So much for "Less than Lethal"... Red Sox Fan Killed by Police Projectile


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Lone_Gunman
October 22, 2004, 10:43 AM
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20041022/ap_on_re_us/red_sox_fans&cid=519&ncid=716


By GREG SUKIENNIK, Associated Press Writer

BOSTON - A college student celebrating the Red Sox come-from-behind victory over the New York Yankees was killed after a police officer called in to control the rowdy crowd shot her in the eye with what was designed to be a non-lethal projectile.


Fifteen other people, including a police officer, suffered minor injuries in Boston's Kenmore Square neighborhood early Thursday, after thousands of baseball fans spilled onto the streets near Fenway Park to celebrate the Red Sox winning the American League pennant at Yankee Stadium.


Boston's mayor said he was considering banning alcohol sales in the city during the World Series (news - web sites) to avoid a repeat of the rowdiness.


Victoria Snelgrove, a 21-year-old journalism major at Emerson College, was hit by a projectile fired by an officer on crowd-control duty. Snelgrove, of East Bridgewater, died of a head injury at Brigham and Women's Hospital later in the day.


Police Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole said officers were using projectiles "designed to break upon impact, dousing the target with (pepper-like) spray."


"While I firmly and emphatically accept responsibilities for any errors," O'Toole said at a news conference Thursday, "I also condemn in the harshest words possible the actions of the punks (Wednesday) night who turned our city's victory into an opportunity for violence and mindless destruction."


O'Toole and Mayor Thomas Menino pledged to fully investigate. Menino said he will seek cooperation from city colleges, bars in the Fenway Park neighborhood and the Boston Red Sox to help prevent future disturbances. He said he would press colleges to expel students found guilty of criminal conduct in the melee.


Rick Snelgrove expressed outrage and said his daughter did nothing wrong. Standing outside the family home, he held up a photograph of his smiling daughter.


"What happened to her should not happen to any American citizen going to any type of game, no matter what," he said. "She loved the Red Sox. She went in to celebrate with friends. She was a bystander. She was out of the way, but she still got shot. Awful things happen to good people. My daughter was an exceptional person."


Mayor Thomas M. Menino said he was considering prohibiting liquor sales and asking bar and restaurant operators to ban live television coverage during games to curb the rowdiness. "Since people won't accept responsibility, I, as mayor, will take it into my own hands," Menino said Thursday.


Menino planned to meet with bar and nightclub owners Friday. He said he was considering invoking a state law, never before used in Boston, that would allow him to ban the sale or distribution of alcohol "in cases of riot or great public excitement."


Early Thursday, several small fires were set and numerous fights broke out. Boston police reported eight arrests, mostly for disorderly conduct, though one arrest was for assault and battery on a police officer.


City officials had announced there would be a heavy police presence in Kenmore Square for the history-making victory by the Red Sox, who came back from 3-0 deficit to advance to the World Series.


The city had been caught understaffed when riots broke out after the New England Patriots' Super Bowl win Feb. 1, when one person was killed and another critically injured when a vehicle plowed into a crowd of revelers.


Elsewhere Thursday, 29 people were arrested at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst after revelers threw beer cans and flaming toilet paper at police. And at the university's Dartmouth campus, about 2,000 people had to be dispersed by police using stun grenades.


In New Hampshire, police made about 15 disorderly conduct arrests as crowds swarmed the campus of Plymouth State University and surrounding neighborhoods


------


This must be a civil lawyer's dream. I feel bad for the girl, her parents, and the police involved.

I think it draws attention to the fact that we should not necessarily use a different set of standards for deciding when to use "lethal" versus "non-lethal" means for defense. It is a shame they didn't use just plain old tear gas cannisters instead of this "projectile".

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Zrex
October 22, 2004, 10:53 AM
Eye Witness Account (http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=50314)

‘Situation was dire’: Eyewitness details fatal Fenway riot
By Dave Wedge
Friday, October 22, 2004

Perched on a cement parking deck on Lansdowne Street early yesterday, I watched a tragedy unfold.

As an unwitting Victoria Snelgrove stood by a sausage cart with friends, six police officers on horseback and a handful of riot cops became surrounded by a surging - and increasingly hostile - mob of Red Sox revelers. Despite scattered fires, vandalism, a few scuffles and some arrests, the scene was relatively under control for a while.

But things took a deadly turn after a heated exchange between a mounted officer and a surly young man in a gray knit cap. After he refused the cop's orders to leave the area, the officer, from his horse, grabbed the man from the back of his shirt and tossed him to the ground.

The man got up and began hurling obscenities and making obscene gestures at the furious cop. Tensions quickly rose. Some in the crowd tossed bottles at police while the horses began getting out of control. Riot cops moved in and started forcefully moving people from the area.

At one point, I saw an officer toting a compressed air gun fire at least one round into the crowd. A split second later, the 21-year-old Emerson College journalism major was lying on the sidewalk, blood streaming from her face.

Standing directly above the scene, I watched her friends softly caress her head as she drifted in and out of consciousness. One felt for her pulse. Some in the crowd began screaming for an ambulance. Another cried, ``Call 911.''

At first glance, she seemed just a minor casualty in the foolish clash between drunken knuckleheads and police trying to reign in the chaos. But it soon became obvious the situation was dire. After about five minutes, an ambulance carved a swath through the crowd and the dying student was taken away on a stretcher.

Today, she's in a funeral home.

Zrex
October 22, 2004, 11:00 AM
Cops’ pepper shot kills student (http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=50315)

Cops’ pepper shot kills student
By Tom Farmer and Dave Wedge
Friday, October 22, 2004

The sequence of events that led to the death of an Emerson College student began when a half-dozen officers on horseback were surrounded by rioting Red Sox fans on Lansdowne Street about 1:30 a.m. yesterday, witnesses said.

By the time armor-clad cops dispersed the crowd of some 3,000 in the shadow of Fenway Park's Green Monster, Victoria Snelgrove, 21, lay fatally injured. She had been struck in the eye by one of a number of pepper balls fired by police to quell unruly fans throwing bottles and bricks.

``The cops (on horseback) pushed in and the people closed in behind them,'' said Emerson student Brett Schweinberg, 18, who was struck by two pepper projectiles fired by police while trying to scale the Green Monster.

``They were surrounded by people and a bottle landed near a horse and it spooked it. It faltered and it got jittery and 30 to 40 seconds later, cops turned around and fired at a group of people about 20 feet to my left. People scattered except for one girl who was bleeding from the nose and mouth.''

A Herald reporter in the midst of the crowd saw revelry turn to mob mentality. Several people tried to scale the Green Monster, at least one of whom plummeted to the ground after being shot by a projectile.

Small fires burned, street signs were torn down and trash barrels were tossed about as police struggled to control the increasingly hostile crowd. Several cars became trapped by walls of people while drivers spun their tires and blared stereos - some with people riding on the roof. Several bottles were thrown, one of which reportedly struck a police officer, breaking his nose.

The shot that killed Snelgrove followed a standoff between a cop on horseback and a young man wearing a gray knit hat. Standing by a bustling sausage cart, the man refused the officer's orders to move, prompting the officer to reach down and toss him to the ground. After getting up, the man hurled profanities at the cop and made several obscene gestures.

More bottles were thrown as at least one riot cop fired projectiles into the crowd, one of which apparently struck Snelgrove. The girl had been standing by the sausage cart with friends.

She immediately fell to the ground while her friends tended to her, rubbing her head as blood streamed from her face. Horrified onlookers shouted ``get an ambulance'' as the girl drifted in and out of consciousness. One of the riot cops checked on the girl briefly. Approximately five minutes after she collapsed, mounted police cleared a path for an ambulance and the girl was taken away.

As cops cleared the crowd, one young man who had been standing near Snelgrove shouted at police, ``Are you happy? Murderers!''

One officer was stunned at the ferocity of the violence. ``I saw the horses surrounded,'' he said. ``It was like a vacuum. They got sucked in. I saw guys holding small trees they had pulled out of the ground like warriors. They were holding steel sign posts they had bent over and broken. We had to fight to get control.''




http://news.bostonherald.com/images/localRegional/snelgrove10222004.jpg
Victoria Snelgrove

TarpleyG
October 22, 2004, 11:09 AM
As sad as that story is--I have never understood this childish obsession with rioting after a sports event. One may not classify it as a riot but it is.

IT'S A F'IN BASEBALL GAME!!!

Greg

sendec
October 22, 2004, 11:23 AM
The technical term is "Less Lethal." No one in the industry claims that these types of projectiles cannot be lethal.

The urge to riot is compounded by the urge to watch the riot. My sympathies to her parents.

geekWithA.45
October 22, 2004, 11:29 AM
It sounds like a sad freak accident, paint markers simply aren't accurate enough to intentionally hit an eye sized target.

One thing they should have done already is impound the pepper gun, and chrono it.

If it turned out the cop maliciously turned up the PSI, charges might be in order.

CannibalCrowley
October 22, 2004, 11:37 AM
They were both in the wrong and therer will likely be a civil suit brought about by the parents. The cop shouldn't have shot her in the face (the chest is the target area); and the woman shouldn't have been in the area during a riot.

If the officers on horseback were the ones firing, then this needs to be reviewed. Despite what one sees in the movies, a horse isn't a stable firing platform. Can some people fire accurately from horseback, yes. Can the average mounted police officer consistently fire accurately from horseback, doubtful.

Lone_Gunman It is a shame they didn't use just plain old tear gas cannisters instead of this "projectile". Gas canisters have many of their own problems as well: the crowd throws them back, visibility issues, lack of targeting, ineffectiveness, weather dependent, contamination issues, and so on.

Edward429451
October 22, 2004, 11:43 AM
fire at least one round into the crowd.

Indiscriminate fire? Is this the norm? I thought the police were not allowed indiscriminate fire, thats a military tactic.

Before you jump all over me, I'm not condeming the police for this. I wasn't there...It just seems like its bad judgement call and there may have been a better way to quell the crowd. Firehoses maybe?

Zrex
October 22, 2004, 11:46 AM
A tragic accident. I know with 100% certainty that the police officer who fired the shot did not intend this. Pray for the family if you are the praying sort, and pray for the officer who did this. I can only imagine how hard it would be to come to grips with the fact that you accidentally injured or killed someone.

ballistic gelatin
October 22, 2004, 11:53 AM
Freakin' terrible.

http://www.pepperball.com/images/projectilered.gif

So this girl was shot in the eye socket with enough "super irritant" to saturate 200 feet...and she breathed all that in? Dang. :uhoh:

How PepperBall Systems Work (http://www.policeone.com/police-products/less-lethal/press-releases/77047/)

PepperBall Systems are powered by high-pressure air to launch a frangible ball which breaks upon impact and releases an extremely effective super irritant called PAVA pepper (Capsaicin II). These systems are contact safe, target accurate within 60 feet, and provide area saturation with PAVA within a 200 foot range.

Why PepperBall Systems Work

PepperBall systems use Chemnetics technology to deliver a three-pronged, less-lethal response. Specifically, the following affects are combined to effectively achieve suspect compliance.

* Psychological shock - the surprise from the being "shot"
* Kinetic impact - PepperBall systems hit with 8-12 foot-pounds of force to stop subjects without causing permanent damage or serious injury.
* Chemical super irritant - PAVA (capsaicin II) pepper powder causes coughing and a burning sensation in the eyes, nose,

SURPRISE!!! YOU'RE SHOT!!!

Most disturbing.

George S.
October 22, 2004, 11:55 AM
This is really a sas story and I feel so sorry for the parents. I agree that there should be no reason for such violence simply because of a baseball game, or a footbal game or a soccer game, but we have seen this type of thing before all around the world.

I would have to think that the officer who shot the round was nottaking deliberate careful aim at this girl. Unfortunately the description of the incident and how the officers were reacting most likely led them to use something like a fire suppression tactic and shoot into the crowd to try to get some level of control. There would have to be some leve of panic on the part of the officers and with adrenalin probably kicking in, aiming for a specific target would not really be at the top of the list.

There probably will be a civil suit for wrongful death and that may be reasonable. The near-riot by a bunch of idiots and (most likely) drunks was not reasonable.

paint markers simply aren't accurate enough to intentionally hit an eye sized target. Apparently this was not a paint marker, it was a so-called "bean-bag" round. The local Seattle TV showed an example of the round in their report.

Carlos Cabeza
October 22, 2004, 12:00 PM
How effective is shooting one small pepperball into a crowd in dispersing it ? I would guess it had little effect. I bet the beautiful girl who lay bleeding to death did more to control the crowd.

flatrock
October 22, 2004, 12:03 PM
It doesn't sound like she was the intended target for the pepper round. It sounds like her crime was simply not clearing the area when the police ordered those assembled to do so.

However, the rioters were throwing bricks and bottles at the officers. The use of the pepper rounds does appear to be warranted.

The fault for her death lies mainly with the rioters, and partially with her for not leaving the area as instructed.

Hopefully, they will detain and prosecute the people who incited the riot and those throwing bottles and bricks.

I believe their actions rise to the level of felonies, so with the death of this young woman, felony murder should be added to the list of charges they are facing.

Coronach
October 22, 2004, 12:38 PM
1. Its less-lethal, not less-than-lethal. The latter is the optimistic hope, the former is more accurate.

2. 'Indiscriminate fire' is indeed proper, if a somewhat misleading term. When faced with a lawbreaking group of people, you emply the crowd-control munitions to move the group. If you're in the group, you can be 'targeted'...which, given the nature of some of these weapons, is also misleading. And before anyone says anything, yes there are a lot of rules for when crowd control muntions can be employed. The short version is that it must be either an emergency (which, an outnumbered group of officers taking bottles and bricks would certainly fit that bill) or there must be reasonable commands to disperse- the old 'read them the riot act' thing. Check your local listings, rules will vary.

3. It would seem that the media and/or posters are confusing the issue of the equipment employed. Could it be a pepperball gun? Maybe. Could it be a 37mm gas gun loaded with an OC round? Could be. Which was it? No idea. The horrific nature of the injury makes me think it was a 37mm projectile.

4. I'm quite certain that the victim was not an intended, specific target. Even if one goes with the idea that a cop wanted to pop a rioter in the face, which is he gonna chose- a drunken ass tossing bottles and bricks, or a female journalism student?

5. Its sad, but true. You are responisble for your actions. The cop that unleashed that round will have to live with it for the rest of his life. Also, if you are in a large, rowdy group of people commiting acts of property destruction, it is best to leave the area immediately. You are breaking the law. You're responsible for your fate. Don't hang out, don't cheer, don't watch. That makes you a rioter.

Sad and tragic.

Mike

Coronach
October 22, 2004, 12:41 PM
Also, yeah...cops are trained to arrest/incapcitate instigators where possible (this is in reference to my #2 point above), but its not always possible/practical.

Mike

Werewolf
October 22, 2004, 12:45 PM
The way the articles read it doesn't sound to me like things got really nasty until the police showed up.

The implications are that prior to the cops arriving a rowdy crowd celebrating the Red Sox's first world series since 1918(?) were in the streets drinking, blocking the road etc. What were they doing that required police presence?

ESCALATION by the police trying to unnecessarily exercise control over a situation that would have died on it's own given time.

These folks were baseball fans celebrating. They were not minority rioters looting and burning and destroying like in LA. The cops should have maintained a presence at the periphery - not waded in and started a battle. Sure a few windows might have been broken or maybe a black eye here or there would have been acquired by a celebrant but that's what insurance is for and black eyes, bruises and broken bones heal.

The police caused the death of that young woman and the police should be held responsible - especially that JBT who lost control and threw the gray hatted guy to the ground because he wouldn't obey the cop's order. That was the trigger incident IMO.

ESCALATION! UNNECESSARY ESCALATION BY THE COPS!

NOTE: Anyone who thinks I'm cop bashing would be 100% correct. I had a run in with a crooked JBT of the Boston police in 1991 at an airport toll booth. Him and the booth operator were obviously in cahoots and ripped me off big time. I hate the Boston Police!

Lone_Gunman
October 22, 2004, 01:04 PM
Coronach, the website referenced in this thread describes the pepper ball as non-lethal, not less-lethal. Check out that web site and tell me if I am reading that wrong.

If the manufacturer describes the product as "non-lethal", as they do in the advertisement in the website, then I think they have some responsibility in her death. The officer may have been under the impression no one could die if he used this thing.

Anyway, its seems a shame some poor girl has to die because of a poorly designed product, an unruly crowd, and poor crowd management. I think a comination of all three of those factors is what led to her death.

Sindawe
October 22, 2004, 01:25 PM
Couple of points.

Ask yourself, would you or I be charged with some form of accicental manslaughter or homicide for this? If so, then the officer who fired the shot the killed the bystander should also be charged. I doubt it will happen of course, being that it was a cop who fired the shot. OH, I know, its was a riot, and cops were only trying to restore order, performance of duties and the like......

One more grain of sand down the hour glass.


In my opinion, this shows that someone shooting a non-willing target with a paintball marker is a deadly threat, and appropriately dealt with as such. So returning fire on some punk kid shooting paintballs is a reasonable response.


Damn shame the young woman died as a result of this.

Coronach
October 22, 2004, 01:33 PM
Coronach, the website referenced in this thread describes the pepper ball as non-lethal, not less-lethal.Point.If the manufacturer describes the product as "non-lethal", as they do in the advertisement in the website, then I think they have some responsibility in her death. The officer may have been under the impression no one could die if he used this thing.Again, point. But I think it may have been something stronger than the pepperball gun. Also, it gets down to the reasonable definition of 'non-lethal' or 'less-lethal'...even running with the assumption that this was a glorified paint-ball marker, the incident was a pretty freak chance.Anyway, its seems a shame some poor girl has to die because of a poorly designed product and poor crowd management.Well, there are two assumptions there that may or may not be sustained by the facts.The police caused the death of that young woman and the police should be held responsible - especially that JBT who lost control and threw the gray hatted guy to the ground because he wouldn't obey the cop's order. That was the trigger incident IMO.

ESCALATION! UNNECESSARY ESCALATION BY THE COPS!Forgive me if I sound jaded, but this is the cry every time there is a riot. I've been at quite a few small riots, none in Boston (I've never been to Boston in the fall ;)). I can say with certainty that in none of them did the police 'escalate' anything, but in all of them that claim was levelled. When you have a large group of people hanging in a volatile situation, one of the following is going to happen:

1. Its either going to get better.

2. Or its gonna get worse.

The trick is knowing when to take action, because if you wait too long in a misguided attempt to not seem threatening, you will have a full-scale riot on your hands before you can take any action, and once one of those gets going it is all ugliness until the tear gas clears.

The police have a responsibility to the people who live in that neighborhood and who make their living selling things from their shops. That responsibility is to protect their lives and property. This means that once a situation looks like it is getting bad, the police need to take action. Officers get staged in the area. Crowds need to be moved and dispersed...and just because you cannot see anyone engaging in vandalism from your vantage point (check to jowl with others in the crowd) does not mean that it is not happening. Lets take a look at the quote from an eyewitness, shall we?As an unwitting Victoria Snelgrove stood by a sausage cart with friends, six police officers on horseback and a handful of riot cops became surrounded by a surging - and increasingly hostile - mob of Red Sox revelers. Despite scattered fires, vandalism, a few scuffles and some arrests, the scene was relatively under control for a while.So, the fighting and vandalism was already going on. If you lived in that area, if your car was parked in that area, if your shop was located in that area, you would be screaming bloody murder if the police just sat back and let the rioters do whatever they wanted because, hey, we wouldn't want to escalate anything. And you would be absolutely right. So, the cops take action to protect lives and property (both of which are already at risk, according to the witness), and they are now denounced as "escalating" the violence. :rolleyes: Lose-Lose.

Here is an idea. The rioters are responsible for their actions. This is on them. And yes, I do think her death is tragic.NOTE: Anyone who thinks I'm cop bashing would be 100% correct. I had a run in with a crooked JBT of the Boston police in 1991 at an airport toll booth. Him and the booth operator were obviously in cahoots and ripped me off big time. I hate the Boston Police!Well, at least you give your biases right up front. :rolleyes: So...a cop allegedly ripped you off, so you now hate all Boston cops and think the BPD is awful. This makes your argument more credible...how? Oh, I've had a gun owner threaten to kill me. Should I hate all gun owners now, too? :rolleyes:

Mike

Coronach
October 22, 2004, 01:35 PM
Couple of points.

Ask yourself, would you or I be charged with some form of accicental manslaughter or homicide for this? If so, then the officer who fired the shot the killed the bystander should also be charged. I doubt it will happen of course, being that it was a cop who fired the shot. OH, I know, its was a riot, and cops were only trying to restore order, performance of duties and the like......

One more grain of sand down the hour glass.You answered your own question. Remember, back in the Good Old Days of law enforcement they just beat you with truncheons, shot you, and let the german shepherds chew on you.

Just to forestall any "militarization of the police" arguments.

Mike ;)

Roadkill Coyote
October 22, 2004, 01:41 PM
Well, on the how-could-this-have-happened front...

First, according to a reports, Boston PD has, in the past deployed both Pepperball (http://www.pepperball.com/) and the FN303 (http://www.fnhusa.com/contents/ll_home.htm). It would appear that one of these weapons was involved.

I note with interest, that the FN projectile features "68 caliber, 8.5 g weight projectiles utilize a fin stabilized polystyrene body and non-toxic bismuth forward payload to provide both a more accurate, greater effective range than other less than lethal weapons."

http://www.fnhusa.com/contents/images/303_ammo_oc.jpg <<<<<<<< that would appear to be it up front.

I wouldn't want to catch that in the eye...

sendec
October 22, 2004, 01:48 PM
I've attended riots on a regular basis and can attest that crowd control is more art than science. Invariably claims erupt that the police were a direct cause of escalating riotous behavior, but we really do not have the luxury of waiting until everyone is tired of burning and looting to move in. If you are a property owner or resident we owe a certain duty to at least try to minimize damage....

NOTHING is non-lethal, heck, people have been killed with BB-guns and blanks. Pepperball technology is pretty nifty and 37mm munitions are time tested, but either one can kill. Some munitions are also purpose built to ricochet and bounce. Baton rounds, rubber buck and slugs and stingballs all tend to bounce and their is no doubt that at close range they can kill. I agree that it sounds like something heavier than a pepperball, but I can also see how one penetrating the eye orbit could cause a high degree of trauma.

Roadkill Coyote
October 22, 2004, 01:57 PM
and here's the report on BPD getting equipped with the FN303 in time for the Democratic Convention (http://www2.whdh.com/features/articles/specialreport/DBM556)

Art Eatman
October 22, 2004, 02:02 PM
I've always figured that when I see drunks getting loud and potentially violent, and the police show up, I'm probably already behind the curve in practicing being elsewhere. I'm not gonna stand around and watch a riotous or potentially riotous scene. But that's just me.

I just really doubt the LEO "aimed" for the head of somebody not being violent. I really doubt he intended to hit outside the center of mass of somebody in the forefront of the problem-people.

"Stuff happens." I doubt the LEO knew that this "non-lethal" weapon could do what it did. He probably believed the advertising, just as most folks will.

This is just another one of those "Wrong place, wrong time, bad luck" deals. If idiots hadn't gone to raising a ruckus it would not have happened. Nowhere is it written that a sports victory justifies riotous and violent behavior.

Art

goon
October 22, 2004, 02:11 PM
Whether the cop meant to hit that girl or not, he did and she is just as dead.
If you are in a paintball battle with some buddies and you accidentally hit a bystander, you are still responsible. You don't get to say that it was that person's fault and they shouldn't have been there.
The cop who killed her is responsible and should be treated just like any of us would be treated.

flatrock
October 22, 2004, 02:15 PM
The way the articles read it doesn't sound to me like things got really nasty until the police showed up.

If by that you mean that it was more limited to starting fires and property damage before the police showed up, then yes, I agree.

So are you saying that as long as the rioters are just starting fires and damaging people's property, the police should just hide?

The police in this case were making their presence known peacfully and trying to get the crowd to disperse before things got more dangerous. There are planty of examples of riots from sporting events getting violent without police getting involved.

I hear many people complain that police never get to the scene of a crime until after the crime has happened. In this case they were there, and some of you think they should just stand back and let it happen so the rioters don't get hurt.

The attitude that the police are at fault no matter what they do that some of you people have disgusts me. Those officers were simply doing their jobs.

The people who are at fault for this young woman's death are the rioters who forced the officers to resort to using these weapons to disperse the crowd. Those rioters should be arrested and charged with felony murder accordingly. They need to accept responsibility for their actions, and the effects of those actions.

The officers appear to have responded reasonably in the situation. Dealing with unruly and violent crowds is dangerous for both the officers and the menbers of the crowd. The officers have to do their duty and deal with the crowd. To not do so risks injurt and property damage on a large scale.

Fortunately the law has a provision for this. If you commit a felony (like throwing a brick at a police officer) and someone dies due to your actions, or people responding to those actions, you've committed felony murder.

Someone should be held accountable for this young woman's death, however it's not the officers.

Jay Kominek
October 22, 2004, 02:26 PM
Always have protective eyewear (http://www.wileyx.com/pt1.php) on when outdoors.
You never know when a passing car will kick up a rock, and you can never know what sort of stupid stuff somebody is going to start doing. (Like shooting less-than-lethal projectiles at you.)
Protecting your eyes from UV is a good idea, too.

GSB
October 22, 2004, 02:34 PM
I guess those who don't like the police "escalating" things when disturbances break out would have been right at home in the LA riots.

CannibalCrowley
October 22, 2004, 02:35 PM
Werewolf The implications are that prior to the cops arriving a rowdy crowd celebrating the Red Sox's first world series since 1918(?) were in the streets drinking, blocking the road etc. What were they doing that required police presence? The first sentence answers your question. Didn't you read what you wrote. The people were engaged in illegal activites, so the police showed up, how can you fault them for that?

Art Eatman I just really doubt the LEO "aimed" for the head of somebody not being violent. That's the problem, if he wasn't aiming for her head then she wouldn't have been shot in the head. We have four possibilites here:[list=1]
He was aiming for her head
He is unable to hit a torso target from 30 feet.
He was firing in a way that violated his training.
He was using a weapon without being properly trained.
[/list=1] Each one of these leaves his department vulnerable to a civil lawsuit, and criminal charges could (and should) result from at least three.

Coronach
October 22, 2004, 02:44 PM
The cop who killed her is responsible and should be treated just like any of us would be treated.The difference is in the situation. It is a riot. He is empowered to use force to maintain order. The average citizen is not. In the same manner that citizens are empowered to arrest only for certain crimes and the cops can arrest for most everything, the cop in this situation has the authority to use a crowd control munition where a private citizen would have no such authority.

Can he and his department still be sued? Absolutely. Will they be? I'm sure they will.

Cannibal Crowley:

Allow me to give you option #5.

5. The round ricocheted.

Is there still a question of liability? Of course. but it is possible to have this happen without assuming maliciousness, poor training or ineptitude on the part of the officer. Crowd control munition are often heavy and low speed. The very factors that make them effective and less-lethal also cause them to behave unpredictably when fired into a mass of people.


Mike

HankB
October 22, 2004, 02:50 PM
Interesting excuses made for the cop who fired the shot . . . even to the point of charging people OTHER than the officer with murder. Bizarre.

If I shoot at someone who's attacking me, and kill some third party I wasn't trying to shoot, it's virtually certain I will be charged criminally.

An absence of lethal intent is only partially mitigating, just sufficicent to eliminate premeditation. A previous poster mentioned paintball games. I'll go one further - if I were to throw something ordinarily harmless - say, a snowball - at a friend, miss him, and end up causing a fatal accident because the snowball hits a passing car, the fact that I didn't intend to kill anyone won't provide much relief . . . not being an LEO, I will be charged.

Based on the story as written, the cop who fired the fatal round needs to be prosecuted criminally, for negligent homicide if nothing else. And he needs to become an "ex-cop" immediately.

CannibalCrowley
October 22, 2004, 03:00 PM
flatrock The people who are at fault for this young woman's death are the rioters who forced the officers to resort to using these weapons to disperse the crowd. Those rioters should be arrested and charged with felony murder accordingly. No, none of the rioters pulled the trigger. Let's someone breaks into my house and I shoot at them. One of those bullets exits my house and kills a neighbor. Is it the burglar's fault that my neighbor got shot. Somewhat, bu the main fault lies with the person who pulled the trigger.
Coronach
Allow me to give you option #5.
5. The round ricocheted. Interesting take, but then we obviouly aren't talking about any kind of pepperball.Is there still a question of liability? Of course. but it is possible to have this happen without assuming maliciousness, poor training or ineptitude on the part of the officer. Only if the BPD trains their officers to fire blindly into crowds with ammunition that is known to ricochet and even cause death when improperly used.

ballistic gelatin
October 22, 2004, 03:07 PM
In addition to jersey, add gasmask to list of things to wear to sporting events.
http://img-srv.everestwebworks.com/w2/Pictures/My%20Product%20Images/1039720.1/gasmask.jpg

agricola
October 22, 2004, 03:31 PM
HankB,

If I shoot at someone who's attacking me, and kill some third party I wasn't trying to shoot, it's virtually certain I will be charged criminally.

if that were the case hankB, you wouldnt even be convicted over here in the UK, never mind the US - none of the homicide offences on the UKs statute book would be complete.

As for "escalating" things, thats just a cheap excuse, used every time there is a big kick off. A pound to a penny there were people in that crowd determined to have a go at the old bill whatever the result was, there always is.

Cosmoline
October 22, 2004, 03:55 PM
The bottom line is we are all responsible for each and every projectile that leaves our firearms. And that counts for air rifles, as well. In this case the officer aimed at a woman in the crowd and nailed her in the eye. That's manslaughter at the very least, and possibly murder. There is no claim she was endangering any officer, or that lethal force had to be used against her.

Oh, and BTW there is no such thing as "less than lethal" force killing someone. If it kills you, it's lethal force. Period.

Nor is there any such thing as firing a rifle "at a crowd." The distance here was well within the officer's point blank. If you hit a woman in the eye, that means you've aimed your rifle at that woman's eye when you pulled the trigger. There is no aiming "at" some large object. The point aimed at is in all cases less than a minute of angle. A crowd is a heck of a lot larger than minute of angle.

You're right that felony murder should apply. To the officer's commander. The crowd didn't shoot anyone, nor did it commit a felony. Indeed it's legally impossible for a crowd to commit any crime or to be jailed or tried. Individuals commit crimes, not "the crowd." The woman in question here had by all accounts been guilty of nothing more than at most unlawful assembly. You don't get to shoot people through the eyeball for committing unlawful assembly.

Of course, this being a cop in Boston no steps will be taken. One law for thee, another for me :rolleyes:

feedthehogs
October 22, 2004, 04:45 PM
I saw guys holding small trees they had pulled out of the ground like warriors. They were holding steel sign posts they had bent over and broken.

What, is everybody in Boston on steroids?
Sounds like the attack of the mutant Red Sox fans.

Come on now.
Any police chief knows that the potential for drunken behaviour after a sports team, who is supposed to be cursed, wins their division and beats the Yankees at that, will be there.

It sounds like a severe lack of preparation on the part of the police.
When that happens, accidents tend to occur because the cops feel out numbered and rightly so. The cops quote above shows he was scared.

Don't hold the cop responsible, hold the Mayor, police chief or who ever is in charge of "shuda known better".

sendec
October 22, 2004, 04:52 PM
Murder? You might want to look up the required elements.

Plenty of people dont get charged with crimes when a death is the result of unforseeable circumstances and there is no evidence of recklessness and negligence. Furthermore, you'd have to sell it to the grand jury to get an indictment, and they nolle cases as they see fit.

"We", as citizens, would only rarely find ourselves in this situation. Recall the shop owners during the LA riots. They were using firearms, and I do not recall any of them being charged with anything. Not that long ago, and possibly still in some areas, deadly force is allowable in riot suppression. The fact that the PD was attempting a lower level of force is in its favor.

No one isnt saying that this is'nt a tragedy. The cities' insurance company probably already has its check book out, and I'd bet the kids parents have lawyers lined up the sidewalk. But charging the cop with murder is'nt very realistic or appropriate. I hate to say it, but by voluntarily remaining in a dangerous environment there is an implicit assumption of risk. It is'nt her fault she got whacked, but her actions did contribute to her demise.

Cosmoline
October 22, 2004, 05:11 PM
Sendec-

Either the guy wasn't aiming, which makes it manslaughter for reckless use of lethal force. Or he was aiming, which makes it murder for aiming at the eye of a woman who herself was not doing anything to any LEO or horse.

This was hardly the LA riots. And even if it were the LA riots, no shop owner then would have had any right to kill random people in the crowd.

Roadkill Coyote
October 22, 2004, 05:15 PM
The only thing that's absolutely certain thus far, is that no lawyers will starve in Boston this year.

Does any one with more information, or who saw the news video have the answer to this? Some of the reports suggest that the officer who fired was one of the surrounded group of mounted officers. Does Boston issue less lethal weapons that should not target the head to mounted officers, who will, by their position be firing down at people? I really hope that's a misrepresentation in the coverage.

A link to the video would be interesting...

atk
October 22, 2004, 05:53 PM
I can't help but notice that many people posting here seem to believe that paintball guns are accurate. Having played (very little) paintball, I can personally vouch for the inherent lack of accuracy provided by a paintball gun.

From my experience, there is no rifling. It's like shooting an air powered musket.

Saying things like, "if he was aiming, he wouldn't have hit her eye" is innacurate - if he were aiming for the person next to her, he could have hit her eye!

In addition, he could have been aiming at someone, who, at the very last moment, ducked. It is possible to see paintballs coming right at you and duck out of the way. I've done it, when engaged with someone about 25 yards away, and 240fps guns. (felt the ball brush my hair, though).


From the evidence that I've read, I don't think we've seen enough. Maybe I missed something, but we don't really know what was happening. We know what the news media wants us to know about what's happening. Personally, I think it would be interesting to know if it goes to court, and read the case details to find out what the truth of the matter is.

Edward429451
October 22, 2004, 06:07 PM
If I shoot at someone who's attacking me, and kill some third party I wasn't trying to shoot, it's virtually certain I will be charged criminally.

This seems to be the crux of it, huh? Two sets of standards.

Who gave the green light to fire on the crowd?

Wait, lemmee get this straight...Police have no duty to protect the individual citizen. They weren't there protecting the crowd. Someone say something about protecting property? So less lethal force is ok to protect property? Pretty thin.

I'm trying to be open minded here but apparently I just dont get it. Sorry mamm, but your daughters dead and we're not liable because we thought that car over there might be set ablaze? Not.

Sorry mamm but your daughters dead because our officers were in danger and we're not liable even though we fired the shot? Hmmm.

In any other profession the liability would stand even if there was no clearcut negligence. If I inspect a furnace and miss finding the cracked heat exchanger and the people die that night from carbon monoxide poisoning, they are going to charge me even if I was acting in good faith and was not negligent, only human and missed it.

If my bosses at the shop instructed me to do something dangerous or illegal and I did it and got caught, they would be blameless because I as the tech on the job have a higher standard of responsibility to A) know better/ B) have more personal knowledge by being on the scene that it wouldn't be wise to do.

Wonder if the cop was acting on his own initiative or under orders to fire?

It did result in a death. Tragic. It can be reasonably assumed that he had no intent to kill. But no accountability is what will leave a bad taste in peoples mouth, thats wrong and a blank check to recklessness in the future. If cops know there is no ultimate responsibility on them, they will be reckless guarenteed. If there were ultimate responsibility, they would know that and take more care in their duties.

Standing Wolf
October 22, 2004, 06:17 PM
Boston's mayor said he was considering banning alcohol sales in the city during the World Series (news - web sites) to avoid a repeat of the rowdiness.

Can commoners be trusted with alcoholic beverages?

Zrex
October 22, 2004, 06:49 PM
Any chance this whole thing started as a negligent discharge? Someone not paying attention to the 4 rules, has his/her finger on the trigger, then gets bumped?

CannibalCrowley
October 22, 2004, 07:49 PM
atk
That's why the limit for engaging an individual with pepperballs is 30 feet.

Suspects can be accurately targeted up to 30 feet away with the enough kinetic impact to shatter the projectile and leave a welt or bruise. PepperBall projectiles should never be aimed at a suspect's eyes, face, throat, and spine. Instead, aim below the neck at the suspect's torso or center of mass area.

WT
October 22, 2004, 07:52 PM
The photo I saw of the officer showed him to be several feet away from other people. Didn't look like anyone bumped into him. It appeared that he was in a deliberate shooting stance.

As an aside, NYPD announced that it does not use the projectile device that Boston PD used. NYPD relies on fogging pepper spray instead.

Grey54956
October 22, 2004, 08:18 PM
While I am sure that this was an accident I get the feeling it shows a distinct lack of weapons control and situational awareness. "Less-Lethal" devices are still extremely dangerous.

This probably wasn't a ricochet, as the technology isn't incredibly prone to doing so. The ball is pretty much guaranteed to break on any impact. I have seen paintballs bounce, but only if the insides have somehow solidified, and even then only when hitting a soft target. The dry, granular payload of the pepperball technology should ensure against ricochet.

I suspect that a short burst or a poorly aimed round was the cause. Even though the weapon was a "less-lethal" variety, the shooter failed to follow the four rules, which should apply anyway, as the weapon is an air-gun. I think the term "less-than-lethal" or "less-lethal" is extremely misleading and leads the user into a false sense of security that the results won't be serious; i.e. a "no harm, no foul" mentality. This is why I am extremely wary of LL technologies that utilize any sort of transfer of physical or chemical energy to physically incapacitate their targets.

Taking a round of an aggresive irritant in the eye definitely wouldn't be good, as I suspect it would cause extreme irritation in surrounding tissue, possibly the brain.

Roadkill Coyote
October 22, 2004, 09:16 PM
The photo I saw of the officer

Link?

Better yet, a link to someone that has better pics and the video?

feedthehogs
October 22, 2004, 10:02 PM
I read the NY post and Boston Globe's account and eyewitness accounts also.

It seems a bottle was thrown at a mounted officer.
It broke and scared the horse.
A ground officer with his back to the crowd turned and started to fire in the vicinity of where he thought the bottle came from.
It was reported he was shooting at head height instead of the chest which is the recommended procedure.

There is absolutely no excuse for what happened.

The powers that be are already in the spin mode by blaming the whole thing on the rioters and diverting the attention to baning booze during the series.
If the people hadn't been on the street, there would have been no need for the police to be there. If the police weren't there, she would have never been shot is the take I get from the mayor.

Nothing other than a monetery payment for wrongfull death will happen.

Sad.:(

sendec
October 22, 2004, 10:41 PM
Well the experts have ruled once again.......:rolleyes:

Roadkill Coyote
October 22, 2004, 11:25 PM
Taking a round of an aggresive irritant in the eye definitely wouldn't be good, as I suspect it would cause extreme irritation in surrounding tissue, possibly the brain.
Not just irritant, powdered or very fine Bismuth shot added to weight the front of the round.

Found one.

http://news.bostonherald.com/images/localRegional/20041022_riot2_lg.jpg

That's an FN303 in use during the disturbance, the one I mentioned earlier, with the Bismuth in the front of the round for weight. you can compare it to this...

http://www.fnmfg.com/products/fn303ltl/fn303.gif
and here's the round.

http://www.fnherstal.com/html/XM/orange.jpg

And that silver stuff up front is the Bismuth. Isn't there some other common use for that stuff? :scrutiny:

Jay Kominek
October 22, 2004, 11:37 PM
And that silver stuff up front is the Bismuth. Isn't there some other common use for that stuff?
Not sure what you could be referring to. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bismuth
The stuff is non-toxic, and effectively non-radioactive. If I had to get shot with a metal from that general area of the periodic table, bismuth sounds pretty good to me.

Coronach
October 22, 2004, 11:50 PM
There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding here.

Crowd control munitions are designed to be fired into the crowd. Not in the general direction of...not with any intent to avoid striking...not in the vicinity of. Into.

Not at a solitary target with intent to strike in a certain bodily location. Into a mass of people with the intent to cause that mass to move, or stop advancing. This is not one torso with a background of non-targets. This is a moving wall of targets. If you're in the riot, you're a target.

Crowd control munitions hit people. They cause injury. They can cause serious injury. They can cause death.

Everyone assumes that the weapon was used improperly if it struck someone in the face and killed him. I'm telling you that even if used 100% correctly, it can strike someone in the face and kill him. This is why the usage of crowd control munitions is not taken lightly. They're NOT non-lethal. They're properly labled as less-lethal. They can kill.

Now, That Said, the specific weapon used can and will have a proper method of use. Was it followed? I dunno. But the point is that the mere fact that someone took a headshot and died is not an indication of poor training, poor weapon design, or poor tactics. Could these be a factor? Yes. The investigation will determine which of these, if any, had what effect.

If any of us had done this we would be charged.

Yes, you would. If a cop did this in any situation where the use of crowd control munitions was not indicated or approved, so would he. A riot is a unique event. The police have the authority to order a street cleared of all persons. They have the authority to use force to accomplish this goal. They have the authority to shoot projectiles into a mass of people in order to achieve this goal.

Those projectiles, in modern times, are designed to do as little damage to the rioters as possible, but they can and will cause injury still. Back in the Good Old Days, the cops just used bayonets. Or rifle fire. Or truncheons. Or dogs.

It was reported he was shooting at head height instead of the chest which is the recommended procedure.If this is the case, we have a wonderful case for civil liability. Time will tell.

Mike

Roadkill Coyote
October 22, 2004, 11:52 PM
Let me help, Bismuth is used as a non toxic substitute for lead shot in shotgun rounds.

Try this... (http://www.bismuth-notox.com/faqs.html)

In particular, "Does Bismuth perform like lead shot?
YES. Bismuth shot’s performance is very similar to lead. Learning to shoot a moving target is a process of memorization of “sight pictures.” Since Bismuth’s performance is so similar to lead, it allows you to use your normal sight pictures for a more natural and accurate shooting experience."

So everytime you shoot somebody with these rounds, you spraying very fine shot in every direction. The directly-in-the-eye-thing may have been a freak accident, but if these rounds are designed to split open on impact, and have shot in the nose of the projectile, there's a problem here. It's a miracle that they haven't put someones eye out before this. Think about it.

mrapathy2000
October 23, 2004, 12:40 AM
I am bit suprised it doesnt sound like the pepperball rounds I have seen that are basicly paintballs with shell designed to break on contact and release pepper powder instead of paint. I dont doubt a paintball close range within 10 feet could do some damage but death with 1 shot. for some reason I believe the round was a rubber bullet from shotgun. now I know when those things hit a person in the head it can cause death.

did she have pepper allergy or missing piece of her skull that could possibly explain more.

doubt the officer that fired it will see any trouble. lawsuit on the other hand will probably be easy.

carebear
October 23, 2004, 01:10 AM
Oh, to address another legal point, if you are a willing participant (i.e. didn't get the heck out/away at the first sign of communal wrongdoing) in a group of people, some of whom are committing a crime, you are as liable as any other member of that group for the consequences.

If you are, say, part of a mob of people that is attacking a person and deadly force is justified against any particular member of the group, it is also justified against you.

Less-than-lethal situations would work similarly.

Rule of thumb: Stay out of rioting mobs.

only1asterisk
October 23, 2004, 07:45 AM
Coronach has already said what I would have. There isn't enough information to hang the officer.

No "less lethal" is as accurate as real firearm (think cheap paintball gun or worse).

Officers almost never get a chance to practice with them. If they are lucky, they may get to shoot the once or twice one time every year. Many departments only train with them once ever!

The sights on these things are very, very basic for the most part. They are not intended to be precision weapons.

There is a very good possibility this officer could have done everything right. He could have been firing at a firing a specific bottle throwing rioter. These things operate at less than 300fps. The targeted person could have moved, ducked, fell, been knocked down. The officers' appear to have been using the flip up sights (crude is being kind) and the weapon itself is hardly what I would call accurate. He could have out right missed. It was night and the officer was in the middle of a mob that would do him harm if they got the opportunity. How many of you have tried to shoot under these circumstances? Less than lethals are made to be employed in these situations. They are made to reduce risk to nearby people should the inevitable occur and the shooter miss his target (Coronach was right about less than lethals being intended for targeting crowds. A target could be a group of violent instigators

If the cop that fired the projectile was not following department procedure regarding how the weapon was to be used, he should be fired and held responsible in court. If he wasn't following the law as it applies to use of force, he should face criminal charges.

I don’t have much pity for people that participate in “sports riots”. If the young woman was doing her best to get away from the situation and wasn’t able, her death is regretable. I feel for her family and the officer and his family regardless.

I hope this ungainly missive is semicoherent. I'm tired and I'm begining to have my doubts.


David

agricola
October 23, 2004, 10:13 AM
carebear,

what you describe is the old Riot Act, in force in the UK since god-knows-when and only replaced in 1988 (though it had been unused before then).

Basically the law said that a magistrate had to stand in front of the crowd (or where the crowd could hear him) and read a legal notice informing the crowd that if they didnt disperse force would be used. If they then refused to disperse, no officer (police and military) could be held liable for any assaults during the disturbance after the notice had been read - ie: the gloves were well and truly off.

Needless to say, during the hayday of its usage during the 19th century shots were fired into crowds with far greater abandon than today, and there have been serious calls - after the 1981 Brixton riots, the 1985 Broadwater Farm riot in which a policeman was hacked to death, and the Poll Tax riot of 1990 - for it to be brought back. It wont - its far too strong a piece of legislation - but I would say that anyone who has been on the recieving end of a bunch of losers throwing bricks, petrol bombs, paving slabs, bottles filled with urine, scaffolding poles etc would be at least a bit in favour.

Lone_Gunman
October 23, 2004, 10:54 AM
You can blame the girl's death on an inaccurate weapon, poor sights, lack of training with the weapon, improper use of the weapon, etc.

The fact is, all of these potential reasons fall back onto the responsibility of the manufacturer, the Boston PD, or the individual officer. The liablity, no matter which of these things actually caused the problem, remains in their hands.

Although these pepperballs are officially considered "less lethal", I suspect that the officer firing the round was actually expecting it to be "non lethal. I doubt he was trying to kill anyone. When the police department bought this weapon, they understood that while it was officially considered "less lethal", they really wanted to use it in "non lethal" ways.

From the descriptions of the story I have read, this girl may not have even been in the mob the police were dealing with. She was standing by a sausage cart a short distance away, but it doesnt sound like she was participating in any mob activity.

The bottom line is, a girl, perhaps an innocent bystander, is dead after a police officer pulled a trigger. The manufacturer, City of Boston, and the officer are responsible.

Art Eatman
October 23, 2004, 11:25 AM
Lone_Gunman, my problem with your reasoning is that police don't show up if there's no no call for them, no need for them to stop criminal behavior.

So there's the admittedly riotous behavior: Among other things, the torching of an SUV with NY license plates.

Now, the cops don't want to start machine-gunning the crowd, right? The public at large, for over 30 years that I can recall, has yowled and howled about equipping the cops with "non-lethal" weaponry. Stun-guns, tear gas, bean-bag shotgun rounds...(There's also been the esoteric stuff, like gas which when inhaled lowers your blood pressure such that ya gotta sit down, and slippery-stuff foam that when sprayed on the pavement reduces friction so you can't even reliably stand up.)

So many LEO crowd control tools exist which won't break bones or poke holes in my tender body. And the public at large sez, "That Is Good."

But we all know this isn't a perfect world, and not everything works exactly as intended by either the manufacturer or the user. That's a fact of life that we're stuck with.

And this flawed tool wouldn't have been used at all except that a bunch of idiots created a situation that led to the tragedy.

Me? I blame the drunken fools who were doing violence. They started the trouble. Those who initiate trouble are responsible for the consequences thereof.

And, by the way, as Jeff Cooper has commented, the notion of "innocent bystander" implies that there is also a "guilty bystander". :)

Art

Roadkill Coyote
October 23, 2004, 11:39 AM
From today's Boston Globe (http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2004/10/23/different_official_to_head_weekend_crowd_control/) The police commissioner said the type of weapon that fired the fatal shot was an FN303, a compressed-air gun that fires pellets filled with pepper powder. It was the first time Boston police had used the weapons since buying them for this summer's Democratic National Convention. State Police also deployed the guns at other locations throughout the state Wednesday night.

A spokesman for the weapon's manufacturer, FN Herstal, confirmed yesterday that his firm sold the Boston Police pepper weapon technology for the convention security effort. However, Richard DeMilt would not comment on Snelgrove's death, saying, ''We have not been notified by any officials from Boston police about what role our weapons played."

Coronach
October 23, 2004, 11:42 AM
You can blame the girl's death on an inaccurate weapon, poor sights, lack of training with the weapon, improper use of the weapon, etc.

The fact is, all of these potential reasons fall back onto the responsibility of the manufacturer, the Boston PD, or the individual officer. The liablity, no matter which of these things actually caused the problem, remains in their hands.Certainly the weapon could have been used improperly. Less likely, though possible, is the idea that it could be poorly designed. I'm not familiar with the weapon or BPD's training.

Also possible (and in my mind quite likely) is that it was used properly and it still killed her.Although these pepperballs are officially considered "less lethal", I suspect that the officer firing the round was actually expecting it to be "non lethal. I doubt he was trying to kill anyone. When the police department bought this weapon, they understood that while it was officially considered "less lethal", they really wanted to use it in "non lethal" ways.A distinction without a difference. I'm quite certain that the individual officer was trained that the rounds can kill and must be used in a proper way. I think the biggest potential for liability is for the officer to have been using it improperly.From the descriptions of the story I have read, this girl may not have even been in the mob the police were dealing with. She was standing by a sausage cart a short distance away, but it doesnt sound like she was participating in any mob activity.I don't think anyone is saying that she did anything besides fail to disperse. Certainly no one is saying that she deserved to be struck with a pepperball round, much less be killed by one. The general point I am trying to make is that once these rounds get fired, if you linger in the general area you could be struck by one. Obey the law. Move. Don't place yourself at risk.The bottom line is, a girl, perhaps an innocent bystander, is dead after a police officer pulled a trigger. The manufacturer, City of Boston, and the officer are responsible.Responsible in the sense that they fired the round. A round that is designed to be fired into a crowd. A round that then struck someone in the crowd.

I see and understand your point. My point is that everything could have been done preoperly, from the manufacturer, to the trainer, to the individual officer, and she still could be dead. They are less-lethal, not certified Nerf.

Again, it is an utter tragedy. Did she deserve to die? HECK NO. How could her life have been saved?

1. The Yankees could have pulled out game 7. (thats my vote)
2. The Sox Fans could have behaved themselves.
3. She could have left the area when required to do so.

There is a possibility #4, and that is an assumption that the weapon was misused. It might have been, but only time will tell.

Mike

Lone_Gunman
October 23, 2004, 11:53 AM
Art and Coronach, I generally agree with your statements above. I feel bad for the officer, I don't think he meant to kill her. I feel bad for the girl, I am not sure she even realized she should have dispersed.

I think the notion of "less lethal" gives people a false sense of security. Yes, the company can be officially on record as saying this thing can kill you, but we all know that was not the intention. They call it "less lethal" so they have a defense in court when something like this happens, but the intention of the weapon is to be non-lethal, no matter what the fine print in the package says.

Police have a tough job. They have to make tough calls. Living with the consequences has to be heck.

CannibalCrowley
October 23, 2004, 12:23 PM
Art Eatman Me? I blame the drunken fools who were doing violence. They started the trouble. Those who initiate trouble are responsible for the consequences thereof. What happened to being responsible for every round you fire? I might as well switch my HD shotgun loadout to slugs because if any of my neighbors are injured or killed it'll be the burglar's fault, right?

Coronach A round that is designed to be fired into a crowd. No, a round that is designed to be fired at an individual. Even Pepperballs (a less dangerous round) aren't safe enough to be to fired into a crowd.There is a possibility #4, and that is an assumption that the weapon was misused. It might have been, but only time will tell. The fact that she was shot in the face means that something went wrong. Whether it was a training issue or officer incompetence will take time to tell (if such information is ever publicly released).

The Boston Globe (http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2004/10/23/different_official_to_head_weekend_crowd_control?pg=2) piece cited above has a much more damaging quote.A tactical response unit officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that only a handful of officers in the unit have received training with the weapons.

Edward429451
October 23, 2004, 01:08 PM
Does anyone really blame the cops in the LA riots for not going in? I do not. I think there's a point in shtf scenarios that even the police can be expected to do the smart thing and watch out for themselves. Every man for himself. Wading in to a riot with a uniform on is asking for trouble. JMO.

Not that it has anything to do with this scenario, dunno how bad it was on the street.

Roadkill Coyote
October 23, 2004, 01:20 PM
People keep referring to it as a pepperball. It's not. FN's own website refers to it as an impact weapon. (http://www.fnhusa.com/contents/ll_303.htm) "The primary effect of the projectile is trauma, which directly neutralizes the aggressor. In addition, secondary effects from the projectiles can be delivered via a chemical payload depending on mission requirements."

Half the volume, and three quarters of the weight of the projectile is "granular Bismuth", which as we all know, is a non toxic substitute for lead. Only it's not contained like the shot in a beanbag, it's just in a plastic shell that splits on impact. That has the potential for problems. That's why beanbag manufacturers are so proud of the fabrics they use, and the quality of their seams. spraying little bits of metal around is a bad thing, particularly, it appears inside an eyesocket...

Matt G
October 23, 2004, 01:29 PM
The old riot control training was to fix bayonets and walk shoulder to shoulder toward a crowd with longarms leveled at them. Shooting with the longarm was the expected response to shots or thrown objects from the crowd.

Then there's the shots we see from the '60's, of cops with riot sticks wailing on whomever they could catch. A lot of people died or were critically wounded from that style of riot response, too.

So now we've got a response toolbox that includes Pepperball guns, beanbag rounds, 37mm launchers, rubber slugs, rubber buckshot, rubber bullets, aerosol sprayers, CS grenades, tasers....

and people feel that the response is still to much.


Okay.


But I wonder how many people are annually killed by thrown objects like bottles? How many would have been injured or killed if they had gone unchecked with their signs and trees wielded, and bottles thrown and fires lit?

Raise your hand if you would seriously have thought that a Pepperball could/would ever cause a death by hitting someone in the eye. (Uh, mine's down.)

Now think: You're a cop, just trying to stop the riot as quickly as possible, who is trying his damndest not to kill anyone or get killed or hurt, who is very aware of the liability of using force on the citizenry. You've read the literature listed above. You're confronted with a wall of unruly people. Are you going to be really happy you've got a pepperball gun on you, so that you don't have to reenact Kent State with your firearm? Yer damn skippy.

Her death was a terrible thing to have happened. But it was definitely less likely to have occured in October 2004 than in October 1964 or October 1934.

Keaner
October 23, 2004, 01:34 PM
In case you guys were not sure, these are pictures of ACTUAL fired bullets from the riot (my buddy was standing right next to the girl who got shot).

http://ox.wit.edu/~keanee/IMG_3986.jpg
http://ox.wit.edu/~keanee/IMG_3987.jpg
http://ox.wit.edu/~keanee/IMG_3988.jpg

I was lucky enough to see that stuff was going down, and left when i saw it get dangerous. Right when i got back to my dorm, I saw the police attacking Kenmore Square.

As for my opinion, based on the actions of the crowd, force was justified, but perhaps not firing potentially lethal rounds into teh crowd. A few smacks with a batton most likely would have been just as effective, and not left this girl dead.

Art Eatman
October 23, 2004, 01:52 PM
CannibalCrowley asks, "What happened to being responsible for every round you fire? I might as well switch my HD shotgun loadout to slugs because if any of my neighbors are injured or killed it'll be the burglar's fault, right?"

IMO, a bit of a cavalier use of the word "responsible". The burglarly analogy is bad, in that when one's in dire fear of dying one behaves differently than when one is "merely" trying to restore order. If you're not in dire fear, why use a weapon certain to be lethal?

And all this is from news-stuff and the usual "reliable" witnesses:

If the drunks hadn't gotten way wrong, the cops wouldn't have been there at all. It it hadn't appeared to the officer that the use of the weapon was necessary, the shot wouldn't have been fired. If the shot's aim had been better the tragedy wouldn't have occurred. An obvious question to me is why was the shot fired high instead of center-body or legs? Until I've heard/read that particular cop's story about whys and wherefores, I don't figure I really know all that much about the deal.

I dunno. I sorta want to back away and look at the larger picture: "The system" seems to want to use the newest toy that's alleged to be better than previous methods. I'm talking about those who control the money for police equipment and training. Seems to me the average street cop is gonna go with the methodology the bosses teach him. That's the way most people operate, whether we're being engineers or accountants or shooting in IPSC/IDPA competition.

Projectile weaponry of whatever sort, plus adrenalin, can get us back to that ol' debbil, "Unintended Consequences".

The more I read about these sorts of events, whether sports riots or G7 protests or whatever, the more I think that maybe no projectile weapons oughta be involved, other than LEOs' personal weapons for their actual self-defense. Maybe stay with tear gas and pepper spray, maybe using some sort of low-power grenade-type device.

Damfino,

Art

CannibalCrowley
October 23, 2004, 01:58 PM
Matt G and people feel that the response is still to much. The response itself was not too much, the reckless way it was applied was wrong.Raise your hand if you would seriously have thought that a Pepperball could/would ever cause a death by hitting someone in the eye. (Uh, mine's down.) That would apply only if the cop was shooting Pepperballs, but he was using an FN303. They are two very different systems and the FN303 is much more lethal than Pepperballs.

Keaner As for my opinion, based on the actions of the crowd, force was justified, but perhaps not firing potentially lethal rounds into teh crowd. A few smacks with a batton most likely would have been just as effective, and not left this girl dead. Or they could have just fired into the torsos of the main troublemakers like they're supposed to.

Roadkill Coyote
October 23, 2004, 02:07 PM
It would appear that the nose stays intact, that would allay most of my concerns, but it's still an impact weapon, not an OC round.

Thanks for posting the pics Keaner!

Coronach
October 23, 2004, 02:19 PM
Yes, the company can be officially on record as saying this thing can kill you, but we all know that was not the intention. They call it "less lethal" so they have a defense in court when something like this happens, but the intention of the weapon is to be non-lethal, no matter what the fine print in the package says.Well...yeah. Is this, somehow, a bad thing? The weapons designer does everything in his power to make it unlikely to cause fatal trauma.

I understand your bit about 'false sense of security' but, if their training is anything like ours, it is stressed very very plainly to everyone, from the trigger puller on up to the commander at the scene, that these puppies can kill. Naturally, BPD's training will be called into question. And that's not a bad thing when someone has died.
What happened to being responsible for every round you fire? I might as well switch my HD shotgun loadout to slugs because if any of my neighbors are injured or killed it'll be the burglar's fault, right?Apples and oranges, first of all.

Second of all, this was a crowd control ordnance used against a crowd. If it was used improperly, there is an argument here. If it was not, it was a round that was fired into a crowd that struck someone in the crowd. Not to be utterly cold-hearted, but...whats the issue?

I mean, lets examine this argument. The use a firearm against a valid target can be a poor idea if your backstop is a crowd of innocent people.

Lethal Force + Non-Target backdrop = Bad Idea.

This is less-lethal round designed to be fired into a crowd.

The Target is the crowd. Preferably an agitator, but the target is the crowd.

The backdrop is also, yes, the crowd.

Less-lethal round + targetable backdrop = Good Shoot.

This assumes the weapon was employed correctly!

If anyone is really saying that you cannot deploy a crowd-control munition unless you are absolutely certain that the only person targeted is a brick-and-bottle thrower and that no one else is possibly in the way of the shot, what they are really saying is that crowd control munitions can never ever be employed...because there are always other people in the way. Its a riot. If there were no other people there, the entire situation could be resolved differently.

No, a round that is designed to be fired at an individual. Even Pepperballs (a less dangerous round) aren't safe enough to be to fired into a crowd.As I said, your argument then is that there is no valid form of crowd control besides batons and sprays. Frankly? I disagree with this argument.The fact that she was shot in the face means that something went wrong. Whether it was a training issue or officer incompetence will take time to tell (if such information is ever publicly released).And I'm telling you that it could also be freak chance. Of course, I will also admit that it could be a training issue or a failure to follow that training. And the investigation's results should be public record. Certainly they'll be brought up at the inevitable trial.

The Boston Globe piece cited above has a much more damaging quote.
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A tactical response unit officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that only a handful of officers in the unit have received training with the weapons.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Three possibilities:

1. The quote is true and correct and is extremely damning.
2. The quote is true and correct, but only the officers who have had the training were issued the weapons (possible...we have tasers now, but not all officers have had the training. Don't have the training, can't carry the weapon)
3. The quote is not an accurate reflection of the situation.

Time will tell. Certainly the training will be a public issue at trial, if not well before.

People keep referring to it as a pepperball. It's not. FN's own website refers to it as an impact weapon.

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"The primary effect of the projectile is trauma, which directly neutralizes the aggressor. In addition, secondary effects from the projectiles can be delivered via a chemical payload depending on mission requirements."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Half the volume, and three quarters of the weight of the projectile is "granular Bismuth", which as we all know, is a non toxic substitute for lead. Only it's not contained like the shot in a beanbag, it's just in a plastic shell that splits on impact. That has the potential for problems. That's why beanbag manufacturers are so proud of the fabrics they use, and the quality of their seams. spraying little bits of metal around is a bad thing, particularly, it appears inside an eyesocket...In case you guys were not sure, these are pictures of ACTUAL fired bullets from the riot (my buddy was standing right next to the girl who got shot).Thank you. That does appear to be the FN's projectile. What is it properly called?

Also, the granular nature of the bismuth might be a problem in general, but thats not what caused the fatality here. It was, seemingly, sheer blunt trauma.I was lucky enough to see that stuff was going down, and left when i saw it get dangerous. Right when i got back to my dorm, I saw the police attacking Kenmore Square.

As for my opinion, based on the actions of the crowd, force was justified, but perhaps not firing potentially lethal rounds into teh crowd.Thats the thing...everything that works is potentially lethal. The question becomes how to best attenuate that possibility.A few smacks with a batton most likely would have been just as effective, and not left this girl dead.In this I will disagree completely. Hand to hand melee is the way it used to be done, and it caused a lot more injuries and a lot more deaths.

Mike

Roadkill Coyote
October 23, 2004, 02:41 PM
Now that we have an idea what was used, and what happened, based on all this information, we can start to look at the complicated stuff.

At my agency, like many others, an specialty impact round, whether it be 40mm, 12 gauge, or anything else is considered to be below lethal force, equivalent to being struck with a baton. Obviously, if bottles were being throw, then specialty impact projectiles would have been justified anyplace that has a continuum similar to ours. Some other agencies consider specialty impact rounds as the equivalent of lethal force.

So the next question is, where does Boston's force continuum place beanbags and other specialty impact projectiles? Is the FN303 in the same place as other specialty impact projectiles?

one45auto
October 23, 2004, 04:08 PM
I'm afraid I cannot express my true feelings without offending Art's Grandma, but if that had been my daughter I would devote the rest of my life to making that officers' existence on this planet as legally miserable - to say nothing of financially poor, as humanly possible. Apologies be darned. :fire:

Keaner
October 23, 2004, 04:49 PM
For the most part, the people in the riot were just there to cheer. From what I saw, only a few dozen trouble makers existed. And yes, there were many billigerent drunks as well, but none that couldnt be scared away.

I realize that Hindsight is 20/20 and such, and for the most parts, do not damn the officers for taking what at the time was most likely a correct action. As far as hitting the girl in the head, I would believe that it was a cause of horrible aim.

I take this from the cops I've seen that take shooting practice at my school's range every month or so (apparently to meet some kind of quota of shots fired per month). Some of these officers are quite good, dont get me wrong, but a bunch are just horrible shots.

I would trust that the officers on this board are good shots, but I've seen many 9mm bullet holes in the baffled roof and walls from the officers, whereas the school's pistol club and rifle team rarely puts anything outside of the paper.

I wouldnt be surprised if the officer in question had never shot the firearm before, or if he had, not nearly often enough.

That being said, i think if they did the "wall march" and just walked toward the students, and more than lightly tapped the students that got close (like they did the other 3 days of rioting), that most of the crowd would have dispersed fairly quickly.

The first 3 riots were split up really quickly while I was there, the police game in full riot gear, walked into the crowd, and gave the students a somewhat light smack to the torso with the batton. I wasnt there during the championship riot, but Perhaps that would have been a better first step?

Let me know what you guys think!

Dbl0Kevin
October 23, 2004, 05:59 PM
I'm afraid I cannot express my true feelings without offending Art's Grandma, but if that had been my daughter I would devote the rest of my life to making that officers' existence on this planet as legally miserable - to say nothing of financially poor, as humanly possible. Apologies be darned.

Interesting you choose to blame the officer. The man doing his job and was forced to be there due to the actions of drunken, reckless, and violent sports fans who were rioting over a GAME. Also interesting that you would not fault your daughter at all for being in the midst of said riot.

To those who keep saying it's "bizarre" to charge the rioters who were throwing bricks and bottles with murder since the poor girl got killed, take a look at most laws that deal with violent crimes. If someone commits armed robbery and in the process someone dies, this could be their own accomplice being killed by a citizen, they get charged with homocide since THEY were the ones that commited the crime which caused the death. This is not a strange or bizarre concept. If someone chooses to break the law they set in motion the events that happen after that and are responsible for the response of the police who are sent to stop the crimes they are committing.

This case was a terrible accident and it happened to someone who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Did she deserve to die? ABSOLUTELY not. But she wouldn't have if she wasn't in the middle of a riot and those are the facts.

CannibalCrowley
October 23, 2004, 06:19 PM
Roadkill Coyote At my agency, like many others, an specialty impact round, whether it be 40mm, 12 gauge, or anything else is considered to be below lethal force, equivalent to being struck with a baton. Would a baton blow to the head be considered lethal force?

Keaner As far as hitting the girl in the head, I would believe that it was a cause of horrible aim. Bad aim places the blame upon the officer. Furthermore, if he can't reliably place shots below a suspect's neck, then he shouldn't be carrying the weapon.

Dbl0Kevin
Interesting you choose to blame the officer. Isn't he responsible for the rounds he fires?

Dbl0Kevin
October 23, 2004, 06:25 PM
Isn't he responsible for the rounds he fires?

Of course he is, but if he fires those rounds in accordance with proper rules, regulations and training as was said before, NOTHING is foolproof. If an officer is acting in good faith and does what he was trained to do then no he's not responsible for the death of this girl.

Let me give you a real world example. Let's say you and a friend are out somewhere. You are legally carrying a firearm and were then assaulted by a number of people with weapons and believed your life to be in danger. You were unable to retreat as all your avenues of escape had been cut off. You draw your weapon, take aim at the closest attacker that you believe to be a threat and after making sure you have a good backstop fire. However, just at the moment you were firing your friend does not realize what's going on and bolts in front of you and in your line of fire. Should you then be prosecuted for homocide?

This same situation is magnified by 10 in the middle of a riot with people moving around like crazy. As was said before someone could have ducked or moved, or this girl could have inadvertantly moved in the path of this round. You can't look at things as if they were in a vacumn.

Roadkill Coyote
October 23, 2004, 06:32 PM
Our target areas for a specialty impact round are limited. The head, chest, and spine are not to be targeted unless lethal force is warranted.

Unfortunately, we don't know what Boston's policy and training are like yet.

Dbl0Kevin
October 23, 2004, 06:35 PM
I'll also add that I've had basic riot control training, and it is NOT a precise science. You are basically marching right into mayhem and it's everyone's job to look out for everyone else. I was not trained with pepperball guns, but with riot batons and it's a very simple and blunt process. You move forward and if someone comes at you then they get hit. Someone grabs your baton the guy next to you whacks his hand. If they don't move back and continue to attack you pull them in and there are control officers behind the lines waiting to pounce and arrest anyone that you push through. You NEVER break the line and go out to chase someone.....that's how you get hurt BAD. The goal is not to make arrests, it is to disperse the crowd. With this process people will get hurt......a whole lot more people than would usually be hurt with a pepperball gun.

The fact is that riots are violent. In order to stop riots you have to sometimes use equal force or things will get worse. In that process people will often get hurt and tragically sometimes people will get killed. It's a sad thing, but if people really didn't want this to happen then they wouldn't start a riot over a baseball game or for that matter stay around and watch a riot after it's been started and you have been ordered to disperse.

JPL
October 23, 2004, 06:48 PM
Hum...

Less than lethal means.... Not lethal

Another wonderful example of Americans storm troopers... er... police, pardon me, in action.

one45auto
October 23, 2004, 08:16 PM
Dbl0Kevin,

I don't know whether you have children of your own, but as a father I can assure you that if it were your child lying in the morgue the last thing you'd be doing is sitting there wondering why she hadn't left the scene before things turned ugly. No, let's be brutally honest - the only thought running through your mind would be that your little baby girl is dead and that rat $%#@! killed her. It wouldn't matter in the least that the individual responsible for her death wore a badge because you'd want vengeance regardless, and want it with such a passion that you'd take it any way you could get it.

Dbl0Kevin
October 23, 2004, 08:21 PM
It wouldn't matter in the least that the individual responsible for her death wore a badge because you'd want vengeance regardless, and want it with such a passion that you'd take it any way you could get it.

While not with a child I've been in a similar situation before and wanted vengeance on people. But even so I would not seek vengeance on someone who was not at fault. If anyone I would want to go after the immature idiots who started a riot over a game, not the officer who was only doing his job responding to THEIR foolishness.

bad_dad_brad
October 23, 2004, 08:28 PM
What ever happened to good old tear gas? Just lob a few canisters and people will settle down.

Harry Tuttle
October 23, 2004, 08:49 PM
http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=50206
A spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney's office would not confirm media reports that she was shot in the head with a beanbag gun used for crowd control.

LawDog
October 23, 2004, 09:22 PM
And that silver stuff up front is the Bismuth. Isn't there some other common use for that stuff?

Yes. Stomach upset. It's the main ingredient in Pepto-Bismol. (http://web1.caryacademy.org/chemistry/rushin/StudentProjects/ElementWebSites/bismuth/Uses.htm)

LawDog

Coronach
October 23, 2004, 11:57 PM
With this process people will get hurt......a whole lot more people than would usually be hurt with a pepperball gun.DINGDINGDING. We have a winner.

The whole point is to put the riot down without serious injury. Obviously that didn't pan out in this instance, but the vast majority of the time it works a heck of a lot better than hand to hand combat with clubs. :rolleyes:

Hum...

Less than lethal means.... Not lethal

Another wonderful example of Americans storm troopers... er... police, pardon me, in action.1. Actually the term usually used is less lethal, which means that it is less likely to be lethal than say, shooting someone with a .45 ACP. No where in any manufacturer-approved training program would it say that the device is completely non-lethal. Or, if it does say that, game on with the high-capacity assault lawyers. ;)

2. Is your reasoning really so feeble that you must resort to name calling in order to make your points? Most of us gave that up sometime in grade school. However, if we must: I'm rubber, you're glue. Carry on. ;)What ever happened to good old tear gas? Just lob a few canisters and people will settle down.Tear gas has a multitude of limitations, any one of which might have made it inappropriate for deployment in the instance. Wind-drift, proximity to homes and a tendency for rioters to pick the cannisters up and throw them back are among the biggest limitations.

Mike

bad_dad_brad
October 24, 2004, 12:25 AM
But tear gas never killed anybody. So what if a few bystanders had a good cry.

Coronach
October 24, 2004, 12:54 AM
The same logic applies to just letting the rioters torch cars and smash shops. So what if some people's things get broken? No one died.

Tear gas can be very effective. Tear gas can also be wholly ineffective. It all depends on the situation. It also may not have been available. The presence of bottle and brick throwers, weather conditions or geography might have completely contraindicated it. As always, decisions about uses of force are tough. You make the call you think is right, and the whole idea is to preserve everyone's life, limb and property (pretty much in that order).

Sadly, it didn't work out this time.

Mike

444
October 24, 2004, 01:00 AM
This doesn't really add anything to the discussion, but large crowds in a festive mood can be a very bad situation waiting to happen.
I have the displeasure of working on a certain holiday every year in a certain resort community that is featured on all the TV broadcasts of this holiday's festivities. Where crowds of 100,000 or more people are on the streets. I work in a strike team made up of something like 10 police officers and two medics. Every time I do this I look out at the crowd and get a real sick feeling in my stomach. I fully realize that if these people get out of control, I am a dead man. I know that 99% of them are drunk and already partially out of control. The fact that I am wearing Level 4 body armor doesn't give me any comfort: odds are, I am not going to be defending myself against bullets. And, I am totally unarmed.
I guess the point to all this is, that I can fully understand how something like this incident might happen.
At the first sign of any trouble the police officers I have worked with very aggressively handled the situation before it escalates.

"The attitude that the police are at fault no matter what they do that some of you people have disgusts me."
This reminded me of a sort of funny story that occured while I was working one of these details. An Asian man stopped at a traffic light right in front of where we were standing. The car behind him had two hispanic gentlemen in it, and the car behind them had two African-American gentlemen in it. When the light turned green, the Asian gentlemen's car whouldn't work (the transmission went out). After a moment, the hispanic gentlemen decided to pull around him. However, at the same time the African-American gentlemen made the same decision. All the parties involved got out of their vehicles and started fighting in the middle of the street. The police I was with ran over and broke it up. One gentleman had no intention of stopping and was subdued with a baton. All were handcuffed. The police officer who used his baton happened to be white. While all this was going on I was standing on the curb waiting until they got it sorted out. Next to me, a woman commented that this looked like the police's actions were racially motivated. :rolleyes: I realized that the police could not win. Three different minority groups were involved and short of just ignoring it, someone would say that some ethnic group was singled out. :banghead:

NineseveN
October 24, 2004, 05:48 AM
CannibalCrowley:

If I see you harp on and on one more time about the cop not firing at center mass, I think I'm going to scream at the top of my lungs and bang my face against my keyboard. Think about what you are saying, then think again, then think some more, then ask a friend, then think a little bit more.

One: it is doubtful and unsupported by the evidence we have that Victoria Snelgrove was the intended target. Can we agree on this?

If she was not the intended target, then it is possible that a number of factors were in play:

1. The intended target was 6'4". His or her center mass would equate to a person of smaller stature's facial area. A round is fired, the target moves, someone gets hit in the face. Example: I am 6'2", my ex GF was 5'5" or so, a round fired at my chest would strike her in the face if I moved and she was behind me and in direct line of flight of said projectile. My Current GF is 5'8", the round might hit her in the throat given the same circumstance. Again, the target area of the intended mark was justifiably center mass, just as you harp on and on about, yet because I (or the target in question) moved a bit to the left or right a split second before or during the flight of the projectile, either one of the ladies in my romantic history would be likely to sustain serious injury and possibly death. Does anyone know the height of Victoria Snelgrove? What about the intended target?

2. Victoria and the intended target were not on a level surface relative to one another. Victoria was on a slope, incline or lower surface pane than the target, he or she moved, Victoria was behind him or her and the round struck her in the eye. Again, the round was fired at a justifiable center mass area, but someone is hurt or killed.

3. Victoria was slouching, bent down, leaning forward or to the side. The target moved and because her head was pivoted and on a lower axis than it would have been normally and possibly at level with the target's center mass area, when he or she moved, Victoria was struck and killed.

4. The round hit the intended target, but it hit the sleeve or part of clothing as the target pivoted. The impact was not enough to cause the round to break, but the glancing off of the fabric caused a physical reaction to the flight path of the projectile and the result is that Victoria was struck in the face and killed.


It could be any, all, some or none of these factors that contributed to the death of Victoria Snelgrove, we don't really know just yet.

You see, the real world does not occur in a vacuum. You have no idea of the environment or the physiology of those involved. Her facial area may very well have been someone else's (and the intended targets) center mass relative to one another. You see, us real people, we're not all the same size and shape, sometimes the surfaces we stand on are not all level in relation to one another, and sometimes we slouch, have poor posture or actually move about, pivoting at the hips and neck which causes our facial area to move up and down and side to side. I know, who would have thought?

Until you have all of these variables as evidence at your disposal, you are doing nothing more than exhibiting inflammatory and irresponsible statements and attitude. So kindly shut up about the "center mass" argument now and add something a little more constructive to the discussion. Thank you.

Lone_Gunman
October 24, 2004, 10:32 AM
Nineseven,

Your response was well thought out and stated, but one of the rules of gun safety is to be aware of whats behind your target.

Did the officer follow that rule?

Dbl0Kevin
October 24, 2004, 11:38 AM
Your response was well thought out and stated, but one of the rules of gun safety is to be aware of whats behind your target.

Ya know I really hate to say this but sometimes people here REALLY take those rules a bit too far. For the normal everyday situation or out on the range those rules are golden. In the middle of a battle or a riot where lives are on the line there are sometimes different rules. Not to mention the fact that what was fired was not a GUN. It was a crowd dispersement weapon that fired a chemical round. These LESS lethal (i'm really not gonna get into that again since Coronarch already settled it more than once) are MEANT to be fired into CROWDS. When you fire into a CROWD there is absolutely NO way for the rule to make sure of what your backstop is to apply. I'm sorry but you can't equate your experience of going shooting at the range and the rules you have to obey there to an officer with a pepperball device in a riot. They are two completely different and exclusive situations.

Lone_Gunman
October 24, 2004, 01:53 PM
So it is OK for police to use lethal force to break up a mob? If that what you think, then thats fine, but why not just let them use sub machine guns. If you don't think they should use lethal force, then they should not be using lethal weapons.

And I think what he fired was a gun... you said yourself that these things are lethal. It looks like a gun, works like a gun, fires a projectile, and is lethal. That pretty much is a gun.

Why not just pepper spray if you arent trying to kill someone?

NineseveN
October 24, 2004, 03:14 PM
Lone_Gunman:

I am well-aware of the safety rules, as I am sure most everyone that owns a firearms is. The simple fact is, I do not know whether the officer followed that rule or even if it indeed applies, neither do you really.

One:
Again, it may have hit a piece of fabric, changed flight paths and hit the girl. We don't know.

Two:
Like some paintball markers (notice I did not say gun), the projectile may curve and alter trajectory in flight. She may not have been behind the target. We don't know.

Three:
Regardless if you or I think these weapons should be fired into crowds or not, that's how they're designed, that's why they're deployed and I'm quite sure that is how they train with them. In that case, blame the training program, not the officer that simply followed his or her orders, job requirements and training. Again, we do not know.

A firearm that fires a real bullet would be different. The concern there is not so much the often mis-hyped ricochette, it's overpenetration or a complete miss. Firearms are designed to kill, these rounds are not designed to kill. That's the difference. Simply because it has in fact killed someone in a freak accident makes no matter on the intended use and the design of it in the first place.

I have read that this is the first death with this type of device, and that only 17 deaths have been reported ever with similar devices. So yeah, I would say they are less-lethal and not in the same ballpark as a firearm. However, take that statistic with a grain of salt as I did read it on the internet.

pax
October 24, 2004, 03:58 PM
What's all this about "behind your target" or "beyond your target"??

The crowd was the target.

The girl was part of the crowd.

Legally, every member of an attacking mob shares responsibility for the fear the mob creates in its victim(s), and every member of such a mob jointly shares the jeopardy caused by its victim(s) response.

It's too bad the crowd became so unruly that the local authorities were justifiably concerned about destruction of property and potential loss of life caused by the crowd's actions, and it's also too bad the girl didn't have the brains to quietly disappear from the scene when the crowd got ugly -- and especially so when the crowd was ordered to disperse.

Those of you calling for "equality under the law" should realize that if you are ever attacked by four or five gang members, and shoot to stop the attack, it won't matter if you hit the guy leading the attack or the gang member standing with his finger in his nose at the rear of the gang. Either is an equally good legal shoot. The only issue for you will be whether shooting the guy in the rear is a good tactical move.

pax

Andrew Rothman
October 24, 2004, 04:52 PM
What's all this about "behind your target" or "beyond your target"??

The crowd was the target.

The girl was part of the crowd.

Legally, every member of an attacking mob shares responsibility for the fear the mob creates in its victim(s), and every member of such a mob jointly shares the jeopardy caused by its victim(s) response.

Youch. It hurts me to disagree with Pax, but I just have to.

Thousands of sports fans, even if many are drunk and stupid, and even if a couple dozen are destructive, is not in any way analogous to a gang of five.

They do not share common intent, previous association or premeditation.

Property crimes rarely call for potentially lethal force, so even if the riot were composed purely of car-tippers and tire-burners, shooting may not have been justified. But when thousands of people are, really, peacably assembled, and a couple dozen donkeyholes decide to break stuff, shooting what may well be a lethal weapon is certainly not justified.

A better analogy than Pax's would be pursuing that gang of five into a crowd of a thousand and letting loose with some .45 slugs. It is grossly irresponsible to target the many to impact the few.

Further, some news accounts seemed to indicate that there wasn't even any destructive behavior near the dead girl's position.

Finally, I've read a bit about equestrian officers in crowd control. A horse is a psychological and contact-based crowd-control tool. A mounted officer inspires a great deal of respect as the people below look up at the officer on a horse that is over five feet at the shoulder and weighs at least a thousand pounds. And such a horse is very effective at pushing people in any desired direction with its sheer bulk.

But a horse It is decidedly NOT a steady platform for ballistic launch.

CannibalCrowley
October 24, 2004, 05:30 PM
This is for everyone who believes that the officer was simply firing into the crowd and not targeting a specific person. Even Pepperball (which is less dangerous than the FN303 which was used), says that one should either target suspects as individuals or fire at a hard object.Suspects can be individually targeted or PAVA powder can be distributed over an entire group by launching a volley of projectiles against a wall, street, or hard object above, near, or upwind of a group of targets from distances up to 150 feet. I'm unable to locate any crowd employment info specific to the FN303. If you have a weapon which may seriously injure or even kill someone if they are struck in the neck or face, would blindly firing into a crowd be a responsible thing to do?

Does anyone have an available video of the incident itself? CNN had this to say about it:However, video from the scene where Snelgrove was struck showed the crowd in a joyous mood, slapping high fives and chanting celebratory Red Sox slogans. There were no signs of near-riotous conditions in that immediate vicinity although the area was crowded, and dozens of people near her stopped celebrating when they realized the severity of her injury and they tried to get help. (LINK) (http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/10/22/fan.death/index.html)

JPL
October 24, 2004, 05:30 PM
Name calling, Mr. Coronach?

No, simply many years of personal observation of "society's protectors" in action.

The Nazi storm troopers were also rather tame compared to some of the "boys in blue" I've witness in action over the years.

Harry Tuttle
October 24, 2004, 05:58 PM
Reports from the area say the police had 37mm bean bag launchers, Tippmann 98s with 68 caliber pepper balls and FN303s with the fin stabilized bismuth rounds.

i have seen a Tippmann land a paintball 20 feet off of the intended target at 50 feet.

The FN303s are designed with superior accuracy compared to the common pepperball launcher.
They are far less likely to hit where they are not directed.


Boston police accept 'full responsibility' in death of Red Sox fan
Woman killed by projectile fired to disperse crowds
http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/10/22/fan.death/index.html

Coronach
October 24, 2004, 06:12 PM
Name calling, Mr. Coronach?

No, simply many years of personal observation of "society's protectors" in action.

The Nazi storm troopers were also rather tame compared to some of the "boys in blue" I've witness in action over the years.I dunno. I've spent several years watching "America's Gun Owners" in action, then, too. Want to be tarred with that brush?

The point I'm trying to make is that it is far easier to generalize and use slurs based upon the perceptions caused by a relative few in any given group than it is to take a thoughtful, considered approach. One requires thought, the other just a soundbyte.

Rule 4: Know Your Target and What is Beyond ItPax hit the nail on the head. Yes, all impact-style crowd control munitions are most effective if aimed for a certain body part of a rioter, preferably an agitator. However, all crowd control munitions are designed to be used (drumroll) against a crowd. This means that their engagement envelope is not so limited that you must have one solitary rioter (a contradiction in terms) up against a solid brick wall before you can pull the trigger. Do you aim for, say, chest and below? Yes. Do you try to pick out an agitator to be the unwilling recipient of several ounces of munition travelling at 300 fps? Yes.

However, if you have a mass of people running arund and throwing bricks and bottles at you, do you stand there and wait for the perfect shot before you loose a round? No, you do not. You take aim at a rioter or a knot of violent people, try to keep it to the level of chest and below, pull the trigger, and reload.

These weapons are designed to be used against a crowd. There will always be people in front of, beside, and behind the intended target. Guess what? They're targets, too.

Now. Was Snelgrove or anyone in Snelgrove's immediate area the target? Quite possibly no. Certainly Snelgrove was not. However, there should not have been anyone there, Snelgrove included. Someone between Snelgrove and the police was the intended target (or the round took a very very freak bounce, which is also quite possible)...so despite what CNN says, it is exceedingly likely that someone in the "area" was being violent. As a matter of fact, the original news stories state that this happened just after a bottle was hurled at a mounted officer, and another officer in the vicinity shot the munitions into the crowd. So much for no one being violent in the area.

The main problem in relying on witness testimony about what was happening is this: witnesses can testify with relative certainty to what they see. They cannot testify at all to what they don't see. Think about this for a moment. You're in a crowd of yelling, jumping, shouting people. It's easy to lose track of the people you are there with...and if you cannot even keep a simple visual track on your friends, how can you state with certainty that no one was engaing in any given activity anywhere in the square? That is why whenever I hear anyone say "Dude, I was there, and no one was throwing bottles" I automatically translate that into "I didn't see anyone throw any bottles." A fine distinction, you might argue, but when you also were there and had two bottles bounce off your shield, you know that someone there was lobbing empties at you. ;) (and, heh, you know what? I didn't see anyone throw the bottle either...but unless it is suddenly raining Miller Genuine Draft, I know it was thrown)

Also, Matt Payne, perhaps I'm misreading...but I did not get the idea that a mounted officer fired the weapon. Generally, they don't give such weapons to mounted officers for the very reason you gave. Also, they are two handed weapons, and unlike the knights of old, most mounted officers are not adept that riding without use of reins.

The simple facts are this- a young woman is dead and it is a tragedy. It remains to be seen if this tragedy is the result of a freak chance, or if an officer was using a crowd control munition improperly.

Mike

Harry Tuttle
October 24, 2004, 06:20 PM
FN 303
The FN 303 is designed to be the premier system for situations requiring less lethal response. Completely dedicated to reduced lethality and liability, the basis of the FN 303 concept lies in its ammunition. The .68 caliber, 8.5 g weight projectiles utilize a fin stabilized polystyrene body and non-toxic bismuth forward payload to provide both a more accurate, greater effective range than other less than lethal weapons. The primary effect of the projectile is trauma, which directly neutralizes the aggressor. In addition, secondary effects from the projectiles can be delivered via a chemical payload depending on mission requirements.

http://www.fnhusa.com/contents/ll_303.htm

http://www.fnhusa.com/contents/images/303chart2.gif


The primary effect of the FN 303 is trauma. The shock delivered is 24.5 Foot Pounds (15J/cm sq) which directly neutralizes the aggressor. Secondary effects can be delivered via chemical payload chosen according to mission requirements.
http://www.fnhusa.com/contents/images/303chart1.gif

NineseveN
October 24, 2004, 06:27 PM
Coronach hit the nail on the head. 10 ring all the way.

Those that have bias against the LEOs will never change their mind (until they need one usually). I am neither biased for or against LEOs, I have seen and been subject to them doing some pretty shady things, but I have also seen, been subject to and known some amazingly heroic, compassionate and selfless acts from LEOs. No group is really the sum of a few individuals, to lump them all together is a bad idea. Otherwise all blacks would be drug dealing gangsters and jobless bums. All Muslims would be terrorists. All southerners would be stupid, ignorant, arrogant racist buffoons. All gunowners would be war-mongering, frothing at the mouth, paranoid, anti-goverment baby killers that long to go on mass and random killing sprees and commit various felonies with said guns.

I'd hope we'd all be smart enough to know that none of these stereotypes are true and that bad news sells, good news barely makes it past editing.

NineseveN
October 24, 2004, 06:30 PM
Harry Tuttle:

Thanks for posting that from the FN website. Perhaps the training the officers received dictated that these rounds were not "unsafe" past a few meters as the graphs suggest. Again, the officer could have done everything right according to his or her training and someone still died. Unfortunately for everyone inolved, that happens.

Dbl0Kevin
October 24, 2004, 07:52 PM
Property crimes rarely call for potentially lethal force, so even if the riot were composed purely of car-tippers and tire-burners, shooting may not have been justified. But when thousands of people are, really, peacably assembled, and a couple dozen donkeyholes decide to break stuff, shooting what may well be a lethal weapon is certainly not justified.

No offense, but you do not make law nor departmental policy for when it is justified to deploy less lethal munitions. The FACT is that in this situation the pepperball and FN303 WERE in fact perfectly justified in being deployed. Riots are NOT simply "property crimes"!! And I don't think anyone is trying to say that there were "thousands of people peaceably assembled". The fact was that there were people out of control and those people along with EVERYONE else, including this girl, was told to disperse and leave the area. It's obvious that you've never seen a riot or tried to stop one. You can't underestimate the mob mentality when normally law abiding and calm people will get caught up in the crowd and go nuts. This can lead to people getting hurt, trampled, and killed by a number of means. Less lethal munitions such as pepperballs and the FN303 were made SPECIFICALLY for this purpose. As I stated before the old way of putting down a riot involved lines of officers with long batons and people getting hit. These new technologies are ways to try to lesson the injuries to people when stopping a riot. Obviously they are not fool proof and never had claimed to be.....that's why they're called LESS lethal instead of NON lethal.

Apparently to some people no matter what action the police take they will be wrong. If they fail to stop the riot and a person or personS get killed then they'll be wrong. If no one gets killed but the whole area is destroyed then the business owners and home owners of the area will say the police are wrong. And if as in this situation they come in and stop the riot and in the process, while following every procedure by which they were trained as we know of yet, someone gets killed.....they are wrong. So I'll tell ya what the next time a riot situation arises how about we have the police call up all you critics and let you handle the situation since you all know so much better. I'm sure you can solve the problem to EVERYONE'S satisfaction. :rolleyes:

Coronach
October 24, 2004, 08:42 PM
If Dbl0Kevin will allow to clarify one point:

It is not yet clear whether or not the Boston PD officer that fired the round was, in fact, following procedure or not. However, it could easily come out that he did everything perfectly.

I believe that Dbl0Kevin said that in his last post (please correct me if I am wrong), but it was less obvious than it might have been. Jury is still out on if it was done by the book or not.

Also, to now expand upon one of his points: the cops get called to deal with riots, and the best way to deal with a riot is to catch it early, when it is in the first stages of turning violent. Once bottles start flying and property starts getting destroyed the cops either have to get a handle on it right freakin now, or by the time they start coming to grips with the situation it will be too late. And by 'too late' I mean that there will be many injuries, a lot of property destruction, and perhaps loss of life- and all of this is just from the riot itself, not from the police response needed to make the area safe. That will entail even more bloodshed and damage to property.

So the entire point of the police showing up, donning gear, issuing orders and then taking action is to prevent injury to persons and damage to property. To be perfectly blunt, if any street cop in the USA were asked which he would rather do, quell a riot or cruise his beat in his squad car, the answer would probably be a landslide victory for the daily routine.

No one wants to play Imperial Stormtrooper in the Rebel base, mmkay? ;)

Dbl0Kevin
October 24, 2004, 08:50 PM
I believe that Dbl0Kevin said that in his last post (please correct me if I am wrong), but it was less obvious than it might have been. Jury is still out on if it was done by the book or not.

Yeah I guess I didn't make it clear enough. What I meant was that as of yet we don't know of any officer violating policy on using less lethal munitions. If a policy WAS violated then the guy is gonna hang, but my point was that it is perfectly concievable for everything to be done by the book and the girl still to be killed.

Lone_Gunman
October 24, 2004, 08:54 PM
Whether you support the police or not, does anyone here think there is a chance there won't be a civil suit against Boston, and possibly the gun manufacturer?

Does anyone think Boston and/or the manufacturer won't lose mega bucks over this?

Dbl0Kevin
October 24, 2004, 09:01 PM
Whether you support the police or not, does anyone here think there is a chance there won't be a civil suit against Boston, and possibly the gun manufacturer?

This is America isn't it? Sadly I don't even have to answer that question.

Coronach
October 24, 2004, 10:06 PM
Well.

Lets see. You're on a jury. A girl is dead. Her family is devastated. A large city is the defendant.

The absolute most the girl did wrong was fail to leave an area when ordered to do so by the police.

You have the power to give her family a lot of money out of the city's coffers.

What do you want to do, before hearing the details?

Mike

Lone_Gunman
October 24, 2004, 10:34 PM
Coronach, let suppose the facts boil down to what you implied above...

Girl failed to disperse when ordered.

Policeman used weapon in accordance with policy. We'll say he was aiming at someone's torso, and they moved, and the girl got hit.

Weapon performed normally.

Girl hit in head and dies at scene.

When we boil to scenario down to that, do you think the city or manufacturer owe any financial liability in this situation?

Personally, I am not sure police should be using "less lethal" weapons.

Dbl0Kevin
October 24, 2004, 10:43 PM
Personally, I am not sure police should be using "less lethal" weapons.

Any better ideas on how to stop a riot or put down a mentally unstable suspect with a weapon short of shooting him?

Lone_Gunman
October 24, 2004, 11:07 PM
Any better ideas on how to stop a riot or put down a mentally unstable suspect with a weapon short of shooting him?

Not really. Pretty much anything they use can be lethal.

Maybe if they didn't use the bisthmus, and just used pepper balls? Maybe if they didnt even aim at people, but instead hard objects? I don't know enough about the technology to suggest alternatives, but I do think the police officer never intended to kill this girl, and although he may have been briefed that this projectile was lethal, never expected anyone to die if he pulled the trigger.

Harry Tuttle
October 24, 2004, 11:31 PM
The bismuth in the 303 round makes them much more accurate than pepperballs,
removing it makes the 303 more likely to not hit where it is aimed.

Tom Kaye from Airgun Designs engineered the system to maximize accuracy.

It does strike with ~3 times the mass of a conventional pepperball

Coronach
October 24, 2004, 11:52 PM
Like everything, its all tradeoffs. We all know the physics. Lone_Gunman got it pretty much right- anything that works can kill. And the idea of shooting only objects assumes that there are objects to be shot. More often than not, its a large mass of people and not much else. You might be able to do the ground at the feet of the front line...you might not...and what if the front line isn't the problem?

Use chemical only? Doesn't provide immediate effect, and sometimes can't be used at all. Also, heck...there are arguments that for people with respiratory problems, OC or CS could be as deadly as a round to the head (not sure I buy it, but everything has its potential problems, it seems).

Best part? You still have to get the job done, regardless of what everyone and his uncle says about your weapons and/or tactics. I mean, I'm all for a sane after-action review. Someone died. But, lets be reasonable about it.

Mike

firearms_instructor
October 25, 2004, 02:25 AM
- that FN303 round reminds me of a huge Glaser Safety Slug (remember the alleged goats?)

- to those who have implied that Ms. Snelgrove was at fault for not dispersing, or for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, I say we may never know if she was trying to leave, or if she was looking for a safe way to depart...

cracked butt
October 25, 2004, 03:02 AM
This is becoming one of the *lets blame and second guess the police for carrying out their duties as best as possible instead of blaming the criminals causing the incident* threads.:rolleyes:

The rioters are the ones responsible for this mess. Unfortunately, city governments are perceived to have deep pockets and will be the the first to take the bla, I mean lawsuit.:fire:

atek3
October 25, 2004, 03:44 AM
http://www.lewrockwell.com/stein/stein17.html

CannibalCrowley
October 25, 2004, 07:49 AM
This entire discussion pretty much boils down to one question. Is the officer responsible for the round he fired?

We all know that limitations exist for certain weapons and the officer should've known the limits of his weapon. There may have been circumstances which made his choice difficult, but that doesn't change the question. Furthermore, if this officer isn't responsible for a round he fired, then should police be held responsible for any rounds they fire?

flatrock
October 25, 2004, 09:32 AM
This entire discussion pretty much boils down to one question. Is the officer responsible for the round he fired?

The officer is responsible for only using a level of force needed for the situation.

I think that in this case the use of the pepper balls was warranted.

The officer is responsible for not trying to intentionally trying to cause harm or injury that is not necessisary.

In this case that does not appear to be the case.

The officer is not responsible for unintended consequenses of the use of force that he was required to use by the actions of others.

Those that created the situation which required the officer to use that force bear the responsibility for those results.

If that's not the way things work, then law enforcement will become completely impotent because they can't do anything without getting sued, and good officers will choose other careers rather than have their lives and careers ruined by malicious lawsuits.

Harry Tuttle
October 25, 2004, 01:12 PM
from atek3's lew rockwell link:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/stein/no_riot.jpg

Coronach
October 25, 2004, 01:50 PM
Interesting. Was that pic from Kenmore Square? It might be, but I've seen it before (possibly elsewhere talking about this incident, but possibly file footage).

Russ Stein's writeup is a nice piece of knee-jerk emotionalism, btw. So, all I can gather from his column is this:

1. I didn't see any violence.
2. I didn't see any property destruction (except for hundreds of people standing on cars, and its ok, I didn't park here. Its cool.)
3. The cops started all of this.
4. Some rhetortic about not being able to shoot DNC protestors, so they decided to shoot Red Sox Fans.
5. The cops are all Yankees fans.
6. The police shouldn't increase security in an area just because it had a riot (AKA blissninny feelgoodism: if the cops aren't there, we won't have a second riot, and they scare me anyway)

Ok, I made #5 up. But the rest was all in there.


Mike (Yankees Fan)

Cosmoline
October 25, 2004, 02:01 PM
The officer is responsible for only using a level of force needed for the situation.

True, but in this case shooting a woman in the eye and killing her was quite clearly excessive force for the situation. Anyone who fires a projectile is responsible for where that projectile goes. Period, end of story. The officer shot the woman in the eye, which was clearly excessive. Either he wasn't paying attention to his target, in which case he was reckless, or he was aiming at her head in which case it was intentional.

CannibalCrowley
October 25, 2004, 02:20 PM
flatrock The officer is responsible for only using a level of force needed for the situation.
I think that in this case the use of the pepper balls was warranted. Are you saying that lethal force was warranted? Just like the baton example earlier, a FN303 projectile (more dangerous than a Pepperball) should be considered lethal force when applied to potentially lethal area.

Coronach
October 25, 2004, 02:38 PM
CannibalCrowley.

Counterpoint: if an officer is attempting to subdue a resisting suspect, takes a swing at the suspect's arm to block a blow, and misses (due to the rather unscripted nature of a real event), and hits him in the head, does that mean that he should be charged with murder, felonious assault, whatever?

The point is this: if the officer took aim at Snelgrove's head and shot her in it, you have a case for civil liability and criminal charges.

As it is, there is no case for criminal charges that I can see thus far, but doubtless there will be an examination of the civil liability angle.

You insist on painting this as a scenario in which a person is using a firearm against a lone assailant. This is not that scenario.

Mike

Dbl0Kevin
October 25, 2004, 03:04 PM
My god some of these arguements make me want to SCREAM. I'd like to see some of these people that claim he obviously aimed for and shot her in the eye try to shoot a target the size of an eye at a range.......then I'd like them to repeat that shot in the midst of a RIOT. I don't know why I bother anymore because some people are clearly not listening to the way police procedure is written and less lethal munitions are deployed.

I think a good quote from Don Gwinn about sums up this discussion for some of the people here:

But hey, this is the internet! I have a keyboard, therefore I am an expert.

Lone_Gunman
October 25, 2004, 03:16 PM
I'd like to see some of these people that claim he obviously aimed for and shot her in the eye try to shoot a target the size of an eye at a range

Dbl0Kevin...

Who said he aimed for her eye?

Dbl0Kevin
October 25, 2004, 03:20 PM
True, but in this case shooting a woman in the eye and killing her was quite clearly excessive force for the situation. Anyone who fires a projectile is responsible for where that projectile goes. Period, end of story. The officer shot the woman in the eye, which was clearly excessive. Either he wasn't paying attention to his target, in which case he was reckless, or he was aiming at her head in which case it was intentional.

Cosmoline
October 25, 2004, 03:29 PM
He either aimed for her head or his rifle was pointing at her head. Bullets don't veer off in one direction or another. If he aimed at her head, it's intentional. If he simply fired and his rifle happened to be pointing at her head, it's reckless.

Dbl0Kevin
October 25, 2004, 03:44 PM
He either aimed for her head or his rifle was pointing at her head. Bullets don't veer off in one direction or another. If he aimed at her head, it's intentional. If he simply fired and his rifle happened to be pointing at her head, it's reckless.

Must be nice living in a vacumn where no outside influences can effect the outcome of anything. :rolleyes:

1. This was not a BULLET.....be it a pepperball especially or an FN303 round, YES it can veer off in another direction quite easily.

2. In a crowd of moving people, that would be a riot, it's NOT easy to aim for one person's head and actually hit it.

3. In a crowd of moving people, that would be a riot again, people are moving around and falling. A pepperball or FN303 round is shot at a low velocity and a lot can happen in the time it is fired and the time it impacts. Someone could have moved out of the way, she could have moved into it etc.

4. The point of pepperball, FN303 and other less lethal munitions is to fire at a CROWD of which she was a part. It is HIGHLY unlikely that any officer would purposely aim for someone's head and as I just pointed out it would have to be pretty lucky to hit it EVEN IF he was aiming for her head.

Cosmoline
October 25, 2004, 04:15 PM
You cannot aim any projectile weapon at "a crowd." The weapon will fire a projectile into a field of one or two minutes of angle. It's not a water hose. A crowd at close range fills a field many times larger than one MOA. It fills an entire spectrum of a hundred degrees of angle or more on the horizontal axis and many degrees on the vertical. So let's drop this nonsense about firing "at a crowd."

If you could have looked down the sights of that rifle right as the trigger was pulled, you would have seen that woman's head. Airguns are not firearms, but their projectiles still move faster than a person. Nor do their projectiles just stop and alter course mid-flight.

Dbl0Kevin
October 25, 2004, 04:42 PM
Cosmoline,

No offense but it's painfully obvious you've never fired a paintball gun (same thing as pepperball) or any other such device. They do NOT have an accuracy of 1 to 2 MOA.....not even CLOSE. The "sights" as you call them are very rudimentary and quite uselss. They are not meant to be precision weapons such as a firearm. You DO shoot them into a crowd and whoever happens to be the one unlucky enough to get hit with them that's the breaks. You CAN move out of the way of a pepperball moving 280-300 FPS. Again you've obviously never played paintball because I've seen this and done it myself quite a few times. As I've said before there is a hostile and moving crowd during a riot and MANY things can happen from the time your nervous system sends the signal to pull the trigger until the time the round impacts. If you don't believe me I don't know what else to tell you because those are the facts.

Cosmoline
October 25, 2004, 04:59 PM
These people can dodge a tiny object moving several hundred feet per second at point blank range? Wow, those protestors must be kung fu masters.

The absolute rule is you are responsible for every projectile leaving your weapon. That applies to paintballs, pepperballs, rifle bullets, or cannon balls. No exceptions. Oh, unless you're a cop and then it's the victim's fault for somehow jumping in the way of your projectile and smacking it with her eye.

Harry Tuttle
October 25, 2004, 05:14 PM
heres a shot grouping from Boston
http://cache.boston.com/bonzai-fba/Globe_Photo/2004/10/25/1098696231_7165.jpg
http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2004/10/25/man_says_police_pellets_hit_him_2_others/
It took 19 stitches to sew up the hole in the flesh above Gately's top lip. He and his sister had watched the game at a bar near the ballpark, and after the Sox pennant victory, he said, they were heading for her car when they got caught up in the raucous celebrations and decided to climb the Green Monster.

"We were just cheering and enjoying ourselves and having a wonderful time," said Katie Gately, 29, a teacher at Harvard/Kent Elementary School in Charlestown.

The next thing they knew, her brother said, a pepper pellet tore into his cheek.

"I just looked and held my face, and there was blood all over my hands," he said. "I had it . . . all over my face and all over my shirt."

The guns continued to snap and pop, and Gately said he descended from near the top of the Monster and approached an officer for help, his hands covered in blood. "Before I knew it, the officer turned around and opened fire on me," he said. Gately pulled up his shirt yesterday to show several purple-and-yellowish welts.

Dbl0Kevin
October 25, 2004, 05:32 PM
These people can dodge a tiny object moving several hundred feet per second at point blank range? Wow, those protestors must be kung fu masters.

The absolute rule is you are responsible for every projectile leaving your weapon. That applies to paintballs, pepperballs, rifle bullets, or cannon balls. No exceptions. Oh, unless you're a cop and then it's the victim's fault for somehow jumping in the way of your projectile and smacking it with her eye.



Cosmoline,

I can tell now that no matter what anyone says you will not listen to reason. You are now stating things that no one has claimed before. Show me where it says the people were shot at "point blank range". That's a straight out made up, fabrication. Also you don't even have to dodge something on purpose, as I said people are naturally moving in a riot. I guess being the expert gunner that you are you've NEVER missed a shot that you were aiming at. Especially at a moving target in the midst of a riot while your adrenaline is pumping.

Who's absolute rule is that? Yours? That's fine. But I've already stated the rules and policies for using less lethal munitions in a crowd control situation. If an officer follows those rules, and we have no reason yet to believe the officer did not, then he is not at fault for this girl's death.

I don't know why I continue to beat my head into a wall trying to explain this......maybe I'm just a self-masochist. :neener:

carebear
October 25, 2004, 05:46 PM
......maybe I'm just a self-masochist.

Is there any other kind? :D

I don't feel too sorry for Mr. Gately. When you feel yourself "getting caught up in it" is when grown-up people (even in their 20's) are supposed to say "hey, is this a SMART thing I'm about to do?"

And, regardless of the Officer Friendly lessons back in the day, in a riot/big raucous disturbance is NOT the time to go "approaching" an officer for ANYTHING, especially one who is in the middle of shooting people.

Two words Mr. Gately, "run away".

Cosmoline
October 25, 2004, 06:33 PM
Would those regulations you quote protect me from prosecution?

That's what I thought.

One law for me, another for thee.

Cosmoline
October 25, 2004, 06:37 PM
Police offered no explanation yesterday for why they had not disclosed that two other people besides Snelgrove had been hit in the face last week, but said an investigation of the shootings is ongoing.

Golly. Looks like those guns may be closer to MOA than we thought :eek:

He said the pepper balls are sometimes inaccurate, curving in flight.

All projectiles curve in flight! I'll remember to use that excuse when I kill someone with a .45-70. "But it's inaccurate--it curves in flight. It's not like a video game at all!"

Dbl0Kevin
October 25, 2004, 06:47 PM
Would those regulations you quote protect me from prosecution?

Are you a member of the department? No I didn't think so. Thus you don't have to abide by their standard operation procedures. Just as I don't have to follow the polices of any government agency for which I'm not a member. Since you are not a police officer you would have no business out in the middle of a riot using less lethal muntions trying to stop one. I can see that your hatred for police in general will not let you even consider things objectively.

All projectiles curve in flight! I'll remember to use that excuse when I kill someone with a .45-70. "But it's inaccurate--it curves in flight. It's not like a video game at all!"

God you're dense. They're not talking about a downward curve caused by gravity such as with a bullet. These are round objects shot from a smoothbore barrel. I have personally seen paintballs corkscrew straight up into the air make a 70* turn to the left right or downwards. It is not uncommon. But I'm sure this won't change your mind as you obviously know everything......even things that you've never seen in person, been trained with, or have experience with. :rolleyes:

Lone_Gunman
October 25, 2004, 06:48 PM
Dbl0Kevin...

If these guns are as inaccurate as you say (which I do not doubt), and if the projectiles are prone to veer off randomly and hit people in the head causing death, then maybe the should not be used in the first place?

Why would a department want to use an inaccurate, lethal weapon with all the resulting liablity?

Why would an officer want to use one, knowing he might kill someone when a bullet zig zags off course?

It would seem to me that if a lethal weapon cannot be properly controlled, it should not be used.

Dbl0Kevin
October 25, 2004, 06:52 PM
If these guns are as inaccurate as you say, and if the projectiles are prone to veer off randomly and hit people in the head causing death, then maybe the should not be used in the first place?

It does not happen all the time......but it CAN happen. Even still these have been used many times without causing death. As I said before the other options are even more dangerous and will cause more injury.

You basically have two options here.

1. You don't want to risk the police causing ANY injury to anyone and as such they'll stay away. This will let the riot to get out of control completely and the whole area will be trashed and many people will be hurt and possibly killed by out of control rioters.

2. You are willing to accept the fact that police action to stop a riot will possibly cause injury or death to some people in order to prevent mass chaos and even MORE injury and death to people as well as massive property destruction.

Neither is a choice anyone would like to make, but personally I have to advocate number 2.

Lone_Gunman
October 25, 2004, 06:56 PM
Would using just a pepperball, instead of something containing bisthmuth, be less likely to cause death? I know it is still possible to die from an allergic reaction, but that might be more unlikely than dying from an accidental hit in the head.

What about a water cannon?

I am not a police officer, and don't claim to know anything about crowd control, just wondering out loud about alternatives that would keep this from happening.

Cosmoline
October 25, 2004, 07:01 PM
Why are you making this into a personal attack? I am criticizing the Boston PD, not you. But it's nice to know if I do get caught up in a riot I won't be able to use the defenses the LEOs use. In fact I'll be deemed a "punk" and charged. If I escape the bullets, that is. One law for thee, another for me.

For weapons as inaccurate as you claim, these FN's seem to be doing some serious damage. I have yet to see any smoothbore able to fire a projectile that changes its direction mid-course, other than an RPG.


Some facts about the delivery system

http://www.spa-simrad.com/fn303faqs.htm

"Precision is one of the key points of the system."

Hmmm

Cosmoline
October 25, 2004, 07:10 PM
There are many options before resulting to lethal force, none of which appear to have been done in this case. IMHO the same rules should apply to everyone--cop and non-cop alike. Lethal force is only allowed if there is a threat of imminent deadly force from the person you use lethal force against. That was clearly not the case here.

The cops should consider filling a surplus fire truck or two with stink compounds and spraying them on the crowd if they're really that concerned about it.

GhostRider66
October 25, 2004, 07:38 PM
I carefully read through all of the arguments from both sides and not until I saw the picture above did I come to this conclusion. The LEOs arguments here just don't hold water. If that picture doesn't indicate purposeful targeting I don't know what does. That level of grouping (I count six visible shots) plainly indicates intentional multiple hits. There is absolutely no excuse for this type of injury unless the person was actively involved in an extreme act (read: felony) of some kind.

If the weapons are accurate enough for this type of grouping at a reasonable distance (Don't knit pick this point. We can all figure out the general range we're talking about), then they are accurate enough to be controlled by the officer to not be aimed where they might cause damage to civilians unless deadly force is already legally justified and is just not desired by LEOs.

If the weapons are not accurate enough for this type of grouping (or reliably so) but are capable of the type of physical damage above, then they should not be used at all just because of the unreliable nature of the item.

Either way, I do think that the officers here jumped the gun (pun intended) in this case. From the majority of non-LEO accounts I read, the incident was not even close to some of the other riots we have seen of late which makes this more of the officers wanting to prevent or preempt such an occurrence and that folks, makes it even a greater shame that a young girl had to die.

Dbl0Kevin
October 25, 2004, 08:22 PM
But it's nice to know if I do get caught up in a riot I won't be able to use the defenses the LEOs use.

They are not "defenses" they are proactive OFFENSIVE weapons used to stop a riot.

bad_dad_brad
October 25, 2004, 08:48 PM
One of the most effective crowd control devices is the simple water cannon. They use them in Europe. Tried in the U.S. back in the 60s civil rights riots. Looked bad on TV so they stopped using this very effective and non-lethal method. Go figure.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/encyclopedia/water_cannon

carebear
October 25, 2004, 08:48 PM
he meant the legal defenses of falling back on "did it meet policy"

(i think)

Dbl0Kevin
October 25, 2004, 09:14 PM
Lethal force is only allowed if there is a threat of imminent deadly force from the person you use lethal force against. That was clearly not the case here.

A pepperball or FN303 is not considered lethal force......as I've said about 50 times they're considered less lethal weapons. On the use of force ladder they fall into mechanical force such as a baton, handcuffs, etc. and you are not required to be in imminent threat of deadly force to use them.

You do not know police policy and procedure so please don't just make things up that sound like rules and say that this is what you have to abide by so the cop was wrong.

Coronach
October 25, 2004, 09:35 PM
He either aimed for her head or his rifle was pointing at her head. Bullets don't veer off in one direction or another. If he aimed at her head, it's intentional. If he simply fired and his rifle happened to be pointing at her head, it's reckless.First off, it is not a rifle. Second off, its not even a firearm. Third off, its not a bullet. Fourth off, the projectiles do veer off course, quite a bit.

I hope I'm making it plain enough that I disagree with almost everything stated in that quote. ;)

Yes, if he aimed at her head it was intentional. If he did what is most likely, that being firing into the throng of rioters, his striking her in the head was not intentional, and the use was quite possibly completely proper.

Everyone here seems to be having a difficult time realizing this:

THESE WEAPONS ARE DESIGNED TO BE SHOT INTO A CROWD.

We've now reached the point where the thread is begining to serve no useful purpose, because everyone ignores this basic point. Everyone starts spouting off about Rule 4, without realizing that this is probably the one time that Rule 4 does not apply...since these are not guns, they are less-lethal munitions, and everyone who is in the area is a valid target.

You cannot aim any projectile weapon at "a crowd."Actually, you can. You try to pick out an agitator, but sometimes is a knot of people. This is probably the 5th time I've said this. This is reaching the level of nuh-uh/uh-huh. We can argue if this is wise. We can argue if this is proper. But this is the way these munitions, in general, are designed to work.The weapon will fire a projectile into a field of one or two minutes of angle. It's not a water hose. A crowd at close range fills a field many times larger than one MOA. It fills an entire spectrum of a hundred degrees of angle or more on the horizontal axis and many degrees on the vertical. So let's drop this nonsense about firing "at a crowd."Please cite your training in crowd control munitions. Don't state physics. We all know the physics. I want to hear your training, so I will know whether you have some basis for your position.If you could have looked down the sights of that rifle right as the trigger was pulled, you would have seen that woman's head.Assuming you could see that far, or assuming there was not a running body in the way, or assuming there was not a angled surface off of which the round bounced.Airguns are not firearms, but their projectiles still move faster than a person.No, but the very characteristics that make them less-lethal make them behave unpredictably when they hit something.Nor do their projectiles just stop and alter course mid-flight.Of course not. But they will curve in a non-predictable manner. Supposedly the FN303 is better about this than many similar designs, but i'm sure its not anywhere close to a MOA weapon over distance. Not that any of this is relevant...see the large bold words above.There are many options before resulting to lethal force, none of which appear to have been done in this case. IMHO the same rules should apply to everyone--cop and non-cop alike. Lethal force is only allowed if there is a threat of imminent deadly force from the person you use lethal force against. That was clearly not the case here.First of all, the whole point of the weapon is that it is not deadly force. It is a less-lethal weapon, which means that it is very unlikely to cause serious injury or death if properly used...but as it is not Nerf, it still can.

The obvious rebuttal is that someone sure does seem to be dead. My redirect would be this; one of three things happened:

1. It was misused.
2. It is a flawed weapon.
3. it was a freak chance.

The jury is still out on which of the three it is.The cops should consider filling a surplus fire truck or two with stink compounds and spraying them on the crowd if they're really that concerned about it.There are a whole host of possible alternatives to the use of impact-style crowd control weapons. The questions become which of them were available and which of them were feasible to use? Personally, I think that impact style weapons serve a valuable purpose. They are man-portable (unlike a fire truck), provide an instant response to violent rioters, and are able to be used against protestors with gasmasks. I can see why the PDs have them, and use them. Were they employed properly here? I have no idea, and neither does anyone else on THR- yet. The after-action investigation will be forthcoming soon enough.I carefully read through all of the arguments from both sides and not until I saw the picture above did I come to this conclusion. The LEOs arguments here just don't hold water. If that picture doesn't indicate purposeful targeting I don't know what does. That level of grouping (I count six visible shots) plainly indicates intentional multiple hits. There is absolutely no excuse for this type of injury unless the person was actively involved in an extreme act (read: felony) of some kind.Thats a nice opinion, and you're entitled to it. However, if he was approaching a police officer who was trying to clear the scene, refusing to obey verbal commands, and quite possibly was a violent rioter- hey, game on.

Yes, I'm aware that he says that he was just trying to get help. Most people who are arrested have some explaination for their actions besides "I'm a guy who was throwing bottles at the cops." I'm saying that he could easily have earned every one of those rounds. Dunno, wasn't there.But it's nice to know if I do get caught up in a riot I won't be able to use the defenses the LEOs use.Guess what? It is a two-standard system. The police, in this instance, have a power and authority that private citizens simply do not have. they have the power to declare an area off-limits to everyone, and the authority to clear everyone out. The instant you get that legal authority we can talk about what 'defenses' you have to prosecution/liability. In the interim? Yes, if you are walking down the street, see a violent riot, pull out your 1911 and fire off a few rounds into the crowd, you will be arrested and prosecuted. This is, in my eyes, perfectly correct.

Mike

Cosmoline
October 25, 2004, 09:59 PM
Any weapon that kills is a lethal weapon. Period. All the nonense about how it's designed for this or that is meaningless gibber. If it kills, it's lethal. If I shoot my roommate in the head with a bean bag load and kill her, then claim I was only using non-lethal force and only aiming in her general direction but the bean bag swung right unexpectedly, I guarantee the DA will have a good laugh along with the jury and I'll be spending some quality decades over in Seward. If I know better than that, the cops sure should have. Maybe they had "special training" which taught them they could shoot people in the head with pellets without problems. I must have missed that course. The only question here is whether the officer who was shooting was facing imminent deadly peril. Calling the victim a "punk" and citing some police regulation doesn't cut it.

Guess what? It is a two-standard system.

I know. And this is what I object to. So far I have heard no viable justification for applying a double standard. The police have truly non-lethal forms of crowd control at their disposal. They have the power to arrest trouble makers. Nothing should give them the power to cap off lethal rounds into a crowd because they want to make people leave. That in my mind is manslaughter at the very least.

Lone_Gunman
October 25, 2004, 10:20 PM
A Datsun at 50 mph is less lethal than a Mack Truck at 100 mph.

I bet if you ask the girl whether she was killed by a lethal or less lethal weapon, she would tell you it really doesn't matter.

From what Coronach and Dbl0Kevin have said, this is what I can conclude about these weapons:

They are lethal.

They are difficult to hit accurately with.

The projectile may veer off randomly, out of the control of the operator.

They are designed to be shot into crowds, preferably, not necessarily, aimed at one individual.


Now I think these 4 things work together to create a recipe for disaster as we have seen in this story.

It is my opinion that these weapons, and their philosophy of use, is fundamentally flawed. I feel they give people a false sense of security by calling them "less lethal". I think police officers should not be armed with weapons of any kind that cannot be accurately and precisely deployed. I think aiming into crowds is bad... an imprecise target such as a crowd will result in inprecise shot placement.

Understand all that is just my opinion, after reading this story, and reading other people, who claim to know more than me.

I do not think these things should be used by police.

Coronach
October 25, 2004, 10:23 PM
According to some, my mace can kill. My taser can kill. My baton can kill. A jet of water from a fire truck can be lethal if it slams a protestor against a fixed object.

If we are to engage in this kind of speculation, nothing is non-lethal. Its all a question of degrees of lethality. these weapons are designed to be non-lethal. They usually work that way, too.I know. And this is what I object to. So far I have heard no viable justification for applying a double standard. The police have truly non-lethal forms of crowd control at their disposal. They have the power to arrest trouble makers. Nothing should give them the power to cap off lethal rounds into a crowd because they want to make people leave. That in my mind is manslaughter at the very least.Well, once again, are you objecting to the presence of the double-standard, or the use of the weapons? You seem to be muddling the two points. the cops have an authority and power that private citizens do not have. This is a double standard. Are you saying that they should not have the authority to clear rioters away? Or that they simply should not have the means to do it?

Arguing the pros and cons of a certain style of crowd control device is different from arguing against the double standard.

Furthermore, I'll maintain, again, that all crowd control devices that reliably provide immediate effect against a violent rioter have a small potential for lethality. Do I wish they didn't? Of course. Everyone wants a phaser. But they haven't invented it yet.

Mike

PS and in civil disorder, the power to arrest is more of an in-theory kind of thing than an in-practice kind of thing. By definition almost, the cops aren't able to just go arrest the guys causing all the problems. That is the major difficulty.

Dbl0Kevin
October 25, 2004, 10:29 PM
Any weapon that kills is a lethal weapon. Period.

Wrong........wrong.......and again.....WRONG. There are many things that CAN kill that are not considered lethal weapons. Paintball is a sport that is played every day in this country and people are shot all the time with them.....they don't die. Just because it's possible for an accident to occur and someone to die does not make a paintball gun, or a pepperball gun, a lethal weapon. A PR-24, police nightstick, is not considered a lethal weapon.....yet someone could easily be beat to death with one. A baseball bat can kill, yet if you have one you are not in possession of a lethal weapon. If you get into a car accident and someone dies should you then be charged with homicide because you used a car as a lethal weapon?

The fact is that pepperball and FN303 are NOT considered lethal weapons in the police arsenal of weapons. And you are not required to reach the level of lethal force in order to deploy them. I really don't know how many times I have to explain this before it sinks in. Just to deploy these weapons they have been tested, certified, and every officer who uses one must be trained and certified in their use. This is done to make sure the chance that someone is seriously hurt or killed is minimized, but even all that is not foolproof as I've said before and things STILL can happen.



Nothing should give them the power to cap off lethal rounds into a crowd because they want to make people leave. That in my mind is manslaughter at the very least.

Again they're not lethal rounds as I've explained above. If that is how you feel then there is no reliable way for police to intervene and stop a riot. So if that's what you want then please just say that and be done with it.

Dbl0Kevin
October 25, 2004, 10:35 PM
It is my opinion that these weapons, and their philosophy of use, is fundamentally flawed. I feel they give people a false sense of security by calling them "less lethal". I think police officers should not be armed with weapons of any kind that cannot be accurately and precisely deployed. I think aiming into crowds is bad... an imprecise target such as a crowd will result in inprecise shot placement.

I understand your opinion, I honestly do. The problem is that you are STILL left with a situation where you are obligated to stop a riot. The choices are either take action and people might get hurt, or don't take action and people might get hurt. Either way it's a lose/lose proposition. While people can be hurt and injured with these less lethal munitions that is far less likely to happen than with other methods that are available. Back in the 60's when my father worked in the Camden riots they used shotguns, not pepperball guns, to shoot at people who were throwing bricks and bottles at them. I'd say the pepperball guns are a step up. The bottom line is that these days there are no where near as many people hurt or killed by police in major crowd control situations and that tragedies like this are few and far between. This is why when it happens you see people that are shocked and appalled.

It's not an easy situation, but if you take away these less lethal options you're going to get more casualties not less in my opinion.

CannibalCrowley
October 25, 2004, 10:44 PM
Coronach THESE WEAPONS ARE DESIGNED TO BE SHOT INTO A CROWD. Do you have any documentation from the maker which states this? I've been on FN's site and nowhere do they mention that the FN303 should be used to spray rounds into a crowd.

Dbl0Kevin A pepperball or FN303 is not considered lethal force......as I've said about 50 times they're considered less lethal weapons. On the use of force ladder they fall into mechanical force such as a baton, handcuffs, etc. and you are not required to be in imminent threat of deadly force to use them. A baton to the head is considered lethal force, so shouldn't a pellet to the face be considered so, since their "mechanical force" like a baton?

Dbl0Kevin
October 25, 2004, 10:48 PM
A baton to the head is considered lethal force, so shouldn't a pellet to the face be considered so, since their "mechanical force" like a baton?

When used PROPERLY and as trained a baton is not considered lethal force. When I was certfied with a PR-24 they had a chart that showed the areas where you were supposed to hit and where you were not. If you hit in a "red" area such as the head when lethal force was not justified then you would be in big trouble.

The same applies to an FN303 or pepperball, and if they were deployed in accordance with training and policy then the officer is not liable. It is possible to have accidents and no one is infallible, but if you followed proper procedure and unfortunately things came out badly it's not your fault. As I said before there are many ways for her to be hit in the eye not being the fault of the officer.

carebear
October 25, 2004, 10:53 PM
Yup, just like a baton. That's why batons are considered less lethal when used according to policy, ie. no head strikes for subduing. When head strikes are used, if the review doesn't call it an accident or justified by circumstance, then it is unjustifiable use of deadly force and the officers go to trial.

Same dealio with the pepper slug thingie I'm sure, it is an impact weapon, thus headshots are not allowed unless you need deadly force. If you shoot and accidentally hit the head, same review process. Either it is a terrible accident or a real crime.

Why is this so tough?

pax
October 25, 2004, 10:56 PM
After 7 pages, this thread has finally reached the stage of "Did not." "Did TOO!" -- a sure sign that it's time to go do something else for awhile.

Anyone with questions, feel free to PM me or any one of the other moderators.

pax

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