NPR logo Cop Pulls Out Gun During D.C. Snowball Fight; Investigation Under Way

Cop Pulls Out Gun During D.C. Snowball Fight; Investigation Under Way

Along with all the stories about the effect that this weekend's blizzard in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast had on travel, shopping and the daily lives of millions, there's the bizarre tale out of Washington, D.C., about an undercover police officer who pulled out a gun during a massive snowball fight in the streets of the nation's capital.

As The Washington Post reports, a couple hundred revelers showed up Saturday afternoon after a call went out on Twitter for a snowball fight at 14th and U Streets, N.W. The Post writes that:

People squealed as they hurled balls of snow across the largely deserted road. Then, a snowball or two slammed into a Hummer. The driver, a plainclothes detective whom D.C. police refused to identify, got out, drew his gun and exchanged angry words with revelers, according to video footage and witnesses.

Police said initially that the detective had not flashed his weapon. On Sunday, the officer was placed on desk duty after Twitter, blogs and YouTube appeared to show otherwise.

There are several videos you can find on YouTube that capture the scene. It's probably not a surprise that the language gets rather raw as the incident escalates, so we can't post them here. But click here, if you don't mind a few expletives, for's version. The officer appears to briefly hold the weapon at his side. He gets into some shouting matches with the crowd and and at one point drags a young man away from the others.

Here's a report that aired on Washington's WJLA-TV:

Police are investigating. The Post says the officer has been placed on desk duty.

As you can see, it was a tense situation. But it should be noted that the crowd started a chant that fit perfectly with the wacky, mostly fun nature of the event:

"You don't bring a gun to a snowball fight!"