WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - Questions are being raised tonight about the actions of a U.S. Park Police pilot who used his helicopter to chase skaters off of a reflecting pool.
Two videos show the pilot swooping low over the pond, sending up a cloud of snow.
The videos were posted on the Facebook page of Hooked on Hockey magazine, and show several young men playing hockey when the helicopter suddenly begins to descend.
The U.S. Park Police confirm it is their pilot at the controls of the helicopter on Feb. 1 – a Friday – as it slowly closes in on the pool from the direction of the Lincoln Memorial toward the eastern end of the reflecting pool.
The videos show the young men looking up at the chopper and beginning to skate away as a storm of snow is swept into the air.
On the video, one man can be heard shouting ‘We are getting off,” while others can be heard laughing.
By the voices in the video, no one appears to be in distress as the chopper hovers over the pool.
The U.S. Park Police are responsible for patrolling the monuments, as well as the reflecting pool.
It is against park service rules to skate on the pool in the winter or wade or swim in the pool in the summer.
FOX 5 has been unable to contact the people who shot the video.
One question that has gone unanswered is why Park Police chose to send a helicopter instead of an officer on foot.
Park Police have released a statement:
In this incident, several individuals were observed ice skating on the eastern end of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. Park regulations prohibit skating on the Reflecting Pool; however, we understand that the means by which the pilot chose to enforce those regulations appears inappropriate. U.S. Park Police officers hold ourselves to the highest standards of professionalism and strive to ensure that any contact with the public is respectful and appropriate. As such, we have initiated an internal investigation into the actions of our pilot.