An independent panel investigating the fatal police shooting of a Boston college student has concluded that tactical mistakes by Boston police helped lead to her death, including poor decisions made by the commander in charge of operations around Fenway Park the night she was shot, the Boston Globe reports. The student, Victoria Snelgrove, was struck in the eye, and two others were injured in the face by pepper pellets fired by officers trying to control crowds celebrating the Red Sox American League championship victory Oct. 21.
The report is critical of Deputy Superintendent Robert O’Toole, the commander on the scene, said a source. Police have said that O’Toole, who was not certified to use the rifle-style weapon, fired one of the FN303 pepper-pellet guns he authorized officers to use to quell the crowd. His attorney disputed the charge. O’Toole, no relation to Police Commissioner Kathleen O’Toole, announced May 2 that he is retiring from the Police Department after 37 years, saying he wanted to allow the department to “heal and move on.” The city of Boston said it would pay the biggest wrongful death settlement in its history, $5 million, to the family of Snelgrove, a 21-year-old student at Emerson College.