09/13/2005

No criminal charges against officers in Boston Red Sox shooting

DENISE LAVOIE
Associated Press

BOSTON- No criminal charges will be brought against the officers involved in the fatal shooting of a college student at a raucous celebration by Red Sox fans last fall, prosecutors said Monday.

"There is no evidence that any officer on Lansdowne Street acted with any intent to commit a crime," Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said at a news conference attended by Boston Police Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole.

Victoria Snelgrove, a 21-year-old Emerson College student, was shot in the eye socket with a pepper-spray pellet outside Fenway Park on Oct. 21. Officers were trying to calm the crowd that had filled the streets following Boston's victory over the archrival New York Yankees to win the American League pennant.

Police said some of the revelers were throwing bottles, lighting fires and wrecking cars, but Snelgrove was not involved in the rioting.

"The fact that the officers were placed in such a chaotic situation ... was a result of poor crowd control planning," Conley said. "The inadequate planning resulted in conditions ... that ultimately set in motion the chain of events that led to Miss Snelgrove's death."

In May, an independent commission headed by former U.S. Attorney Donald Stern faulted the police department for poor planning and training, a breakdown of command discipline and inadequate research before purchasing the air-powered pellet guns for crowd control.

Only one of the three police officers who fired pepper pellets into the crowd of fans was certified to do so, the commission found.

When the Stern report was released, O'Toole said the three officers faced possible disciplinary action, along with Deputy Superintendent Robert E. O'Toole, no relation to the commissioner, and Superintendent James Claiborne, the overall incident commander that night. A decision on disciplinary steps was still pending. Robert O'Toole retired in June.

In May, the city awarded $5.1 million to Snelgrove's family - the largest wrongful death settlement in the city's history.

 

 

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