at the people who think this cop was acting admirably. What are YOU people on?

    What kind of place do you want to live in? Seems like you’d just love Burma, or Afganistan under the Taliban, or maybe even Nazi Germany. In those places people really know how to fear and respect authority. And that’s a good thing in itself, right?

  109. I read about half of the comments here before actually going to look at the video, and I am appalled–APPALLED!–that ANYONE would think that what that cop did was the right thing to do. I’m a middle-aged woman living in NYC, for what that’s worth, and I don’t think the appropriate response to a 14-year-old boy’s so-called disrespect (which appeared quite clearly to be from not having heard the cop in the first place) merits being put in a choke hold and wrestled to the ground. A 14-year-old boy! I wonder what the reaction of the “that cop should get a medal” people would be if it were done to their own children. “Disrespect”? You don’t hear someone tell you to stop skating, and suddenly that’s “disrespect”? It took that cop about 3 seconds to go from 0 to 60 on the bulging-vein scale, and that was before the poor kid even called him “dude”–he was already screaming at him.

    That cop should not be allowed to interact with the public at all.

    In fact, if he’s been on the force for 17 years and he’s still the equivalent of a mall cop, I’m betting that he’s had troubles like this before, and the department did the equivalent of the Catholic Church’s transfer of pedophile priests.

  110. Don’t skateboard! Why go outside? Stay inside and play videogames! Please stay in front of the telescreen!

  111. I hope Salvatore Rivieri isn’t expecting this to all go away…this time:


    As of last night, more than 400,000 people had watched the video on YouTube since its posting Saturday. [Eric] Bush [the kid roughed up by Rivieri on the video] and the cameraman, Tony Santo, 15, a 10th-grader at Northeast, have taped segments for two nationally broadcast shows and are expecting other interview requests before the end of the week. [emphasis added.]

    Santo said they were originally going to post the video right after the incident but decided to wait because Bush’s mother filed a complaint with police. Santo misplaced the video for months but recently found it.

    So obviously that complaint from 6+ months ago went NOWHERE. Well done, Balto.

    And Tony Santo makes a very, very wise observation about Rivieri’s behavior when he saw Santo’s camera:

    Santo said he held the camera near his thigh so that Rivieri would not realize he was being taped. Santo turned it off once Rivieri recognized the equipment.

    “I didn’t want to tell [Rivieri] it’s on. He’s already pushed [Bush] down,” Santo said. “I’m afraid he’s going to take the camera. He knows he did something wrong. If he didn’t do something wrong, he wouldn’t be asking about the camera.” [emphasis added.]

    And then this bombshell on page 2…has Rivieri been a busy boy with other kids before? Another kid says, hell yes, he has – far worse:

    Jon Tarburton, a 17-year-old senior at Dundalk High School, said he was with friends at the Inner Harbor on Feb. 3 when they encountered a police officer.

    Tarburton said the officer drove up in a motorized cart and began yelling at them as they sat under a pavilion with their bikes. The officer told the teenagers to run, and as Tarburton was packing up his belongings, he said, the officer pointed a Taser in his face.

    “He was like a mad man. I don’t even know what was wrong with the guy,” Tarburton said.

    He said that before he could run away, the officer kicked him in the leg, and his leg crunched against his bike rim, breaking a portion of the wheel.

    When he saw the video, Tarburton said he believed he recognized Rivieri as the officer who kicked him. He said he filed a complaint with the department’s Internal Investigations Division on Monday and has yet to hear back about it. A law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation into Rivieri’s actions said the department was looking into Tarburton’s complaint.

    Sterling Clifford, a Police Department spokesman, declined to comment on pending internal investigations, though he did confirm a second complaint had been filed against Rivieri since the YouTube video surfaced.

    WTF!! Rivieri allegedly kicked the kid’s leg so hard, when the kid’s leg hit his wheel rim it bent?!

    This video is just the tip of the iceberg. Talk about the cockaroach theory in action!

    The cynic in me says Rivieri will face no direct consequences for his actions; his only takeaway from this is he’ll watch out for cameras before f***ing up any more kids, but here’s hoping the city is hit with multiple civil suits and well-deserved humilation of the mayor and PD for their mealy-mouthed, “oh, please let this be swept under the rug” comments.

    OK, brownshirt cop apologists…your turn! [end sarcasm]

  112. “Stop calling me DUDE! A dude is someone that works on a ranch!” -awesome.

    FTR, a ‘dude’ is what a cowboy (a person that may work on a ranch) would call a clueless city tourist who is paying to visit said ranch. (Dude horse= a well mannered horse that won’t throw a clueless city person).

    Judging from his tiny legs, fat gut, and temper, I’d say Officer Rivieri has a problem with low blood sugar, a bitchy wife and a cat that pisses on his pillow..

  113. Regardless of whether these kids were in the wrong, the relevant fact is that the “dude” abused his power and authority.

    The biggest wonder I have is how many other times has this guy overstepped his boundaries and abused citizens and NOT been caught on video.

    This guy should be fired and charged with assault and battery to a minor plain and simple, if that kid would have done that to him, he wouldn’t see the light of day until he was 30 (if he even lived afterward).

    The abuses and apologists of the police forces nationwide have got to stop. They caught his violent actions on tape and now not only is it a local issue, but also a national issue.

    Remember people, cameras watch us wherever we go and we are filmed constantly doing mundane actions.

    But that same thing empowers citizens to take on and publicize abuses by the state/municipality as well.

  114. I find myself wondering why all the people who keep asserting that the kid deserved it because he should have respected the officer think that policemen (and women) deserve respect.

    What makes a policeman a better person than someone else and thus deserving of more respect?

    I don’t think any of us, even the authoritarians, would assert that if someone called a random civilian on the street “dude” that civilian would then have the right to batter us.

    Why do we think police deserve more than the rest of us?

    Why soldiers? Why anyone?

    I was a serviceman (US Navy) myself, and I can damn well tell you my fellow sailors weren’t any more “worthy” of respect than anyone else. Hell, if anything we were worse than them. Sailors and soldiers are a rude, crude, rather violent bunch, AND WE LIKED IT THAT WAY.

    Hell, I’ve been chewed out for “sirring” people, sergeants and master chiefs in particular don’t like being called “sir”. They work MUCH harder than any pansy-ass officer does.

    The only circumstance I know of in the US that any of us would likely face where we are legally compelled to be respectful is when we’re in court. Even there the judge can’t assault you, he can merely inarcerate you.


  115. JRA (70), what is this “respect” you expect the kid to show the officer? See Keith Irwin’s comment at #126: you’re not obliged to kowtow to police officers. You have the right to talk back to them.

    Automatt (81), where is the property being destroyed?

    FordPrefect (84), you have issues. I don’t want to know about them.

    Piper (93), projection much? You’re talking about things that aren’t in that video. The only place they can be coming from is your own head.

    Scott (124), instant aversion is not justification for an assault. And cops get called “man” and “dude” all the time. What was different in this case was that he was in a position to beat up the person who said it.

    Don’t mind me. I’m just fascinated by how many people “see” stuff that isn’t in the video.

  116. …I think it’s pretty clear that the consensus around here is that this pig obviously needs to be at least fired, if not thrown in jail. What I’m going to strongly suggest is that we all use the info provided by #66 above and let the Baltimore city government know that the entire world *is* watching, and that we’re not going to silently let such abuse go on unchallenged. Here’s that contact info again in case you missed it:

    * Mayor Sheila Dixon
    City Hall, Room 250
    100 N. Holliday Street
    Baltimore, Maryland 21202
    Phone (410) 396-3835
    email: mayor@baltimorecity dot gov

    * Baltimore PD: (410) 396-2411

    * Maryland States Attorneys Office: (410) 396-4001

    * Citizens review board: (410) 396-3141

    …When contacting these various governmental bodies and/or their representatives, make sure that you remain calm and rational while expressing your disgust and discontent over the behavior of the cop. Make sure you point out that this sort of behavior is *not* a positive reflection of either the Baltimore PD or the City of Baltimore with regards to the city being viewed as a safe and friendly place for tourism, and that the only form of damage control that would work to salvage the city’s reputation would be to a) publically fire the cop and make it clear that he is an example to *ALL* Baltimore police officers who abuse their authority and embarass their fellow officers, b) at the same time formally apologize to the kid for having been abused, c) order an immediate review of police procedures and make it clear that harassing innocent citizens will be grounds for immediate termination *and* that the city will not back any cop who gets busted for being a total dickhead like Rivieri was, and d) reemphasize that the job of a police officer is to protect and to serve, which means going out and busting *real* criminals, not hanging around shopping malls looking for kids to bully in between wasting time at the local donut shop.

    Bottom Line: Let Baltimore know that the rest of the world won’t sit for this shit, but let them know as politely as possible.

  117. @126


    It is not illegal to videotape cops.”

    Please don’t show your ignorance. This is, sadly, not true in all jurisdictions within the United States.

  118. Talk about anger management issues. At the very least this moron needs to go on a diet to improve his health and get a slightly more fulfilling hobby than terrorizing kids.

  119. @Johnny Coelacanth: (slaps forehead) But of course! You’re right! That makes it all perfectly OK! All that stuff I said before – never mind!

  120. @126 You’re post has several good points, and I agree that no one should be above the law. That said, one of the most significant problems with our country is that we place too much importance on law. In fact, one of the guiding principles of our hallowed founders was that law should supersede human will. In America, we have law, not democracy.

  121. Pyros, I wasn’t aware that law and democracy were opposed concepts.

    Brian Carnell, let me second Takuan’s query: where in the United States is it illegal to videotape police officers? Specifics?

  122. I would like to know why this “officer” shouldn’t be criminally prosecuted for battery. What a country of pussies we’ve become if we accept this kind of authoritarian bullshit.

  123. @Pyros,

    New Hampshire, Massachussetts, and Pennsylvania for startes. Those states an onerous statue that requires explicit consent by both parties to videotape. The cases I’ve seen where these laws have been invoked have always been by police not wanting to be videotaped during the performance of their official duties.

    There’s the Gannon case in NH, and of course, there was Peter Lowney’s conviction in Boston for videotaping a police sergeant at a public political protest.

    At a minimum, there should be a presumptive right to videotape anything within a public space. That this is not the case in all jurisdications is absurd.

  124. Takuan wrote:

    “so, does that mean video of a cop committing a crime in those jurisdictions is useless?”

    That is a very good question. In Commonwealth v. Hyde, the Mass. Supreme Court upheld the conviction of an individual who taped a cop during a traffic stop. The recording came to light when the defendant went into the police station several days later to file a complaint against the police officer and produced the recording as evidence of the officer’s alleged misconduct.

    However, the Mass Supreme Court *has* said that simply because you’re taping something that is obviously illegal doesn’t mean it is okay to tape .. for example, you could not tape a kidnapper’s ransom demands without violating Mass law:

    “In Commonwealth v. Jackson, supra at 506, this court rejected the argument that, because a kidnapper has no legitimate privacy interest in telephone calls made for ransom purposes, the secret electronic recording of that conversation by the victim’s brother would not be prohibited under G. L. c. 272, § 99: “[W]e would render meaningless the Legislature’s careful choice of words if we were to interpret ‘secretly’ as encompassing only those situations where an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy.” Id.(7)”


  125. @ Teresa Nielsen Hayden (#159)

    I think that is a gross mischaracterization. I don’t think that I suggested that law and democracy are naturally opposed concepts. Rather, democracy exists within the context of a set of law, and the manner in which that law is enforced, and several other things besides like popular attitude about it. The very nature of our highest set of laws as codified in the hallowed Constitution places human will, the democratic impulse if you will, as subservient to a frozen set of law. Why do we have to look to what a collection of privileged white men wrote 300 years ago? Seems strange to me. Law does not serve us. We serve law. This is the prevailing mentality, and it is undemocratic.

    In America laws often are in direct opposition to popular will. Please tell me how this can be. Don’t you think that this speaks volumes about our so-called democracy? Some of these laws have been around for decades and have resulted in countless destroyed lives.

  126. Pyros, the law belongs to us, and it’s one of our strongest protections. The popular will can be swayed by propaganda and momentary sentiments, and will alter rules to fit the case of the moment.

    But having firm rules about what’s admissible as evidence? Priceless.

  127. I definitely think this kid has a right to be angry and to complain to the police force, but a lawsuit?
    They were skating in a no skating zone, but who’s to say that they knew it was? The police are always demanding respect and using violence, but they never show respect, and they use violence before anyone else shows a sign of using it first. Let this be a sign to the police force. As for the cop, I don’t think he should be on patrol after this indecent, and he does need anger management classes.

  128. This cop is a jack ass… Regardless of what happened the kid is unhealthy. dude and man aren’t part of our speech its just a habit of referring to a person. I say that shit all the time… The cops here in Las Vegas are the same way… I believe the kid knew he was wrong for skating there but fuck man why so much hate… The damn kid acted more grown up that he did. I’m a believer of kids being raised by a belt… but damn I wouldn’t even act that way. Grow up officer douchtard… I bet you wouldn’t try that shit with me.

  129. Unfortunately it seems that there are many cops that behave in this sort of way. Maybe they were the losers growing up that were bullied or maybe they were always the fat bullies – regardless they are bullies now and are grossly abusing their powers. There really should be better screening to get these guys off the streets and into a job where they don’t have to interact with anyone. Maybe the unions need to stop protecting these jerks.

    That being said there are lovely cops out that can handle highly senstive situations like kids with skateboards with creating a positive relationship between cops and citizens.

    About the kid – yeah say ‘dude’ and ‘man’ to a cop is not ideal. North Americans seem to be more and more informal with some teachers/daycare provider even telling their students to call them by their first names. I’m not so sure that’s a good thing but to change this trend we’d need to get the entertainment industry to file suit too.

  130. The cop was disrespectful to the skater dude. He demands respect well you got to show it to get it huh DUDE COP..I was picked up by Jaccksonville cops and was respected. They took me home after i got ticketed for skaing in a no skating zone. Yeah i f—ed up but they didnt bash me verbally like this clown cop did. He needs anger management for sure. Wheres Jack Nicholson????

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