Police penalties dealt out after death of Red Sox fan

9/16/2005 - Boston Red Sox

BOSTON -- Police officers involved in the fatal pellet gun shooting of a Red Sox fan outside Fenway Park were suspended, demoted or reprimanded but will keep their jobs, Commissioner
Kathleen O'Toole announced Friday.

The officers learned earlier this week they won't face criminal charges in the death of 21-year-old Victoria Snelgrove last fall.

Officer Rochefort Milien, who fired the pellet that struck Snelgrove, agreed to a 90-day suspension for disciplinary charges that he exercised unreasonable judgment and excessive force. Officer Samil Silta also accepted a 90-day suspension, on the same charges.

The department issued written reprimands to Sgt. Harold Cataldo and Officer Thomas Gallagher, who was in charge of the equipment truck that contained the pellet guns.

Superintendent James Claiborne, who was in charge of security that night, was demoted to captain. The department also suspended Sgt. Francis Flynn for 10 days for exercising unreasonable judgment.

The department's internal investigation concluded that Claiborne failed to create a proper plan for controlling the tens of thousands of fans who gathered to celebrate the Red Sox' elimination of the New York Yankees from the playoffs last October.

Police said some of the revelers were throwing bottles, lighting fires and wrecking cars. Snelgrove was not involved in the rioting, but was hit when an officer aimed at another reveler who was throwing objects at police.

"While this has been an extremely difficult period for everyone, particularly the Snelgrove family, the Boston Police Department has learned from its mistakes,'' O'Toole said in a statement.

Calls to the Snelgrove family and its attorney were not immediately returned.

The city paid the Snelgroves a $5.1 million settlement in May. The family has filed a $10 million suit against the gun maker.