Saturday, October 23, 2004
Read the news report here.
See photo here.
The crowd was getting a little rowdy. They had set fire to some things. But they weren't violent. The police decided to bring out the CS gas. Not a bad idea, in and of itself. In this instance, the delivery devices were guns shooting small plastic balls filled with the stuff of pepper spray. Picture a paintball gun plus Tabasco sauce. You get the idea.
Again, this is not that bad of a thing. However, one cop decided to shoot at an unarmed woman's FACE instead of the ground, her legs, her gut, or one of the other approved places to direct the weapon's fire.
Victoria Snelgrove, a 21-year-old Emerson College student, was hit directly in one eye by one of the pepper bullets. She died hours later.
This weapon used by these cops is VERY similar to a paintball gun. I'm sure some of you, like me, have played paintball at some point. If so, you are keenly aware of the dangers inherent to the game. NO ONE is allowed NEAR an arena without the proper face protection. Even during play (in friendly play anyway, I've no experience with pro etiquette), shots to the face are discouraged. Of course, if a helmet is all you can shoot at, you shoot at that. But we try not to.
I believe we can safely assume 1 of 2 things here:
1: The officer did not now that a headshot with that weapon could be VERY dangerous, and even lethal.
2: The officer was aware of the danger, and he shot her in the face anyway.
I understand that the projectile fired did not have the aerodynamic advantages of a bullet to travel in a generally even path. The projectile can rise and fall, cut left and right. I understand that. But these are usually relatively small diversions. To be hit with enough force to be killed, I believe that the woman must have been relatively close to the cop.
Given the 2 options above, the entire police force is liable for the young woman’s death. If this is the case, I hope they are sued into complete bankruptcy.
The second option, and I believe the more likely one, places the blame on the officer. I cannot fathom a large police outfit like the one in Boston not providing at least adequate training in the weaponry it gives to its troops.
Therefore, the officer knew the risks and dangers. And he fired anyway. He shot this young woman in the face at a close enough range to kill her. By all accounts, yes, she was in the crowd, but she was not throwing rocks or such shenanigans, nor was she even very close to that group. And he fired anyway.
I call that murder. But hey, I’m just a dumb white southern kid.
Sleep well my friends, for we are well protected.