Lacy MacAuley


a home for my pen, projects, and passions

DC cops: you don’t bring a gun to a snowball fight

I was at the most fantastic snowball fight this afternoon in the heart of Washington DC, at the intersection of U Street and 14th Street NW, lobbing snowballs at other revelers. Until a hotheaded cop named Detective Baylor rolled up on us and pulled out a gun. This has become quite an area news event today.

In this video I’m the woman in the Santa hat asking for the name and badge number of the officer who had just brandished his gun.

This was innocent fun until the cops ruined it. It was not a protest. A few friends of mine made a sign that said “No War, Snowball War,” but most people who showed up just responded to an online posting suggesting a snowball flash mob. We were just having some innocent fun and the snowball fight was all fun, games, and smiles.

Then all of a sudden a shiny red Hummer comes to a halt near us and a man comes out brandishing a gun. Seems he was a bit perturbed that his shiny gas-guzzler, an army-style vehicle that is designed to withstand the grizzliest of collisions, was hit by snowballs. Everyone in my vicinity yells, “Game off, everyone. That man has a gun.” I run over to help calm people down.

The guy has put his gun away and taken out a walkie-talkie. He is pushing and yelling at a reveler. Cops roll up on the scene within moments, as if they’d been waiting just around the corner. An officer walks up. I point out to the officer the guy who has the gun, and he tells me, as confused as I am, “What? That’s a detective.”

The violent man is yelling and at one point aggressively pushes one of my activist friends (the man in the video above who says that he intends to report the officer) up onto the curb. My friend points out that he is acting extremely violently. Then the officer pushes my friend again. He does so via an aggressive gesture with the index finger of his right hand.

Verbal jousting ensues. Activists, we know when our rights are being violated, and we all know that they had been violated just then. We are yelling, but no one besides the officer is doing anything but shouting. Shouting is not illegal. The other police and the other snowball fighters were de-escalating the situation, and we got his name – Detective Baylor – but not his badge number.

Then, one more snowball hit Detective Baylor in the cheek.

Detective Baylor went completely ballistic, running into the crowd and pushing people over to get to the person he thought threw that last snowball. Man, this guy cannot take a joke. He pulled his perceived attacker, a young man with a furry hat, out of the crowd and over to the front of the Hummer. Then, police proceeded to drive all of us to the sidewalk.

I tell Detective Baylor, “You have completely ruined a fun and innocent event.” Detective Baylor tells me that “that snowball could have damaged my car.” Gesturing to his car, I point out to the officer that his car is covered with snow, what harm could one more snowball do? At that point the officer started walking back to his car.

Soon after, the young man with the furry hat was let go. The other police told us to disperse.

Our fun was over…

I think the only thing to do in this situation is to keep asserting our basic, fundamental freedoms: To have fun as if our lives depended on it, and being fiercely creative about it, even if it means we use (gasp!) snowballs!


Filed under: activism, lacy's life, media

One Response

  1. I didn’t watch the video but seriously? The guy with the Hummer thought that it would be damaged by frozen water.

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