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Live footage of bar patrons could be banned

10/22/2004 - Boston Red Sox

BOSTON -- Mayor Thomas Menino said he was considering banning alcohol sales near Fenway Park during the World Series, following rowdy celebrations of the Red Sox's league championship that turned deadly when a police officer shot a projectile into a crowd.

Menino planned to meet with bar and nightclub owners Friday and also said he would press colleges to expel students found guilty of criminal conduct in the melee.

"Since people won't accept responsibility, I, as mayor, will take it into my own hands," Menino said.

Emerson College student Victoria Snelgrove, 21, died Thursday, hours after being hit in the eye with what was designed to be a non-lethal projectile. Her father expressed outrage at the city's response to her death.

Witnesses said Snelgrove was standing outside the ballpark when a reveler threw a bottle at a mounted police officer. Another officer fired the plastic, pepper spray-filled balls into the crowd, hitting Snelgrove.

Boston police commissioner Kathleen O'Toole said police are considering whether to stop using the balls to control crowds.

O'Toole said the pepper spray balls -- shot from devices similar to paintball guns -- are generally seen as a less violent way to control crowds.

Police are conducting an internal investigation of the incident. O'Toole has said the department accepts full responsibility for Snelgrove's death.

Fifteen other people, including a police officer, suffered minor injuries in Boston's Kenmore Square neighborhood near Fenway Park after thousands of baseball fans spilled onto the streets to celebrate the Red Sox's triumph Wednesday night at New York's Yankee Stadium. Small fires were set and fights broke out. Boston police reported eight arrests, mostly for disorderly conduct.

Menino said that to avoid a repeat of the rowdiness in his city, he was considering imposing the alcohol-sales ban through a state law never before used in Boston. The law lets him ban sale or distribution of alcohol "in cases of riot or great public excitement."

He said he may also ask bar and restaurant operators not to let television stations broadcast live scenes from inside their establishments during games. In addition, O'Toole downplayed the possibility that the National Guard will be called in to help maintain order during the World Series. She said that's a job for police.

Peter Martineau, manager of Boston Beer Works, across from Fenway Park, expressed sympathy for Snelgrove's family but blamed area college students for causing the problems.

"They all want to come out to the Fenway for the excitement," he said. "I don't think the remedy is banning bars and restaurants from serving liquor. If you can't serve beer or anything, why would people come out? It's a beer works."