Friday, October 22, 2004

Police Brutality? Stupidity? Negligence? Criminality?

What was it? Who was responsible for firing the Boston Police Department's homemade mini-chemical-WMD into the eye of a bystander? Is this rocket science? Not to hit someone in the eye? Not to aim for someone's eyes? Not to aim at people's heads?

Here's the key graph:

"It appears from evidence we have reviewed thus far that Tori was killed when she was hit in the eye by a projectile fired as officers tried to control mobs outside the ballpark," O'Toole said. "Designated officers were equipped with less-lethal systems that use projectiles designed to break upon impact, dousing the target with (pepper-like) spray."

So, the Boston PD tells us that they are firing projectiles filled with pepper spray at people, and that those projectiles are supposed to explode upon impact and fill the eyes, ears, nose, and throat of their victims with acidic, life-choaking toxins.

Is anyone out there? Helloooooooooo, Boston????? WHAT THE FUCK?! What kind of maniacal shit do you guys got going on up there? I mean, when I watch NFL games on tv I see 250-pound football players drop like a ton of bricks to the ground in milliseconds when an umpire errantly throws his weighted penalty flag into their eyes. Should we expect that something different will happen during a riot, when presumably, police will have even less control over the exact destination of their Saddam-inspired projectile?

There are so many problems with this story. Where to start? First, how can you fire a projectile at someone that targets their respiratory system, and aim away from their respiratory system (their head), and hope to make good use of this dastardly weapon? Second, if in fact you are aiming for their head, how the fuck do you expect that your intended victim will not be gouged by your missile? And how exactly did this young lady die? Did she die from severe internal bleeding? Did her eye socket just shatter? Did the projectile enter her skull and then explode? Was it really necessary to fire this thing directly at a single person? Was it really necessary to fire this thing at all? Were the officers in fear for their own safety? What is police department policy on these weapons? What exactly are these weapons?

Jeez. The world has gone batty.

UPDATE: We finally have some more info on the killing device used by Boston PD. And we find out a damn supervisor was involved? WTF?

This article mentions the manufacturer of the device, FN Herstal, without actually mentioning the name of the killing weapon. A perusal of FN Herstal's site shows us their non-lethal weapon - the FN303. How would you like to get hit in the eye with one of these pretty little ditties?

And it explodes on impact. Oh, and upon impact it releases OC - that's Oleoresin Capsicum - a.k.a. pepper spray. that must feel good. Bet that must have felt good to Victoria Snelgrove - the unsuspecting victim of this vicious attack. Hopefully she was immediately knocked unconscious and thus unable to feel any pain.

Guess the cops didn't plan on hitting a white person with this sadistic weapon. Not too good for the PR folks. I guess you could describe this situation as the 'Pearl Harbor of PR' for pepper spray-dispensing, exploding, supposedly-non-lethal, pellet gun law enforcement weapons.

Check out a question from the FAQ:

How long last the effects of OC ?
The reaction time at the impact is instantaneous (< 0.5 sec).
In order to alleviate the effects, the subject should rinse its face thoroughly with water. The residual effects can last a few hours.

This is classic because of the 'subject/its' wording. Dehumanize the victim - just like terrorists do. I take it that most cops see this 'subject', in their training, as a black person - probably a black male - and therefore very worthy of an exploding pellet. This is probably not because of their inherent racist notions, but because of their constant exposure to lopsided television coverage of the black-male-as-criminal stereotype. We're all victims of that stereotype - Victoria might have been a victim of that stereotype. How? If cops knew that they'd be using these weapons against white people, maybe one of them would have come to their senses about this dastardly weapon and said, "Hey chief, what the fuck? What happened to good old cans of tear gas to disperse crowds? It seems to me that they've been very effective over the last oh, say, 100 years or so - why mess with success?"

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