portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary united states

government | human & civil rights | police / legal

College Student Killed by FN303 'Less Lethal' Gun of Same Type Used in Portland

.
A friend of mine is a high school teacher in a community near Portland. She heard that the Boston police killed a young woman with a 'less lethal' shotgun. Being herself a victim of police brutality of the local kind, specifically the police riot that occurred on August 22, 2002 in downtown Portland, wherein members of the Portland police bureau used the same type of weapon indiscriminately against defenseless people, she wanted to share the danger of these weapons to one of her fellow teachers at school.

When she told her friend what she had heard about the killing in Boston, she replied that my friend was certainly mistaken, the police would never kill someone like that. Well, sadly, that is exactly what happened in Boston and that is exactly the type of tragedy we in Portland are very lucky not to have encountered due to the negligent and reckless use of force by members of the Portland Police Bureau.

My friend asked me if I knew any websites where she could look for information to take to her friend to show her that, yes, indeed, this police killing was caused by a 'less lethal' shotgun deployed by hundreds of police forces around the country. After searching for a few minutes on the net, this is a sample of what I found about the homicide and the weapon the Boston police used to kill their young victim.

The young woman who was killed:

 http://msn.foxsports.com/story/3099254

 http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/10/22/fan.death/index.html

 http://www.dailycollegian.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2004/10/25/417c809fa469c

The CNN website says video shows the crowd was not violent or riotous:

"However, video from the scene where Snelgrove was struck showed the crowd in a joyous mood, slapping high fives and chanting celebratory Red Sox slogans. There were no signs of near-riotous conditions in that immediate vicinity although the area was crowded, and dozens of people near her stopped celebrating when they realized the severity of her injury and they tried to get help. Snelgrove was sprawled out on the ground, with blood running down her face."

The weapon used is made by one of the world's most profitable international arms dealers, arming the worlds' and America's police forces (and citizens) like small armies.

These are some sites specifically related to this gun. These guns and many more dangerous 'less lethal' weapons are also used in Portland, and were used on defenseless citizens on August 22, 2002 when George Bush visited downtown Portland and on other occasions.

 http://www.pol-tec.de/fn303.htm

 http://www.fnmfg.com/products/fn303ltl/fn303.htm

 http://www.policeone.com/police-products/less-lethal/press-releases/78898/

From the seller's website: "The ingenuity of the FN 303 concept lies in the ammunition. The .68 caliber, 8.5 gram weight projectiles utilize a fin stabilized polystyrene body and non-toxic bismuth forward payload to provide more accurate and greater effective range than any other less lethal weapon. The projectiles have been specially designed to break-up on impact, thereby eliminating any risk of penetration injury. The primary effect of the projectile is trauma, which directly neutralize the aggressor. Secondary effects from the projectiles can be delivered via a chemical payload depending on mission specific requirements."

From the seller's website: "For safety reasons, never aim towards face, throat or neck."

A picture of the woman, mortally wounded on the sidewalk, shown on the site of Alex Jones.

 http://www.infowars.com/print/ps/redsox_death.htm

Errata 25.Oct.2004 20:57

memory

The FN303 is a paintball gun, more or less, not a shotgun.

What is the evidence that the FN303 was used on Portland citizens on August 22, 2002? Rubber bullets and pepper spray, yes (I was there). I think that the FN303 is a recent acquisition here and could not have been used in 2002.

For more information on the FN303's appearance in Portland, see:
New "Less Lethal" Weapon Deployed in PDX ( http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/07/293595.shtml)
New "Less Lethal" Weapon Deployed in PDX ( http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/07/293605.shtml)
Portland Cheney Protest Pictures ( http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/07/293547.shtml)

errata 25.Oct.2004 21:36

reporter

The PPB has had, since well before 2002, a lively assortment of projectile spewing guns of the type that rapidly fire small, round projectiles filled with pepper spray, including the notorious Sage Launcher. The point of my story is not to focus on the specific make and model number of a particular weapon. The 'shotgun'/'paint ball gun' distinction is nearly irrelevant in my opinion. What is important is the ammunition and realizing that a hard projectile traveling at great speeds for short distances is potentially deadly and should not be used indiscriminately by recklessly trained police forces against ANYONE.

Regardless, the Portland Police Bureau is using the FN303 (and the other 'rubber bullet' weapons in its arsenal) today and one of its officers may tragically use it to kill one of us someday.

whatever 25.Oct.2004 22:37

you call it

it is not less than lethal, as is now, most tragically, proven. I was shot 6 times in August 2002 with whatever you want to call it. they shoot round pellets that explode pepper spray upon contact. and they leave big ugly bruises.
what the boston police did is inexcusable.
these weapons should be banned from law enforcement use.

Semantics Exam 26.Oct.2004 00:25

Hawkeye

The term that seems to be used in the trade is "less lethal", not "less than lethal".

The former expression implies that there is lethality, but it is "less than" something else, possibly a true firearm whose function by design is to kill with certainty.

In the end, "less lethal" is a product of the armaments sales pitch mill, where sexy expressions are concocted to roll off the tongues of huxters with a pastiche of complexity and nuance that gets police cretins breathing hard.

"Less lethal" at any time is prone to be "lethal", as the Boston incident demonstrates. To put these devices in the hands of sociopaths and mouth breathing bureaucrats, after patting them on the butts with assurances that they can fire at will and whim because they're "less lethal", is insane. Somewhere in their fevered skulls the expression mophs from "less lethal" to "less than lethal."

"Less lethal" doesn't mean "Not lethal."

Maybe the survivors of the deceased can go after the manufacturer of the "less lethal" FN303, after they've finished with the BeanTownBuzzCuts gang.

the PoPo 26.Oct.2004 00:58

with their

Jason Sery & Scott McCollister types are a bunch of fuck-ups!

The Port of Oakland, California 26.Oct.2004 01:28

Remembering April 7, 2003

A half ago Oakland police fired on peaceful demonstrators, longshoremen and journalists in the Port of Oakland, injuring some 60 people. That was on April 7, 2003; fortunately nobody was killed that day, but there were permanent injuries. The "non-lethal" ammunition used in Oakland included wooden bullets which were one and a quarter inches in diameter.

Five weeks after the attack, on May 12, 2003, protesters returned to the Port and successfully shut it down to affirm First Amendment rights. On the anniversary of the attack, April 7, 2004, protesters again returned to the Port, again affirming First Amendment rights.

More FN 303 info 26.Oct.2004 04:11

pep

Here´s a previous story on the FN 303 when it was first deployed in PDX, including info on the dangers from the bullet itself, as well as other interesting factoids:

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/07/293595.shtml


Soft-kill, less-lethal, ect. 26.Oct.2004 07:58

acts of statism control

The big question is what gives the state the right to attack the public as a means of control?
As for less-lethal weapons, isn't that what the Russian Federal police used to "save" the public in that theater incident where hundreds of Russian people were killed by their own police? This attempt by the state to "normalize" or "condition" the people to their policy of targetting the public with violent use of less-lethal weapons for crowd control needs widespread and repetive debunking.

Stop the spin 26.Oct.2004 08:58

Mr. Dervish

Do less-lethal" weapons make you less-dead? Forget it.

I suggest we drop the qualifying terms. Don't call this thing non-lethal, or less-lethal.

It kills people, a proven fact. It is lethal, deadly, baleful, dangerous, deathly, destructive, devastating, fatal, harmful, hurtful, malignant, mortal, mortiferous, mortuary, murderous, necrotic, noxious, pernicious, pestilent, pestilential, poisonous, virulent. That list is from Roget's Thesaorus. Those are all bad words. There's not one good thing you can say about weapons like this.

Repeat after me.
The FN303 is a *LETHAL* weapon. LETHAL. It will KILL you.
The police use *LETHAL* weapons against us.

Geneva 2003: Union Secretary severely wounded by FN 303 26.Oct.2004 09:57

PigBrother.info

article in german with several photos:  http://www.ssi-media.com/pigbrother/Report2003.htm#3cornavin

as usual, police denied everything, even said woman being hit by protestors -- "clear case of friendly fire, like in irak" as police spokesman said.

finally, after the countrary was proven by fots & the extarcted bullet-parts plus another bullet being found, Geneva police minister Mrs. Spoerry fired the police chief, who had wanted to inform the public as soon as possible.

the rest of the bismut parts couldn't be extracted surgically from the womans face beeing too near to the facial nerve with high risk of being paralised afterwards.

this case is just one amongst many other injuries in switzerland, see pictorial guide at swiss copwatch-page PigBrother.info:  http://www.ssi-media.com/blutgeil/index.htm#pic

wounded union secretary Denise Chervet in hospital
wounded union secretary Denise Chervet in hospital

well, kind of, 26.Oct.2004 10:58

you call it

hawkeye,
i appreciate your attempt at clarification, but you are quite mistaken that the industry uses "less lethal" exclusively. the terms are used interchangeably with little attempt at clarification. the idea is that the weapons are generally not lethal. but of course you can die form lots fo things. including being shot with a rubber bullet.
a few links:

 http://www.notlethal.com/
 link to www.iejs.com
 http://www.justiceworks.unh.edu/Less-Than-Lethal%20Weapons%20and%20Crowd%20Control.htm


for the really interested:
 http://www.janes.com/security/conference/llw2004/programme.shtml

Stupid... 26.Oct.2004 16:31

annoyed

The Boston mayor blamed the people and the alcohol vendors for the violence and murder by the police. Was the woman drunk was she a threat to anyone? These are the questions that are being buried under the "big discussion" issues of who has what and the minutia of what "they" can do. We allow the police to randomly kill people and claim it was an accident...we did the best we could we used less-lethal guns but she was unlucky so we'll shut down drinking and congregating and celebration but we won't give up our guns or take any responsibility. People get killed by random acts of police violence so the police restrict peoples rights in order to "keep people safe"...it is the slippery slope to martial law. All in preparation for the gas wars.

Check this out 26.Oct.2004 19:08

Keep Track.


Untrained officers fired less-lethal weapons involved in Boston killing 27.Oct.2004 22:34

Varro

From the Boston Globe:
 link to www.boston.com

Deputy Superintendent Robert O'Toole and officer Samil Silta fired the FN303 pepper-ball guns into the crowd, where 21-year-old Victoria Snelgrove was killed when she was hit in the eye with a pepper ball. These two officers were not trained in the use of the weapon. Others, including people not involved in "aggressive physical resistance" against an officer, were struck in the head by the projectiles.

Beaverton police and Oregon State Police used pepper-ball guns at the August 22, 2002 Bush protests, with the Beaverton officers firing wildly into the crowd, similar to the Boston officers who killed Snelgrove. Oregon State Police and others fired at retreating crowds in Jacksonville recently as well.

katz & francesconi can hardly wait 28.Oct.2004 14:23

Den Mark, Vancouver

katz & francesconi & so on are waiting for a death to happen here. They are just waiting. They can hardly wait. When such a death does happen, they'll act all shocked & sad & stuff, & their fingers will sweep the air, looking for scapegoats. The word "preventive" or "proactive" does not exist for Portland's elected elite. They're too busy drafting millions in tax subsidies for developers. Meanwhile, ppb's nazis are target-practicing.