The talk of the town in the D.C. region and now, thanks to media and social outlets, the talk of the nation, is the recent snowball episode in Washington, D. C. in which a large group of individuals congregated on public streets for a snowball throwing event in the aftermath of a large snowstorm in the nation’s capitol. When they pelted a vehicle with snowballs, they didn’t know they smacked the personal vehicle of a police officer—Detective Michael Baylor of the Washington, D. C. Metropolitan Police Department. When he exited his vehicle and approached the large crowd that was comprised of some foul-mouthed, taunting, and alleged anarchists who had sticks and stones in their possession that could potentially be utilized as weapons, he was the recipient of snowballs directed at his person.
Likely concerned for his safety and welfare amidst a large congregation of some defiant individuals who obviously did not respect his authority when he identified himself as a police officer, he pulled his gun out of his holster as an obvious protective measure not knowing what the crowd could do. Detective Baylor was greeted with disrespect, profanity and those individuals who yelled out to him, “F - - - you, pig.” Hardly the response one would expect from a group of people who merely want to have a fun time in the snow.
The vociferous disrespect that was shown to Officer Baylor and the behavior towards him was a total disregard for authority yet no arrests were made for assault, failure to obey a police officer, disorderly conduct or any other charges that could have ensued from the actions of certain individuals within the crowd.
Instead, Detective Baylor is under investigation and is on desk duty having had his gun and badge removed. To make matters worse, Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier, who has made some strides in the city as her one year anniversary as Chief occurs this month, prematurely commented about the incident instead of wisely remaining silent until the findings of an impartial and objective investigation were completed. As the Chief, she mistakenly voiced her view that Detective Baylor’s behavior was inappropriate and seemingly had already come to a preconceived conclusion before all the facts of the investigation were gathered and the investigation was completed.
As a consequence, Detective Baylor’s historically good reputation, in his almost three decade tenure with the department, has been tarnished. If aspersions are to be cast, perhaps the Chief should have levied some criticism towards some of the defiant, disrespectful, and foul-mouthed snow ball throwing individuals who certainly were not role models for exemplary citizen behavior in the community. On this note, however, Chief Lanier remained silent.
Among Chief Lanier’s many considerations, once she does receive the final report, is the option to fire Detective Baylor. The word that has leaked out to the media through sources close to her indicated she is considering firing him and, perhaps, leaning in that direction.
To fire Detective Baylor who has the respect of his colleagues, a good history in the department, and a dedicated career would be not only outrageous but totally unjust if the findings of the investigation prove he did nothing more than pull his gun out as a protective mechanism for his own personal safety. Chief Lanier should demonstrate she has the tenacity to take a stand against the snowball mob and stand by her man while the investigation is pending rather than appease a crowd in which certain individuals should likely have been hauled off with some silver bracelets on their wrists. For Detective Baylor, politics should not rule.