Firing Of Officer Seen In YouTube Video Stands

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — When a  Baltimore City cop went off on a young skateboarder, it was caught on tape.  When it hit the Internet, it ended up costing the officer his job.

Alex DeMetrick reports the officer went to court Monday to get that job back.

When the YouTube video first surfaced, it launched a firestorm of controversy as Salvatore Rivieri confronted a young skateboarder at the Inner Harbor.

His actions led to his dismissal last year and into a courtroom Monday, challenging Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld’s decision to terminate him.  His lawyer said it was department embarrassment, not wrongdoing, that cost Rivieri his job.

“In all due respect to the commissioner –I’ve known him for years and I have a lot of respect for him– I think he overreacted,” said Michael Marshall, Rivieri’s lawyer.

The department’s own trial board found Rivieri guilty of general misconduct and failure to file paperwork about the incident. But he was found not guilty of more serious charges, including use of excessive force, pushing, using a headlock and abusive language. A trial board recommended only a six-day suspension without pay. But the commissioner ignored that recommendation, and fired Rivieri.

“That conduct and that language related to charges that the officer was found not guilty of. So to fire him for that, you’re essentially firing him for something he was found not guilty of,” said Marshall.

Judge Sylvester Cox ruled Monday Bealefeld did not act in an arbitrary or capricious manner, noting the trial board’s recommendations are not binding. Cox let the termination stand.

Rivieri is a 19-year veteran with the police department. He was one year away from retirement when he was fired.  As a result, he loses his full pension.

Rivieri has the right to appeal Monday’s decision. His lawyer expects that to happen.

More from Alex DeMetrick
  • z

    Sorry Mr. Rivieri, but you got what you deserved…..This was a kid, for God’s sake! Next time you’ll think before you act….Dude!

    • phil f

      , you are just as ignorant of the facts as all the rest of the poor whit trash that sided with the jerkoff and his family. I hope u need the police for something and they take too long to do justice on your behalf.

    • John Owens

      Apparently you are the type of degenerate trash that is the problem with this nation. It is individuals like you who should be put in a cage where you can not polute rest of world let alone breed anymore of you.

  • CAMRY1

    I have no idea why he was fired, this happens to inner city kids all the time.. I guess when a minority cop does it to a caucasian teen, which should have been illegal to video tape anyway, he has no chance in heII of keeping his job.. If I was that cop I would have confiscated that camera and like they say, no evidence no crime!!

    • Das Jamie Erfahrung

      Why should it be illegal to video tape? It’s a public place AND it’s a tourist destination. That would be stupid of the city to not allow video taping, when they do it themselves. Cops need to be on camera just as well because they aren’t always model citizens neither. Cop or not, he doesn’t have a right to assault a child.

    • Ron Shark

      Please, race has nothing to do with this It was blatantly obvious they were filming, so it’s his damn fault for not having them shut it off. Regardless, the Inner Harbor would have held hundreds of witnesses to his power tripping bullying. That kid didn’t bring disgrace to the badge and the department, the officer did and since it went national he lost his job because of it. If you can’t keep your cool with a little kid how are you supposed to serve and protect in a real life threatening situation?

    • Mr Jude

      How’s the shallow end of the gene pool?

    • vinnie

      SORRY buddy but when you step out of your front door no matter who you are you are allowed to be video taped

    • Hi Ho

      Dude, it’s not illegal to record police officers in the performance of their duties. The wire-tap law does not apply.

    • 11Bravo

      It is not illegal to tape an officer in a public place while performing public duties as there is no presumption of privacy in public and or common areas per supreme court. Doesn’t matter the race of the kid, This wasnt his first time making it on youtube for abuse of authority. It is officers like this that abuse their power and assault people of all race, color and creed. He got what was legally coming to him. That child posed NO threat and the officer violated the escalation of force procedures and policy. Now he is paying the price.

  • einarjolle

    That officer was being very clear from the start!!! That kid provoked him because he knew people were filming it all along.Everybody knowsthey cant justgo skatingin the middleof the harborplace withsmall children and tourists.It is a promanade walkway for everyone not a skate park! He did deserve a week off for losing his coolbut if it were me with that badge I would have explained exactly why it wasnt allowed and understood that every young kid isnt a punk jerk.There is just not many fun places nearby to hang out n play! I think everyone overreacted and still is.If it wasnt for the people being police it would really be the wild wild west downtown!!!

    • wake up

      It’s not illegal to “disrespect” a police officer. You can stick a middle finger in an officer’s face…Not Illegal. You can call him A-Hole if you want. Not illegal. Some people claim it is disorderly conduct, but court case after court case proves that it is protected behavior.

      It is illegal for the “Dude” to touch the children without any lawful purpose.

  • larrybigdic

    Maybe this taco head can get work @ Majestic towing with all his crooked cousins.

    • rick

      Now thats funny right there,i dont care who you are you got to agree

      • Julz

        LMAO Hell yea!!

  • RegularEd

    Salvatore Rivieri = taco head? C’mon larrybigdic. Are you are so ignorant that you can’t even get your ethnic slurs straight? Nice post.

  • z

    As an officer with 19 years experience, how could he let a teen age kid push his buttons like that?! 99% of the officers on the Balto. City Police force I would entrust with my life… The other 1%, like this officer……uh, no thanks..

  • Papi

    The punk kid got exactly what he deserved. The cop should get a medal, not lose his job and his pension. Bealfield has his head stuck where the sun never shines. I am SO GLAD that I don’t live in that rat hole of as city.

    • chalkie

      If he knew he was going to loose his job for this. I think he should haved tasered the little punk. Did you see this kids parents on top of it. He has as much of a chance at life , as I do peeing on a building on fire and putting it out.

    • Jude

      Nah, someone should treat him the way he treated the kid. See how he likes it.

  • Joel

    The thing is,, there is another incident that was also caught on tape and on youtube,, same officer,, so it wasn’t an isolated incident. HOWEVER, I don’t think he should loose his pension over it. He did 19 years of what Im guessing was very goo work for the city that bleeds, and should be rewarded for it. Just saying.

    • Jude

      19 years or not, that’s what happens when you are fired from ANYWHERE for misconduct, just about. That’s why it’s important to play by the rules if you want to keep your pension. Pensions are tax payer supplied in this case, and I don’t think the tax payers should be giving this ass money.

  • Team Rivieri

    I support this officer all the way, the kid had it coming to him.

  • gary

    he can always get a job at the DUDE RANCH.

  • Chalkie

    The least the city could have forced him to ride a desk to his retirement date. 19 years of service in this city, he deserved to be rewarded on that merit alone. Then you got kids like this setting cops up, then they cry the blues. What happen to respecting the law. This kid will be in jail or dead before he is 21. He will do something like this to the wrong person in this city. And lets face it this city, they kill people for the fun of it. I hope this kid gets himself straight and maybe realizes the mistake that he made by doing this,. I mean he cost a man his job and retirement. I did something like this, I would have to have my fathers boot removed from my butt.

    • TackyJackie

      Im sorry Chalkie, I know this family and this kid personally and I find it very disrespectful that you speak of someone that you dont know this way. I agree that he should have received his pension, after all Sheila Dixon go to keep hers. But to speak about a kid you dont know?! Grow up. These kids were skateboarding, not dealing drugs. And this officer assaulted a kid/teen. There was no reason that he needed to push him to the ground. And so what he called him dude. Get over it. He wasnt intentionally being disrespectful, its the way he talks. Like most kids at that age. Maybe the officer should have thought about how to approach the situation before just throwing the kid to the ground.

      And to a previous commenter…the video was legal and should be legal, its public grounds. I have to say that i am mostly pleased with the result of this case.

      • DJHotLan

        Are you kidding me? When I was fourteen, regardless of how I talked with my friends, I still spoke with respect to ANY and ALL authority figures. It’s enabling like this that allows some snot nosed punk to disrespect anybody he wants without repercussions. If he was skating through the harbor and nothing was done (which will happen after this) and hurt your kid, friend or family member you would be up in arms wondering where the discipline was. Plus, people giving him the excuse of being a kid, he’s old enough I’m sure to read and understand a sign and chose not to. I agree that the Officer should have kept somewhat of a cooler head but cops aren’t verbal mental and/or physical punching bags for the public and then supposed to be nice to them. If you treat someone (Officer or indifferent) with disrespect, expect to be disrespected back and don’t think that age, sex, race or your ignorance on how you talk to someone will be an excuse.

    • Ron Shark

      False, the officer’s actions lost him his job. Being disrespectful is not against the law. This kid didn’t make the officer shove him, this kid didn’t make the officer threaten him. All of this happened by the officer’s own will. He could have chosen to act calmly and simply warn the kids or fine them on the spot if he hates skaters so much and he would have been in the right. Everything in the video happened because the officer came into the situation with an enormous attitude and a power trip. As soon as he approaches them he was on the attack. Look at how sheepish those kids are. He couldn’t simply control that situation? 19 years on the force and he can’t handle a little kid? That’s rather sad.

      • Jude

        Go Team Ron!

  • Jimmy

    The kid got away with being disrespectful. This officer tried give him some discipline, something I am sure outrageous does not get at home.

    I think it’s just outrageous that this man lost his pension over this. God help us. I am sure the kid will grow up to be a wonderful father, “NOT.”

  • Barb

    I completely agree with Jimmy and I was outraged when I first read this was going to court. This just reinforces to the skateboarder that he can do what he wants and show a blatant disrespect for the law. And it costs the officer his pension!? SAD! No wonder Baltimore’s going to he&& in a handbasket, the officer’s can’t do their jobs.

  • beth

    Um, this happened 3 years ago…..
    Anyway, regardless of how long he was a cop or what his record was, his actions that day speak of his character. His reactions were knee-jerk and unnecessary. I mean, look at the first thing he says:
    “Hey, I’m talking to you, do you hear me? Don’t get defensive with me son or you’ll spend some time in juvenile…. Don’t back talk me I’m not your father, you give that attitude to your father, you give it to me I’ll smack you upside the head.”
    Yea, sorry, I don’t see anywhere in that that would make me respect that person, authority figure or not. The kid wasn’t saying anything. All he said was “oh ok I didn’t hear you”. Doesn’t sound like back talk to me….
    This is on top of the physical assault: at 0:39, he grabs the kids skateboard (no reasonable cause) and then puts him in a headlock. Um, what was the reason for that?

    This whole thing could’ve been avoided if he had just said “This area is not for skateboarding, please leave and if I see you here again I’ll fine you (or whatever happens)” or he could’ve fined them right there and then saw them off. Instead HE got defensive, and verbally and physically assaulted the kids. He kept saying “I’m not your father”, but all it looked like to me was some dad spanking his kid. Law enforcement officers are NOT punishers, they do not decide whether or not someone is guilty, and they certainly do not assault children who are of no threat to them.
    This man deserves no pity. 19 years, you think he would’ve figured out how to conduct himself.

  • Jen

    We gave Sheila Dixon her full pension even after she was found guilty and removed from office. This officer serves 19 yrs of what must have been good work and he loses his pension. If we keep taking away the power and respect for police officers the city is just going to get worse.

    • Jude

      And like him, she didn’t deserve it.

  • john

    The little a–hole kid needs a good A– wippen God knows he did and dont get it at home just somemore trash looking for some money from aman that wass doing his job and there are signs up no skating boarding so what the hell do the signs mean then you can not ride your bike there so why even have cops down there just let the wrothless kids run the inner harbor shot each other push them in the water and we dont have to think about them anymore . If the MAYOR STOPS FAST THE CHEIF HEAD WILL GO UP HER A–

    • Jude

      I agree, Rivieri DOES need a good
      a– wippen”.

  • Jeff

    Serving in Baltimore City for 19 years deserves more than getting kicked to the curb and losing your pension for this incident. Whether you agree with what he did or not, putting your life on the line everday you put on the uniform for 19 years deserves something. I know a lot of people don’t like the police around here, but you try doing what they do for as little as they make. You look at the underbelly of a city like Baltimore for 19 years and see that filth day in and day out and see how you feel at the end. Desk duty for his last year should have been the worst thing he got.

    • Jude

      Why, though? He basically committed a crime, and so he was let go. The tax payers shouldn’t have to pay him for the rest of his life when he lost their trust by violating it and breaking the law and procedures in the process.

  • toni evans

    See it’s the law that said we can not beat our kids or discipline them in such a way but it’s ok for them to beat and discipline….The Law is only getting what they ask for, No beating and no discipline from the parents and this iswhat they get… disrespectful kids.

  • Dooooooood

    Fired yes but should keep his pension with counseling. This wasn’t racial but it was overkill. After 19 years in that city I’d probably be worse than him. Get him some much needed help. This cop already hated skateboarders and now this kid will hate all cops.

  • Lady Shirley

    General misconduct? The officer choke-holded the young boy then roughly shoved him to the ground. Had an adult done that to a child in public, they would have been arrested. The parents of the lad should have had the officer arrested and charged with child abuse! The officer misused his authroity & is now reaping the rewards of his actions. Let that be a lesson to others.

  • MAF

    I think police officers have engaged in aggressive behavior many times over. I sympathize with officers and that they have difficult jobs and they put their lives on the line. But I can’t help but think about former Mayor Sheila Dixon and she steals and yet was able to resign but get her pension. Are we showing more favor toward elected officials than we are toward the front line workers? The cop was wrong, he bullied the kids. He should have gone to thedoctor and said he is mentally stressed, used his leave and than retire at 20 years. I mean Sheila and getting a hefty pension for being a their.

  • MAF

    Sorry for the errors, I typed in a hurry because if you don’t type quickly, Wjz will wipe out the post. I mean thief in the end of my paragraph instead of their.

  • Bowens-Williams Jacqueline

    if a parent did this it would be child abuse he got what he deserved give the power back to the parents

  • juan tahn amera

    Dude. Dude. Duuuuuuuuude! The real shame is that officer bigshorts ravioli will exhaust the appeals over his firing, and then will sue the city, who will settle for a helfty settlement. Choke-holding a young boy like that! The entire BPD should be ashamed, and our public servants should be held to a higher standard. No pension? He deserves at the very least an assault and battery conviction on his record. Good riddance to bad trash. If you want some luaghs to to youtube and search “officer rivieri” and see some of the parodies posted.

  • pigeon

    “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”. Please let this be the end of it!
    Get on to more pressing business – like find out by whom and why 40+ bullets were fired, killing a police officer and another individual.
    And, get rid of any and all involved in the most recent police scandal.
    Let those who did wrong live up to it and pay their dues.

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