Don't Bring a Gun to a Snowball Fight (Video)
2009-12-22 0:00


At least four distinctly different video versions were up and running Monday of a Washington, D.C. snowball fight that's turned into a police investigation and blog cause célèbre.

Organized on Twitter, an estimated 200 people turned up at an intersection in the U.S. capital during the middle of a blizzard Saturday. Witnesses said a maroon Hummer got hit by snowballs and a man got out. The crowd turned nervous and edgy when the man, a veteran police detective who police said was sent to investigate a report of an armed man, drew his own gun. Then the chant went up, "Don't bring a gun to a snowball fight."

"There was this general mood of everything's a good time, and then he pulls out a gun, and everybody's just fearful," Peter Witte, 30, told the Washington Post. "It was a little bit surreal to see somebody get out of the car with a gun."

Initially, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department said the detective, later identified as Elmer Baylor, had not drawn a gun. By Monday, however, a video posted by Washington's City Paper showed an irate Baylor asked if he had pulled a gun and admitting to the crowd, "Yes, I did, because I got hit with snowballs."

The Washington Post reported Baylor had been reassigned to desk duties after that video surfaced.

Billed as "The DC Snowpocalypse Guerrilla Snowball Fight 2009," the afternoon had been organized by Yousel Ali, a 25-year-old "former Apple Genius," according to the Post.

The Twitter feed announcing the snowball fight warned "the only way to play it safe is to bring a posse. This may be complete anarchy."

"Basically, I used a lot of my social media promotions techniques and on Twitter to really push this thing pretty big," Ali was quoted as saying. "I pretty much did this consistently until about 5 in the morning Saturday, so it was almost like 11 hours straight staying in my apartment working on this stuff."

Meanwhile, the city's local ABC-TV station reported "anti-war protestors in anarchistic garb" showed up to the event "dressed in all black with masks."

The station quoted Assistant Chief Peter Newsham as saying Baylor was responding to a 911 call reporting a man with a gun in the crowd and the detective drew his gun when he spotted the man – then realized he was also a plainclothes detective.

Initially, Newsham had said the investigation was just about whether the detective swore at the crowd. The Post quoted him Monday, however, as saying pulled a gun after being hit by a snowball "would not be justified" for a police officer.

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