CSI Boston

CodeBlueBlog continues his investigation into the death of Red Sox fan Victoria Snelgrove. New information on the pepper-ball lets him speculate on the mechanism of death. Excellent stuff, but not for the squeamish.

Also, his excoriation of typical journalism in this investigation continues -- now he's got a list of questions the media should be asking (and, hopefully, the Boston DA will be answering).

I'm interested in this story for several reasons. First, as a Red Sox fan who was merrily celebrating in the streets that night, a few miles north of where Snelgrove was killed, I'm genuinely alarmed that this could occur.

Second, after hearing first-hand about the arrests and detentions during the RNC, I must wonder if police tactics have taken a disturbing turn. And finally, as a medical blogger and frequent media critic, I'm interested in getting the real details of the story, especially when mainstream journalism has dropped the ball.

I agree with Dr. BB at CodeBlueBlog that finding the mechanism of death is the first priority. I wonder if this new report of a video recording at the scene will influence his expert analysis:

The cheering, chanting crowd on Lansdowne Street had stilled to a dull, churning hum after police cleared the girders under the Green Monster seats and began pushing people toward Brookline Avenue. Smoldering material, some still flaming, littered the roughly 40-foot clearing where Milien stood, pointing a gun at shoulder height toward the receding revelers.

Four officers stood behind him, one on each side and two farther back on the Fenway Park sidewalk. None of the other officers was holding a weapon, and they were not engaging the crowd. They stood with their hands at their sides or clasped behind their back. Then, Milien began to walk forward. He took a step with his right foot and fired. Camera flashes reflected off white cross-straps on his chest as he stepped with his left foot.

A man in the crowd swore loudly.

Then a step with the right foot again. Bang -- a second shot in the same direction.

Within seconds, screams and expletives from the crowd are heard.

"Did you see that?" one voice said.

"What happened?" another asked.

"I don't know, but she's on the floor, and she's [expletive] dead," a voice said.

"It looks like they hurt her or something."

"You hit her in the eye."

"You [expletive] killed her."

"Look at her. She's like not even moving."

Or this new data on other victims:

Police have also not said who fired the pellet that tore through the cheek of 24-year-old Cambridge resident Paul Gately or a third pellet that pierced the forehead of Kapila Bhamidipati, a 19-year-old Boston University student. Both had climbed the girders underneath the left-field Green Monster seats...

The policy analysis can come after we have the facts (though I must have missed the town meeting where it was decided that climbing a fence is such a threat that targeting heads with projectiles is worth the risk).

As I hear more about the Boston Police's new weapons, they're sounding less "less than lethal" all the time. I appreciate and echo CodeBlueBlog's questions about what happened in the Brigham ER. But with these new reports, I think the emphasis of inquiry should shift to pre-hospital events.