Death of Victoria Snelgrove

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Riot Police near Fenway prior to the shooting

Victoria Snelgrove (October 29, 1982 – October 21, 2004) was a junior majoring in journalism at Emerson College. On October 21, 2004, approximately 90 minutes after the Boston Red Sox defeated the New York Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series, Boston police officer Rochefort Milien shot Snelgrove with a crowd-control round and mortally wounded her.

The incident occurred near Fenway Park when an FN 303 blunt trauma / pepper spray projectile hit her eye, causing her to bleed excessively. Ambulances were blocked by the excessive crowds, which still refused to clear the area, preventing prompt medical attention from arriving from the dense medical area only a half-mile away.[1]

Snelgrove died at 12:50 p.m. EDT at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, about 12 hours after being shot. According to the autopsy, the pellet opened a three-quarter-inch hole in the bone behind the eye, broke into nine pieces, and damaged the right side of her brain.

Boston Police Department Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole placed Milien on paid leave.[1] O'Toole later attended the hour-long funeral on October 26, 2004 at St. John's Catholic church in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts along with Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Gov. Mitt Romney.[2][3]

The investigation and aftermath[edit]

The investigation into Snelgrove's death was led by former U.S. Attorney Donald K. Stern best known for prosecuting mob figures, including fugitive Winter Hill Gang leader James "Whitey" Bulger. O'Toole accepted the department's responsibility, yet still blamed the "punks" who turned the event into a near-riot as the real cause.[4] After the police investigation, Officer Milien was identified as the person who actually fired the shot that killed Snelgrove. On May 2, 2005, the city of Boston announced a $5.1 million wrongful death settlement for her family's lawsuit.

On September 12, 2005, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley announced that he would not prosecute any of the officers involved. [2]

On September 16, 2005, O'Toole demoted the police superintendent who was in charge the night of the shooting to captain and suspended two officers. She also issued written reprimands to two other officers. Milien agreed to accept a 45-day suspension without pay. The deputy superintendent outside Fenway Park at the time of the incident was also criticized for poor decisions that led to Snelgrove's death, but had already retired.

The weapon that killed Snelgrove was manufactured by Fabrique Nationale de Herstal (FN Herstal). Because of the incident, several police forces, such as the Seattle Police Department, discontinued use of this weapon.

In July 2006, a $10M lawsuit between FN Herstal and the Snelgrove family was settled.[5]

After her death, Boston Red Sox outfielder Trot Nixon said he would have traded back Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS to have her back.[6]

Stephen King and Stewart O'Nan dedicated their book, Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle The Historic 2004 Season to Snelgrove. The dedication reads simply : "For Victoria Snelgrove / Red Sox fan."

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.mass.gov/da/suffolk/docs/091205.html Retrieved October 26, 2005
  2. ^ Commission Investigating the Death of Victoria Snelgrove, page 14. Retrieved April 25, 2009

References[edit]

  1. ^ Associated Press (November 13, 2004). "Red Sox Fan Killed by Stray Shot, Police Say". Los Angeles Times. 
  2. ^ Lavoie, Denise (October 26, 2004). "Hundreds mourn student killed by police during Red Sox celebrations". Associated Press. 
  3. ^ MacQuarrie, Brian; Polovina, Julie (October 27, 2004). "A Precious Life, Lost Senselessly, is Mourned". Boston Globe. p. B4. 
  4. ^ Farragher, Thomas (October 22, 2004). "O'Toole accepts responsibility but condemns acts of 'punks'". boston.com. Boston Globe. Retrieved February 20, 2011. 
  5. ^ Murphy, Shelley (2006-07-14). "Snelgrove family settles lawsuit". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  6. ^ Hohler, Bob (October 23, 2004). "Pesky Happy to be Back". Boston Globe. p. E5. 

External links[edit]