Some Police Agencies Stop Using Pepper Gun After Boston Death
In response to the unnecessary death of a college student in Boston last week, the Seattle Police Department has suspended its use of pepper-spray pellet guns. The student, Victoria Snelgrove, died after she was shot in the eye as the police tried to disperse "a rowdy crowd of Red Sox fans."
The Boston Police Department also suspended use of the pepper gun.
The reassessment came as Boston police girded for another potential Sox-inspired frenzy, with the hometown team standing on the brink of a World Series victory against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Other police departments believe the weapon is safe and effective, and the manufacturer cautions against pointing the gun at a target's head. But Boston's experience provides evidence that the gun can cause greater harm than the need for crowd control justifies:
Officers fired into a crowd of fans, striking Snelgrove and at least two others. Paul Gately, 24, needed stitches to patch a hole in his cheek and suffered bruises and welts on his torso. Kapila Bhamidipati, of Bridgewater, N.J., was struck in the temple and said doctors had to remove small pieces of plastic from his forehead.
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