Police shift Inner Harbor patrol command

April 23, 2008|By Annie Linskey | Annie Linskey,Sun reporter

The Baltimore Police Department has made wholesale changes to the leadership of the unit that patrols the city's Inner Harbor in the wake of a highly publicized incident in which an officer berated a young skateboarder, put the boy in a headlock and then threw him to the ground.

A new lieutenant and a new sergeant took command of the 12 officers charged with patrolling the area from Fells Point to Harbor East.

FOR THE RECORD - An article published in yesterday's Maryland section misstated the area patrolled by the Inner Harbor police unit. Those officers are responsible for the waterfront promenade from the edge of Federal Hill near Key Highway to the Fallsway, near Piers 5 and 6.
The Sun regrets the errors.

Lt. Samuel Hood III had formerly been a supervisor in the department's planning and research division. The new sergeant, Henry Wagstaff, had been assigned to special operations.

The department added two officers to the squad and assigned more vehicles in the unit to increase visibility. Also, the officers assigned to the unit attended additional sensitivity training.

"Given the extreme nature of that incident, we thought it was important for the officers to brush up on their interpersonal skills," said Sterling Clifford, a spokesman for the city Police Department.

In early February, a 3 1/2 -minute video surfaced on YouTube showing Officer Salvatore Rivieri confronting a young skateboarder in the Inner Harbor. The boy repeatedly refers to the officer as "dude," angering Rivieri. "Sit down. I'm not a dude," Rivieri says at one point. He then pushes a boy to the ground and walks away with his skateboard.

The video was viewed hundreds of thousands of times and prompted outrage.

After the video surfaced, Rivieri was assigned to administrative duties and his police powers were suspended. The investigation is continuing.

annie.linskey@baltsun.com

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