Officer Suspended After Skateboarder Rant

Video on You Tube showed Baltimore police officer berating a teen.

ByABC News via logo
February 13, 2008, 7:58 AM

Feb. 13, 2008 — -- A veteran Baltimore police officer was suspended after a video appeared on YouTube showing him manhandling a 14-year-old skateboarder.

The video, which was reportedly shot during the summer and just recently appeared on YouTube, begins with Officer Salvatore Rivieri approaching a group of teens on skateboards.

"You're not allowed to ride your skateboards here," Rivieri tells two teenage skateboarders.

"We were just rolling by. I didn't hear him because I had my iPod on," said Eric Bush, the teen who bore the brunt of Rivieri's wrath.

On the video, Bush is seen referring to Rivieri as "dude," and the officer responds with force, shoving Bush to the ground.

"I was scared. I didn't know if he was going to punch me," said Bush.

He wasn't scared speechless though, as Bush continued to refer to Rivieri as "dude."

"I didn't do anything dude," Bush says again on the video, this time inciting a rant from Rivieri.

"Obviously your parents don't put your foot in your butt quite enough, because you don't understand the meaning of the word respect. You better learn how to speak. I'm not 'man,' I'm not 'dude.' I am Officer Rivieri!" he shouts.

"I was very upset," Bush's mother, Peggy Miller, said of watching the video.

Although skateboarding in the area wasn't allowed, she says the officer was out of line. "If I were to go to my job and I were to get upset with someone who called me dude three times and tackled [them], I'd be terminated immediately."

The Baltimore Police Department partially agreed. Rivieri, who has no complaints on his record, was suspended with pay.

"We don't know what happened before the video clip. We don't know what happened after. But there are obviously some things to be concerned about there," said Sterling Clifford, a spokesman for the Baltimore police.

ABC News showed the video to Harris Stratyner, a psychologist who deals with confrontation.

"You watch the video and you say, 'Gee that kid was disrespectful.' And then you see the police officer and you forget all about the kid calling him dude, because his actions were so outrageous," Stratyner said.