Police Officer Selfie Facebook Video With Black Bear Gets 147,000 Views: #BeltwayBear Goes Viral

The video of a black bear who showed up in footage taken by the Maryland Natural Resources Police is quickly going viral.

The Facebook page of the Maryland Natural Resources Police posted the video on Sunday, July 3 at 5:31 p.m., and since that time, the video has been viewed more than 147,000 times. The video has gotten more than 1,300 reactions on Facebook, along with more than 700 shares on Facebook.

The description of the video, which is 15 seconds long, explains the situation that found the officers responding to the reports of a black bear near people who were having a picnic during the holiday weekend in Baltimore County.

“Natural Resources Police officers responded Sunday to a call about a bear near picnickers in the Patapsco River watershed in Baltimore County. It is the same bear that has popped up in backyards, on golf courses and even a college campus over the last month. Home videos have been shared on social media and with TV stations. While assessing the situation Sunday, officers shot this 15-second video, hoping people might like to see the bear, not unlike what National Geographic does on an international scale. After foraging for a while, the bear moved on. So did the officers.”

black bear

The Maryland Natural Resources Police have found themselves responding to controversy over the Facebook video. While some people call the selfie video the exact thing not to do when confronted by a black bear, the police officers are defending themselves on Facebook and dispelling myths about the female officer being alone when the black bear was encountered.

“The officer was not alone. The second officer who responded shot the video. They were watching the bear, which was near a group of picnickers. The officers were called to the scene. The bear moved on and so did the officers. The picnic continued.”

Although a voice in the viral video can be heard off-camera teasing Maryland Natural Resources Police Officer Marguerita Gay and saying that the black bear was only three feet away, that was apparently a joke. The Maryland Natural Resources Police made sure to state on Facebook that the black bear actually was not three feet away from Officer Gay.

“The officer wasn’t that close. Her fellow officer zoomed in, which compressed the image somewhat.”

When someone commented on the Facebook page of the Maryland Natural Resources Police and asked the officers why they thought the video was newsworthy, the officers were quick to respond on social media.

“We did not say the video was newsworthy. It is a bear that has been in the news for four weeks. We thought people might like to see it. The officers safely shot a 15-second video. The bear left. The officers left. The picnickers nearby were undisturbed.”

black bear

While the controversy and/or praise for the Facebook video continues, so do the comments as they continue to flow into the Facebook page of the Maryland Natural Resources Police Office. The black bear can be seen frolicking around and playing atop a tree limb in the background as the officer seems to smile nervously.

According to the Associated Press, the black bear seen in the video has earned the nickname “Beltway Bear,” since it has been seen around the Baltimore-Washington area over the past few weeks.

On social media, however, some people continue to add their opinions about just how quickly that situation could have gone wrong. One person posted a link to a video of a black bear mauling someone to death in the comments section of the viral video on Facebook.

As the popular saying goes about what to do if one sees a black bear in the woods, lie down if it’s brown — but fight back if it’s black.

[Image via Shutterstock]