FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Death of a Fan

by DAVE ZIRIN

Victoria Snelgrove is dead. The 21 year old Emerson College journalism student exercised her right as a fan to stand on her Boston street and cheer the Red Sox’s pennant victory over the New York Yankees. For her trouble, she was shot by the Boston Police Department with a “crowd dispersal” pepper spray projectile. The projectile completed its purpose and exploded on impact in her eye socket. She died the next day.

Outside Victoria Snelgrove’s family home in East Bridgewater, her father Rick hugged a photograph of his daughter. He told reporters, through his tears, “She loved the Red Sox. She went in to celebrate with friends. She was a bystander. She was out of the way, but she still got shot.”

This wasn’t supposed to happen at Emerson College. Anyone who has ever set foot on Beacon Street area campus knows that it’s not exactly Texas A&M. Emerson is a private, $25,000 a year communications school with a jock culture that rests somewhere in between pastoral commune, and a Phish Concert. In a city bursting at the seams with higher education, it is perhaps the last place–save M.I.T.–where one would expect a police killing to follow a Red Sox win. The utter incongruity of it all has injected a hard dose of reality into the Sox’s fantastical playoff run. Victoria’s shadow won’t be lifted by Mayor Thomas Menino’s initial suggestion to ban alcohol sales or Police Commissioner Kathleen O’Toole’s idea to “switch to a new kind of pepper spray.” More needs to be done.

O’Toole was forced to say she “firmly and emphatically” accepted responsibility for the incident but then in the same breath praised the officers for their “great restraint” and condemned the “punks” for turning celebration into a “near-riot.” Menino toed that same line, expressing regret but then blaming “thugs” who “sent events out of control”.

None of this passes the truth test.

80,000 people were dancing in the Beantown streets that night, yet there were only 8 arrests. An Oklahoma Sooners tailgating party is rowdier than this. Also video of Snelgrove’s shooting doesn’t show a near riot but a bevy of hugging, chanting, high fiving, college kids.

As eyewitness Doug Conroy, said, “A lot of people then looked over and saw her lying awkwardly on the sidewalk and blood coming out of her nose. She wasn’t moving and we were just hoping she was just unconscious.” He called the shooting “an egregious overreaction…. There was nothing violent going on. It was all celebration.”

Emerson students are currently planning vigils and memorials to Victoria. But the people of Boston need to do more. They should hold up signs emblazed with Victoria’s name outside and inside Fenway Park during the World Series because any one of them could have died that night. They also need to demand O’Toole’s job and the prosecution of the officer in question. They also need to ask bigger questions about the methods of the Boston Police Department

As a Caucasian 21 year old college student, Victoria Snelgrove was not your typical brutality victim. But if this is what O’Toole describes as ‘great restraint’ it raises the question of what police are doing in parts of the city like Roxbury and Mattapan where the lights don’t shine as brightly. With the police department on the defensive, it’s time to encourage people at the wrong end of the nightstick to come forward. If that can be part of Victoria Snelgrove’s legacy, then it can be a legacy that saves lives.

DAVE ZIRIN has a book coming out, What’s My Name, Fool: sports and resistance in the United States (Haymarket Books) comes out in spring 2005. To have his column sent to you every week, just e-mail edgeofsports-subscribe@zirin.com.

Contact the author at editor@pgpost.com

 

More articles by:

DAVE ZIRIN is the author of A People’s History of Sports in the United States (The New Press) Contact him at edgeofsports@gmail.com.

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 26, 2017
William Hawes – Jason Holland
Lies That Capitalists Tell Us
Chairman Brandon Sazue
Out of the Shadow of Custer: Zinke Proves He’s No “Champion” of Indian Country With his Grizzly Lies
Patrick Cockburn
Grenfell Tower: the Tragic Price of the Rolled-Back Stat
Joseph Mangano
Tritium: Toxic Tip of the Nuclear Iceberg
Ray McGovern
Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack
Roy Eidelson
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Matthew Stevenson
Travels Around Trump’s America
David Macaray
Law Enforcement’s Dirty Little Secret
Colin Todhunter
Future Shock: Imagining India
Yoav Litvin
Animals at the Roger Waters Concert
Binoy Kampmark
Pride in San Francisco
Stansfield Smith
North Koreans in South Korea Face Imprisonment for Wanting to Return Home
Hamid Yazdan Panah
Remembering Native American Civil Rights Pioneer, Lehman Brightman
James Porteous
Seventeen-Year-Old Nabra Hassanen Was Murdered
Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castile’s Killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
Gregory Barrett
“Realpolitik” in Berlin: Merkel Fawns Over Kissinger
Louis Yako
The Road to Understanding Syria Goes Through Iraq
Graham Peebles
Grenfell Tower: A Disaster Waiting to Happen
Ezra Rosser
The Poverty State of Mind and the State’s Obligations to the Poor
Ron Jacobs
Andrew Jackson and the American Psyche
Pepe Escobar
Fear and Loathing on the Afghan Silk Road
Lawrence Davidson
On Hidden Cultural Corruptors
Andre Vltchek
Why I Reject Western Courts and Justice
Christopher Brauchli
The Routinization of Mass Shootings in America
Missy Comley Beattie
The Poor Need Not Apply
Martin Billheimer
White Man’s Country and the Iron Room
Joseph Natoli
What to Wonder Now
Tom Clifford
Hong Kong: the Chinese Meant Business
Thomas Knapp
The Castile Doctrine: Cops Without Consequences
Nyla Ali Khan
Borders Versus Memory
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail