(CN) – A Baltimore police officer was properly fired after an incident with skateboarders that wound up on YouTube, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals wrote.
Salvatore Rivieri was patrolling the Inner Harbor one day in the summer of 2007 when he observed several youths skateboarding in a prohibited area.
One of the skateboarders, Eric Bush, refused to hand over his skateboard, and Rivieri took him down to the ground.
A friend of Bush captured the incident on video and the footage made its way to YouTube. The national media covered the incident.
The Baltimore Police Department reprimanded Rivieri for the incident for failure to issue Bush a Citizen/Police Contact Receipt and failure to file a Miscellaneous Incident Report.
The administrative hearing board found Rivieri not guilty of assault, use of profane language and unnecessary use of force.
While the board recommended a six-day suspension, Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefield III fired Rivieri, citing his conduct in the video and its widespread viewing.
“His conduct, as captured on video, has brought discredit upon and undermined the public confidence in Officer Rivieri and the Baltimore Police Department, on a local, national and even international scale,” Bealefield stated.
Rivieri took the case to circuit court, which ruled in favor of the police department. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals also ruled that the department’s termination of Rivieri was lawful.
“There was substantial evidence to support the conclusion that appellant lacked the ‘ability to interact effectively with the citizens of Baltimore,’ and ‘ability to carry out the Department’s mission for improved public relations,” wrote Judge James Eyler on the court’s behalf.