Page last updated at 19:36 GMT, Sunday, 20 December 2009

US policeman 'draws gun' at Washington snowball fight

Snow pile near the White House, 20 Dec
Washington has been hit by one of the biggest snowstorms in its history

Police in the US are investigating a detective who appears to draw his gun during a mass snowball fight on the streets of Washington DC.

Video taken at the scene shows people pelting a man with snowballs after his car, a Hummer, gets stuck in the snow.

The man - not in uniform at the time - then appears to pull out a gun while an angry crowd gathers and chants: "Don't bring a gun to a snowball fight."

DC police refused to comment, telling the BBC an investigation was under way.

'Don't shoot'

At one point on the video - shown on YouTube - the man identifies himself as a "detective", but refuses to give his full name.

Then he proceeds to admit to pulling his gun.

"Yes I did because I got hit by snowballs," he tells angry residents who demand to know his badge number.

Images and video appear to show him exposing his gun briefly, always pointing towards the snow on the ground.

Panicked residents shout, "He's got a gun," but others continue to lob snowballs his way.

The confrontation, which took place on Saturday, ended only when other policemen were despatched to the scene, and managed to calm everyone down.

A spokesman for the DC Metropolitan Police Department, Det Kenny Bryson, told the BBC on Sunday that he would not comment on the allegations and refused to identify the officer involved.

Det Bryson said the department was looking into the allegations of misconduct but that there was "nothing further" to report.

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