Snowball Fight – or Police Standoff?

Earlier today, one prolific Twitter user in Washington, DC decided to take advantage of the recent snowfall to organize a giant snowball fight. Yousef Ali posted a Twitter message (as well as one to his blog), asking people in the area to join him at the corner of 14th Street and U Street for a snowball fight of epic proportions. Over 200 people showed up to the event, which was even publicized by the city’s department of transportation.

Passing motorists were getting involved by rolling down their windows and taunting the crowd until they would toss a snowball their way. Things were going well, with everyone having a fantastic time. No one was hurting anyone. No insults were thrown around. No one was in any type of danger… until a police officer charged the crowd with his gun drawn!

Apparently, the crowd had been tossing harmless snowballs at large SUVs, apparently in protest of how much gasoline they use. When one was thrown at a passing Hummer, it pulled over to the side of the road immediately. A local police detective then drew his gun, charged into the crowd, and started yelling out threats.

At first, the police department denied this. However, they quickly changed their story when several videos of the event began hitting YouTube and Twitter. Many of the participants immediately began recording the events as they were unfolding, placing the police officer in a very precarious position. The department now says that they are investigating the situation, and that charges may be pending against the detective.

It’s insane to me that any police officer would abuse his “power” to this extent. No one was hurting anyone. Young professionals who work in the nation’s capital – often under extreme amounts of stress – got together and had FUN. They weren’t protesting. They weren’t being loud or rude. They weren’t hampering traffic. They were just having a good time after a terrible winter storm had them shut in for a few days.

I know, I know… it happens more often than we’d like to believe. Not all police officers are of the highest caliber. Just as with any profession, there are bad apples out there. I’m just very thankful that the officer didn’t actually fire the gun, and that no one was hurt.

  • Coyle

    While the drawn gun may have been a little over the top, I disagree. Throwing ANYTHING at passing vehicles can be extremely dangerous. If it's a crowd of 200 people, some of whom are throwing things at passing traffic... I see a fairly potentially dangerous situation.

    Not to mention the internal contradiction in this article, saying that they were throwing the snowballs in protest of fuel usage, but then saying that they were not protesting. Also, to say that they were not hampering traffic seems to be assuming a bit much, if they are throwing things at vehicles...

    Anyway, just thought I'd throw those thoughts out there. =)

  • Coyle

    While the drawn gun may have been a little over the top, I disagree. Throwing ANYTHING at passing vehicles can be extremely dangerous. If it's a crowd of 200 people, some of whom are throwing things at passing traffic... I see a fairly potentially dangerous situation.

    Not to mention the internal contradiction in this article, saying that they were throwing the snowballs in protest of fuel usage, but then saying that they were not protesting. Also, to say that they were not hampering traffic seems to be assuming a bit much, if they are throwing things at vehicles...

    Anyway, just thought I'd throw those thoughts out there. =)