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by Peter Moskos

August 25, 2010

Inner-Harbor Cop Fired

This is the officer (not "man" or "dude") who got pissed at a young white skateboarder.

Peter Hermann reports:
Last month, a three-member police panel called a trial board held a hearing and found Rivieri, a 19-year veteran, guilty of failing to issue the youth a citizen contact receipt and failing to file a report, but not guilty of using excessive and unnecessary force and uttering a discourtesy.

The panel recommended that Bealefeld suspend Rivieri for several days. But Bealefeld has the discretion to up the penalty, and he opted to fire the officer whose actions were displayed on video and seen around the world.
Three years after it happens the guy gets fired? Is there more I don't know? Seems way too harsh to me.

I wrote about the incident here.
We don't know what happened before the video starts. ... Did the cop already tell the kids three times to stop skateboarding in the Inner Harbor? Did the kid flip off the cop right before the video starts? I think there are lots of possible situations that could justify the cop's behavior.
Now let's say, for the sake of argument, that the video shows the whole story. If that’s the case, then the officer handled the situation horribly. If your goal is to get three kids to stop skateboarding, there are much better ways to do it.
Still, sometimes a person does need a lesson. Sometimes an arrest isn’t appropriate. Or legal. So as good police, you’ve got to put on an act: yell, threaten, cajole, lecture. All these are part of the job. But it’s important to have an objective when you deal with a situation. Then you have to figure out the best method to achieve your goals. Yelling for the sake of yelling isn’t good policing.
I heard a lot of cops talk like this when I was on the street. Sometimes it wasn't needed, but sometimes it was. If you fired every cop who ever talked like this, you'd have about six cops left in the Eastern, and I wouldn't be one of them. Sometimes this language and attitude is needed. Probably not in this case... but who am I to say?

Rivieri gets to keep his pension, right?


campbell said...

Likely getting fired because they've been looking for a reason to get rid of him. Guy who lost it over something that minor likely has had a lot of complaints and run ins with the brass in 19 years.

As to the pension, I'm not sure about Baltimore, but out here he'd keep the pension, but wouldn't be able to collect until he was 60 because he was short of his 20.

PCM said...

Obviously the commish had it in for him. But I think, and I may be wrong, he had a clear record prior to this.

And you generally don't get Inner Harbor patrol if the brass doesn't like you. It's not not a dumping ground.

Gotti Rules said...

Hey Pete,
This officer probably didn't handle the situation the best, there are probably better ways. I also think him losing his job over this was a bit harsh. I thought for sure he would lose a few days pay and have to attend some remedial anger management training. That would been more appropriate in my opinion.
If talking like this gets you fired, I am happy to be retired!

Anonymous said...

It wasn't the talking. It was the hands on the throat. C'mon people, little common sense here.

campbell said...

And you generally don't get Inner Harbor patrol if the brass doesn't like you. It's not not a dumping ground.

Wait, riding around in that little golf cart isn't a punishment? Ye gods.

Johnny Law said...

I would bet that this officer has some previous complaint history that caused his termination. However I don't see how they can fire him 3 freaking years after the fact. Ridiculous. If it is an offense worthy of termination, I don't think it should take 3 years to make that decision.

IrishPirate said...

I hate being called "dude" also.

I also loathe teenage skateboarders. I saw a group skating up and down the stairs of the Art Institute of Chicago and I wanted to put the hurt on them for the damage they were causing. I had visions of using a sawzall on their beloved boards.

The three year timeframe is ridiculous.

What the officer needs to TRY to keep in mind is that teenage brains are not adult brains. He also should not have touched the kid unless it was absolutely necessary.

He acted stupidly. Does it warrant being fired?

That's a judgment call. If he had no prior history of similar complaints I would say no. A suspension and some counseling? Certainly.

I don't expect cops to be perfect. I do expect them to act better than this.

It would have been nice if there was another cop on the scene to calm him down a bit. Seems like he was having a bad day.

Anonymous said...

and you guys remember that there was another video of him -- the one of him stomping the radio controlled car.

also, I wouldn't assume that the three year delay was primarily caused by the management side and not the union side.

Unknown said...

The guy got fired for bad publicity. More reinforcement of the mentality that cops needs to stop themselves from being video taped.

If they had given him the recommended punishment of 6 days suspension how would that be punishment?

He had already been on paid leave for months during the initial investigation before they reassigned him.

I WISH my job would allow me to trade being on paid leave for months, and then I'd have to give up a week of non-paid, non-work. And then I go back to my job.

Kamikazecop said...

Way to harsh... It's not like he missed court or a doctors appointment.