Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

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

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Lone_Gunman, Oct 22, 2004.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    8,056
    Location:
    United Socialist States of Obama
    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".
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2004
  2. Zrex

    Zrex Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2004
    Messages:
    572
    Eye Witness Account

    ‘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.
     
  3. Zrex

    Zrex Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2004
    Messages:
    572
    Cops’ pepper shot kills student

    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.''




    [​IMG]
    Victoria Snelgrove
     
  4. TarpleyG

    TarpleyG Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Messages:
    2,981
    Location:
    North Carolina
    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
     
  5. sendec

    sendec member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    Messages:
    913
    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.
     
  6. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Messages:
    9,056
    Location:
    SouthEast PA
    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.
     
  7. CannibalCrowley

    CannibalCrowley Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2004
    Messages:
    926
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, Michigan
    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
    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.
     
  8. Edward429451

    Edward429451 member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    2,251
    Location:
    Colorado Springs Colorado
    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?
     
  9. Zrex

    Zrex Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2004
    Messages:
    572
    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.
     
  10. ballistic gelatin

    ballistic gelatin Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Messages:
    335
    Location:
    Florida
    Freakin' terrible.

    [​IMG]

    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:

    SURPRISE!!! YOU'RE SHOT!!!

    Most disturbing.
     
  11. George S.

    George S. Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Messages:
    1,117
    Location:
    Western WA
    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.

    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.
     
  12. Carlos Cabeza

    Carlos Cabeza Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2003
    Messages:
    1,523
    Location:
    Okie City, OK.
    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.
     
  13. flatrock

    flatrock Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    Messages:
    612
    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.
     
  14. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Messages:
    11,109
    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
     
  15. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Messages:
    11,109
    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
     
  16. Werewolf

    Werewolf Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2003
    Messages:
    4,192
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    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!
     
  17. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    8,056
    Location:
    United Socialist States of Obama
    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.
     
  18. Sindawe

    Sindawe Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    3,480
    Location:
    Outside The People's Republic of Boulder, CO
    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.
     
  19. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Messages:
    11,109
    Point.
    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.
    Well, there are two assumptions there that may or may not be sustained by the facts.
    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?
    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.
    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
     
  20. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Messages:
    11,109
    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 ;)
     
  21. Roadkill Coyote

    Roadkill Coyote Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Messages:
    364
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Well, on the how-could-this-have-happened front...

    First, according to a reports, Boston PD has, in the past deployed both Pepperball and the FN303. 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."

    [​IMG] <<<<<<<< that would appear to be it up front.

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

    sendec member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    Messages:
    913
    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.
     
  23. Roadkill Coyote

    Roadkill Coyote Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Messages:
    364
    Location:
    Oklahoma
  24. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    43,748
    Location:
    Terlingua, TX; Thomasville,GA
    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
     
  25. goon

    goon Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2003
    Messages:
    7,251
    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.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page