Make this page my home page
  1. Drag the home icon in this panel and drop it onto the "house icon" in the tool bar for the browser

  2. Select "Yes" from the popup window and you're done!

Home  >  Topics  >  Less Lethal

May 26, 2005
Print Comment RSS

Boston Investigation: Police Errors Led to Student's Death at Celebration

Associated Press Writer

BOSTON - The death of a woman who was shot in the eye with a less lethal projectile during a Red Sox celebration was blamed by an independent panel Wednesday on a series of police mistakes, starting with the department's decision to buy the guns for crowd control.

Victoria Snelgrove, 21, an Emerson College student, was shot Oct. 21 outside Fenway Park after Boston defeated the New York Yankees for the American League pennant. The city paid her family a $5.1 million settlement earlier this month.

"We find that inadequate planning and training, combined with a breakdown of command discipline, set up a situation ripe to produce an unintended result," read the report by a commission headed by former U.S. Attorney Donald K. Stern.

Patrolman Rochefort Milien, who was certified to use the weapon, fired the pellet that killed Snelgrove.

"Officer Milien failed to take sufficiently into account that he was shooting at a moving target in the midst of a crowd and that a missed shot could easily strike a bystander," the report said.

Milien's lawyer has said the officer was aiming at someone near Snelgrove who was throwing bottles.

The commission also faulted the Police Department's decision to buy the air-powered pellet guns in early 2004. Police officials did little research before making the purchase, then failed to properly train officers in their use, the panel said.

The report said the officers "did not appear to appreciate that a person could be seriously injured or killed."

Related Stories:

Boston Incident Did Not Involve PepperBall® Products

Boston Probe Into Fan Death to Look at Police Mistakes, Training, Product Failure

The Boston Incident: Understanding Non-Lethal Technology

Understanding Less Lethal Combat Shooting: Lessons Learned From Boston's FN303 Incident

PoliceOne Offers

P1 on Facebook

Connect with PoliceOne

Mobile Apps Facebook Twitter Google

Get the #1 Police eNewsletter

Police Newsletter Sign up for our FREE email roundup of the top news, tips columns, videos and more, sent 3 times weekly
See Sample