Salvatore Rivieri (Will the real Rod Farva please stand up?)

Does anyone wonder if Salvatore Rivieri was the inspiration for the Farva character in Super Troopers? Watch this video and judge for yourself.

This is what happens when you hire police officers without screening their psychological profile first.

Officer Salvatore Rivieri, a 17-year veteran of the Baltimore police force, is the subject of an internal-affairs investigation for his behavior in the video below.

Wow, talk about Eric Cartman syndrome.

Jon Katz says, about the incident:

Here’s another example why people should shine the light of day on police abuse with their cameraphones, and why strong legal protections need to be in place for videotaping, photographing, and recording police. This abortion of justice by this now-suspended cop took place in broad daylight near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, which ordinarily is swarming with visitors, working people, and car traffic throughout daylight hours. If this cop was ready to be so abusive in such a public place, I shudder to think what he tried to get away with under the cover of darkness. (source)


I sadly predict that Officer Rivieri will receive no punishment for his actions. I’m stunned that anyone thinks that his behavior was appropriate. (Survey on Baltimore Sun site)

I wonder how he treats his wife and children.

It seems strange that in a political climate where it seems like calls for “penalty enhancements” and new laws echo from every crevice and cranny, there are so few calls for checks on police abuse. I recall a trip to Berlin, of all places, and a police officer stopped me and a friend because we had three bicycles with us (another friend got really drunk and couldn’t possibly ride his home). I immediately went into dealing with the police mode. My friend, Leo, respectfully declined to show his ID. I thought “man, we’re going to jail.” My limited knowledge of German was enough to tell me that we were going to get a nightstick beat-down.

But then the cops apologized for disturbing us and told us to have a good evening. Leo explained to me that Germans have had their share of over-zealous police, what with the nazis and the East German Stasi and all. He started telling me about laws they have in Germany that sound exactly like the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments. I sadly told him that we have those in America too, but they don’t mean a thing anymore. Sadly, this was in 1991, before the Bill of Rights really took a beating.

I then considered the irony… that you are more free standing on soil that was part of the third reich than on soil that is fertilized with blood spilled during the American Revolution.

If you are reading this, I blame you for that. Don’t worry, I blame myself too. We have all sat back and allowed this to happen.

It isn’t that we don’t love our freedom. It is that it has been nibbled away, tiny piece by tiny piece.

“Liberty—the freedom from unwarranted intrusion by government—is as easily lost through insistent nibbles by government officials who seek to do their jobs too well as by those whose purpose it is to oppress; the piranha can be as deadly as the shark.” —United States v. $124,570, 873 F.2d 1240, 1246 (9th Cir. 1989)

You, and I, are part of the problem — unless we get off our asses and become part of the solution.

At the very least, pick up a piece of paper, a pen, an envelope, and a stamp (or fax a letter) to Baltimore’s Mayor telling her exactly how you feel about this incident. I don’t care if Rivieri’s prior 17 years of service are completely unblemished. He is clearly mentally unstable, clearly abusive, and just imagine what he would have done if this was under cover of night somewhere. This man shouldn’t be a meter maid, let alone a cop. Here is Mayor Dixon’s info. Let her know how you feel, especially if you happen to live in Baltimore.

Mayor Sheila Dixon
City Hall, Room 250
100 N. Holliday Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
Phone (410) 396-3835
Fax (410) 576-9425

And no… I’m not anti-cop (not in the least). Most of my experiences with the police have been positive. I want scumbags like this off the force to make room for more good cops. For every Rivieri, there are 10 young and idealistic public servants who would love to have his job. Lets give it to one of them.

Oh, and if you bump into Officer Rivieri, call him “dude”. Well, either that or Officer Farva.


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27 Responses to Salvatore Rivieri (Will the real Rod Farva please stand up?)

  1. Fanakapan says:

    Hummmm, richly rewarding that this guys life, thanks to Google, and Youtube, will remembered for one thing only.

    Yet one more advantage to the Internet.

  2. if you listen to the audio, right at the end, he says “You got that camera on? If I find myself on … “ and then the audio cuts off.

    How much you wanna bet it said “youtube”?

  3. petersonion says:

    Oh Boohoo, a kid got bitched out by a cop and the cop took his skateboard. I can’t believe that people think he should be fired over this: what a reactionary response.

    Did anyone notice how the cop was yelling at only one kid, how he even said to that one kid, “your friends have brains in their head, they know when to shut their mouths”? That’s most likely because the kid wouldn’t shut his mouth; and honestly, I don’t think any cop should have to stand for being called “dude” and “man” by a punk kid. — This kid will be better off for having been bitched out and reprimanded, since his parents probably give him no discipline.

    17 years in a job where he could be shot and killed, 17 years in a public service post with insufficient pay, and people want him fired over this? How shameful.

    • Silver Fang says:

      Can you please answer for me what this young man was doing in the first place to merit being treated the way he was by Rivieri? Skateboarding is simply a form of transportation, the same as bicycling. Why should a young skateboarder be subject to this abuse of power?

  4. I don’t so much mind the cop yelling at the kid. Although even that was uncalled for, it certainly doesn’t warrant my diatribe.

    The cop crossed the line when he put his hands on the kid. For that, he belongs in the unemployment line and in the defendant’s chair.

    I agree with one of your sentiments — cops are not paid enough. The next time the police force seeks a pay raise, how do you think that officer Rivieri’s conduct will impact the city council’s decision? Do you think that the public wants to give the cops a pay raise when they see this kind of behavior?

    If police departments engaged in a concerted effort to root out this kind of cop, you can bet that there would be a lot more citizens calling for them to be paid better. Even if you don’t think that Rivieri’s conduct is deplorable, the public relations aspect of it alone should warrant his firing.

    • Drew Peacock says:

      No, dude, the cop didn’t cross any lines. The punk that was skating in a place where it isn’t allowed — hello? against the law? — who then wouldn’t sit down and shut up is the one who crossed the line.

      Police deal with far more dangerous situations than that but the kid was standing, refusing to sit and holding that skateboard in a way he could have swung it. The cop eliminated that potential threat in an extremely safe way for everybody. The kid wasn’t hurt.

      I commend the officer for taking the time and energy to try and scare a little sense into that little punk without using anything but a simple, safe, controlled takedown. He didn’t even use profanity.

      What you fail to recognize is the cop-law breaker relationship is not peer-to-peer. The kid put himself into that situation by breaking the law. The cop controlled the situation in a safe way for everyone.

      Some idiots just aren’t happy unless we’re all pissing and moaning about every little thing our officers do. When I watched the video, I honestly thought the reaction would be “Awesome job, cop!”

      • Brilliant. If only Buck v. Bell were still the state of the law.

        • Tanner Andrews says:

          ) … If only Buck v. Bell were still …
          I don’t think they study Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200, in law schools any more. Yes, it does rank up there in the pantheon of cases, along with Betts v. Brady, 316 U.S. 455, and it appears more permanent.

          The basic message in both cases is that we should trust our govt to do the right thing for us and to ask fewer questions. Who could argue with that?

  5. “Dude” was way out of line. Screw the MLB investigations, Congress needs to focus on the Baltimore PD roid infestation. I was a skater as a kid and put up with that crap all the time. I was even threatened by the Mayor.

    I am gonna start handing out a “Skater’s bill of rights” to every kid I see. The first question will be, “Am I being detained?”

  6. Grey Fox says:

    Baltimore is a shit hole, I know because I work there at one of the many financial firms. Police officers in Baltimore are generally like this to everyone expect other agents of the law and lawyers. If you are a regular person, or as they say “civilian” then you are in deep shit if they want to ruin your day. I had an officer call me “civilian” once which I find to be a militaristic term. I reminded her that I am a “citizen” and would prefer to be called that if the officer would not call me by my proper name after I identified myself. She said I had no idea what it is like to have to patrol around Fells Point all day. Fells Point is a tourist spot and safe compared to the rest of Baltimore. If patrolling Fells Point puts a cop on edge they are probably in the wrong line of work. As for that fat asshole who attacked that kid they need to put him on dispatch for awhile.

  7. FuddMan says:

    I was thoroughly amused, yet very unsurprised with the reaction from the asshole cop. If you have ever been detained for any reason, no matter how big or small, you will find that almost all cops are in fact scummier than most scumbags they arrest. It must be something in their training that makes them huge egotistical assholees. At a university festival just last year I was simply plucked from the place I was at with some friends, arrested quite violently. The arresting officer found it necessary to put both my friend and I in chokeholds before cuffing us both. Even though we offered no resistance. Scary? kinda. There was no reason for it other than the fact that a giant party had taken over the University of B.C and the police were arresting people left,right, and center. Cops aren’t just dicks in the U.S. They’re dicks up here in Canada too.
    Ah, the joys of youtube. Forget the whole cop asaulting a kid. Raise your hand if you found that video mildly entertaining.

  8. It’s not just this incident in Baltimore, It’s all over the country. The police are out of control in just about every city in the U.S. and Canada. Search “Police Brutality” on YouTube and dozens of videos come up. It’s not just teenage boys on skateboards that incite police anger, It’s little old ladies who are beaten and dragged across the pavement at a St.Patricks day parade in Colorado Springs, it’s a 70 year old man in New Orleans hand cuffed and beaten to a pulp by at least four officers, a parapalegic man was throw from his wheelchair and slammed on to the floor in Hillsborough County FL, the most shocking video I’ve ever seen is a woman in Stark County Ohio who was a victim of an assualt called the police, SHE (the victim of the assault) was arrested taken to the police station beaten and strip searched by two male officers and a half a dozen female officers, there is even a video of police pepper spraying a woman holding an infant. It is obvious that the police across this country have a hatred and distain for the people that they are paid to protect. I believe the police and sheriff deputies in most cities/counties in this country are under educated and are often exposed to good people who are in the worst situations of their lives. Who aren’t acting they way they normaly would and the police aren’t trained or equiped to deal with these people or have become so jadded they just don’t care anymore, which is what appears to be the case of Officer Riveiri. The best way for us to protest ourselves from this type of abuse appears to be to always be armed with a video camera, strict laws must be enacted in which police can not touch, alter, erase or otherwise tamper with our cameras. If arrested ones camera MUST be alowed to stay with the defendant, it is all to easy for footage or even the camera to be damaged or destroyed. Our only line of defense from brutality by the ones who are commisioned to protect us. Look at the reactions of most police officers who are taped and put on Youtube, in most cases they hate being filmed and are often violent and abusive to people who tape them. IT IS NOT ILLEAGAL TO FILM THE POLICE. They are PUBLIC servants and have no right to privacy while wearing a uniform. Undercover police operations and of duty officers are an expetion to this, but in almost all cases it is simply not illeagal to film police officers in thier line of duty. Officers must be made aware of this and should act as if they are always being taped and have NO RIGHT WHATSOEVER to alter, damage or erase footage or indimidate and harass those who are not breaking any laws and are simply by standers taping the police.

  9. […] Earlier post: Salvatore Rivieri (Will the real Rod Farva please stand up?) […]

  10. Dan says:

    petersonion – the cop was way out of line. He broke the law, period. It’s not just the man handling of someone’s kid with no possible justification. The yelling was also way out of line. Some of what he said could be construed as a subtle threat against the kid’s life!

    Maybe the kid was a little mouthy before the tape started. Big deal. This is the U.S. and unless your comments escalate to verbal threats or abuse, you have the right to speak your opinion about an officer in public.

    On the tape we have the kid saying “OK, I didn’t hear you.” That leads one to believe that he was about to comply with the officer and leave the area. The officer should have given him a chance to do so and leave it at that. Instead he purposely escalated the situation. THAT IS NOT HIS JOB. This isn’t a game. This is someone’s life, someone’s civil rights. Being under 18 doesn’t change that.

    That officer should be in jail for assault and battery. The kid’s family should file a Federal 1983 civil action against the officer for violation of the kid’s civil rights.

    I know too many people who fear cops more than criminals. These are friends who have nothing criminal in their backgrounds. There is something wrong with our country when people who have absolutely no reason to fear the police do in fact fear the police!

    I’m tired of the constant barrage of stories of police brutality. THEY WORK FOR US! It’s high time we started firing any cops who can’t handle their job.

  11. bsbp says:

    So anyone want to tell me what the skating boarding laws in Baltimore are?
    Anyone want to take a guess as to if these kids were skating boarding in a prohibited area?

    Since we’re speculating about how this cop treats his wife and kids, want to speculate about waht the kid said or did before the video clip begins? Nothing more going on here than the misguided belief that the police are doormats for society who’s only purpose is to play ‘meat shield’ when you’re in trouble.

    I grew up skate boarding, hanging on corners and drinking at REC centers in Philadelphia. Guess what, we knew what we were doing was in large part wrong and we had the sense to run when the cops pulled up. If we weren’t lucky enough to get away we sure as hell weren’t stupid enough to be disrespectful.

    The kids were clearly in the wrong, and the one with the least amount of parental presence didn’t seem to realize that just because mom and dad are slack doesn’t mean everyone else is. So he got his board confiscated for skating in a prohibited area, sounds like something that happens a lot. Any one want to discuss the laws on confiscation of property in Baltimore?

    Next time someone breaks into your car, spray paints your fence, or otherwise vandalizes your property don;t call the cops, you wouldn;t want them to ‘brutalize’ kids just being kids.

    • Silver Fang says:

      Skateboarding is not the same thing as breaking into a car or spray painting a fence. It’s a lawful form of transportation, the same as riding a bicycle.

      Why skateboarders are made to put up with this abuse is beyond me.

  12. You will respect my Authoritaaa says:

    Petersonian- or should I say Officer Petersonian….What legal system do you subscribe to that justifies a cop that clearly cannot control his emotions attacking and threatening a 14 year old kid? What did that kid do to deserve that? The answer is nothing! I love how police apologists defend their horrible behavior with comments like “We don’t know what the kid said before the tape rolled” and “these cops are under tremendous pressure”, “they are underpaid and overworked”. Give me a break, they chose what they do and most cops love their jobs. The truth is that most people do not join the police force because of their burning desire to help their fellow man. They join because of the power that they are given. Most of them never had that type of power before they became police and do not have that kind of power in any other aspect of their lives. So they get frustrated and begin to abuse the power that they do have. There is a reason that domestic violence is present in 40% of police households. The horrible part is that their superiors oftentimes condone and excuse their behavior. Like the Sheriff in Ohio that condones 7 of his officers holding a woman down and strip searching her after they arrested her for accidentally giving an officer the wrong identification.

    Petersonian, you are either an officer or related to an officer, because most American citizens have witnessed abusive cops and the destruction that they can cause and are sick of it. Only a fool could excuse that behavior. There are plenty of good cops out there, but there are way too many bad cops. Just like the catholic priest scandal where it was shown that not only were there way too many child abusers in the church, there was also a mind-blowing amount of cover up, police are on their way towards their own day of reckoning.

  13. copwatch says:

    Wow bsbp. They didnt steal or vandalize, but way to bring up something totally irrelevant to the situation. pigs are good for protecting citizens against actual criminals, and thats about it. if they were breaking a law, then the officer had a right to issue a citation in a professional matter. That does not entail manhandling someone a quarter of his size, pushing him down, and remarking on the way he chooses to speak. What a puss….lets see you put down that gun and take of that badge and try and do that to me tough guy. Mr Officer Riviera was most likely picked on in high school, and apparently still carries a lot of the pain on his sleeve. What a complex. And i highly doubt any woman would ever marry that man.

  14. bsbp says:

    Copwatch, have you read the replies to this thread, have you read your own reply, bringing things up totally irrelevant to the situation? Like speculation on the guy’s home life? But speculation about what happened before the clip begins is irrelevant?

    You do understand that failing to act in an appropriate and respectful manner can be construed in a variety of fashions by cops, judges and the like, right? So I have to ask you, Cap’n badass, if the cop was so out of line, how come it was only one of clearly a group of kids cracking badass? How come the others had the sense to shut up and move along?

    As for your hyperbole, what does being a police officer entail, it’s so clear you’re well versed in the ins and outs of performing that job. He took the board away from a ckid who clear wasn’t going to head the the order to stop skating in an area where skating is prohibited. The kid doesn’t have a right to resist, he should have given up the board.

    Funniest thing in your post is of course, should a cop, any cop take you up on your offer, put his gun down, take off the badge and beat your ass like you so richly deserve. You’d still cry policde brutality and look for a lawyer.

    And if you aren’t aware of the damage skateboarding does to granite and marble surfaces like those in Baltimore and Philadelphia, you probably wouldn’t understand how the situation falls under both vanadalism and trespassing violations. Then again you probably never dealt with the cops while skateboarding in an environment like Philadelphia or Baltimore.

  15. Kahedhros says:

    I cannot believe ANYONE is defending this fuck off of a cop, I don’t give a fuck what the kid did, no way in hell should the cop have done what he did. If you can’t handle the job, quit, don’t take it out on us “citizens”, I’ve had my own very similar encounters with officers of the “law” it makes me sick and is why I am going to law school. I was thrown to the ground with a gun in my face after being completely surrounded by police cars for………………..not having my lights on while driving through downtown at night, wanna justify that one? Though they wouldn’t admit it and let us go I’m assuming they mistook us for someone we weren’t, didn’t apologize, just said we were lucky they weren’t taking us to jail and let us be on our way. This also doesn’t mean all cops are dick wads but a very large part of them are, they overuse force, demand respect, scream in your face, why? Because they are under stress, but I really don’t give a fuck, so are the rest of us. Also bsbp have you seen the other video of this guy? He is quite obviously mentally unstable and definetly should not be a cop, though 17 years on the force and still being a meter maid shows that his superiors already knew this to some extent at least. Last point, we shouldn’t have to show cops respect they don’t reciprocate, they are supposed to be civil servants, that means they serve us, we shouldn’t have to walk around in fear of law enforcement, we should feel safe when we see them, which for most of us is sadly no longer the case.

  16. blevinsj says:

    The conversation regarding the police officer’s actions went from a high brow commentary to a bar room. Everyone really needs to get a grip on reality.

    The police officer’s actions are reprehensible. The cop acted well beyond the call of duty. The skater is allowed to refer to the police officer as “dude.” The First Amendment protects the kid’s ability to refer to the officer is any number of ways. The officer cannot dictate his title. While I am not yet a lawyer, I would never force or demand everyone to call me Lawyer, Dr. or Blevins Esquire. No logical reason exists for the officer’s actions regarding the kid’s reference. In the hierarchy of titles “officer” is a mid-low rank…I consider any title granted on the sole basis of a high school diploma or GED to be presumptively low (that is my own pretentious system).

    The Constitution is again invoked when the officer begins questioning the kids. The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth Amendments protect the right of the skaters. While, in my experience, officers do not actually know what they are allowed to do…it is important that every citizen should know their rights. When confronted with the rights enumerated in these provisions, officers usually respond with “that is our procedure” or “that is what we always do.” None of these responses are accurate, appropriate or create valid defenses. The officer cannot commandeer the property of the skater and he cannot ask him any questions (beyond backgound information). It is disconcerting that the officer would affirmatively disregard the kid’s rights just to act as a vicarious parent or authority figure. The officer had NO RIGHT to place his hands on the child, especially based on the force exerted.

    The fallout of the interation is worth mentioning. In the era of the taser (no procudure governing the use) and youtube…officers need to be on their best behavior. Police Officers serve a distinct, beneficial position in American society. Generally, the police aid in our safety. However, it appears that police officers are more concerned with infringing the rights of law abiding citizens (I do not consider those that violate traffic laws or skater law to be lawless, per se). A new generation wil; growup AFRAID of police officers. The fear will breed disrepect and vigilante justice. Good people will be afraid of police officers and will be more apt to take the law in their own hands. It appears that the Fraternal Order of Police learned NOTHING from Rodney King or other bruises in their reputation…just watch COPS to see how oftern rights are violated in the name of justice…

    Remember…your rights are not ends oriented. We are all innocent until proven guilty. Just because a criminal was ultimately apprehended does not mean that the rights can be infringed.

  17. […] should have the spotlight shined in their face when they are wrong. Stensgaard wasn’t wrong here — Bryant […]

  18. […] person granted authority by the state knowingly and intentionally misuses that authority. Examples here, here, and here. Flunkiedom is when someone does essentially the same thing, but not intentionally […]

  19. psh, they do this all over says:

    Cops do this all over. I’m a tiny little young woman, and had a medical issue in public. So what do the pigs do? Pull my hair and cuff me (dislocating both shoulders), causing my to pass out, rather than reading my medicalert, when I don’t answer them in their way. The asshat was 3 of me and could have killed me.

    I hope the kid’s parents take the whole department to court.

  20. tpr says:

    petersonion is a dick

  21. […] kind of petty little douche that becomes a cop because he got beat up a lot as a kid. Rod Farva and Salvatore “dude” Rivieri come to mind. Beckner represents exactly the kind of cop that should be stripped of his badge, […]

  22. […] you videotape and publicize police misconduct like these kids […]

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