Darkstar, your post covers a large area so let me see if I can cover it all.
FN's are mean and they are meant to be. They are not meant to politely move people along. Think of them as long range batons. They allow the officer to get the crowd moving or dispersing without putting the officer in as much danger. The most used option prior to this was giving officers hats and bats and many more people getting hurt. Trust me when I tell that using less lethal long range munitions is far better than duking it out with a crowd. That is adrenaline! I've done it, I know.
Saying that an officer should not use less lethal in a crowd situation where he would also not use his lethal options (guns, shotgun) is not a good comparison. I was not in Boston so I can't say. All I know I saw from the media reports and what I have heard through the LEO grapevine. Crowds at Fenway were getting or were already way out of hand. Once they were climbing the green monster most bets are off. If people are so trashed/pissed/whatever that they start vandalizing things in such a large way then the situation has already gone South. You state, "This is America, you are allowed to peacefully assemble. Just because someone else throws a rock at a police officer does not give that officer the right to fire blindly into a crowd." and I agree with you. However, we do not know that is what happened.
I have been in situations that easily could have been second guessed but weren't. Right now I am awaiting discipline because I did not wait for back-up during a large disturbance. Could I have been tactically more sound? Yeah, but it hardly warrants any severe discipline. The level of fear that you had for your wife is the same level of fear that those state troopers had for themselves and their peers. I wasn't there so I can't and won't second guess the trooper or you. There are so many variables that it is difficult to 2nd guess any of these situations.
As I understand it this gal had been at the Boston "celebration" for quite some time. I am not saying that she did anything wrong. But after it is evident that people around you are behaving in an illegal and dangerous manner it is incumbant upon you to leave; and you tried to do just that. By the accounts I have heard, the girl in Boston did not. Was the officer justified in shooting into the crowd? He obviously thought he was. As did his superiors who distributed the FN303 to him. But being justified and capable are two different things.
I am allowed to use force to effect the arrest or regain control of the situation. If kind words aren't doing the trick then I have to think of other options.
You state, "There are hundreds of people in the pool, but he decides to assault the person standing there doing nothing except, looking freaked out and rather obviously trying to grab a loved one." It may not have been so obvious to him. What were the state trooper's odds? I am not trying to defend the ST as much as I am asking you and everyone else to look at it from the cop's point of view. Yes, we are professionals and that is what kept me from popping off rounds during the immigration riots here is So Cal when I was in Santa Ana watching "peacefull protesters" drag my country's flag on the ground or fly it upside down. I saw my flag fly below the Mexican flag in an obvious show of disrespect. I saw graffiti that said, "Viva Mexico" and "F*&#K the U.S.". I had personal taunts and stones thrown in my direction. I stood my ground with my partners and we did nothing. Which was excrutiatingly painfull! Remember not all cops are twits. Not even the NJ ones.
Darkstar, this is a good conversation and I hope it continues this way. Thank you.
Last edited by Pickle; 10-31-2006 at 08:21 PM.