Boston police hope for calm after Super Bowl

Posted Feb. 05, 2012, at 1:25 p.m.

BOSTON — Boston officials are urging fans to behave responsibly as the New England Patriots play the New York Giants in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Police say they expect to have more than 2,000 officers on the streets of Boston by the game’s halftime, focusing on areas near college campuses and sports bar, places where previous sports celebrations have turned wild.

City officials said they will step up patrols and video monitoring near Kenmore Square and North Station, areas where fans often congregate. Access to those areas will be restricted after the third quarter to discourage large crowds near bars and restaurants.

Police Commissioner Edward Davis warned the city’s large population of college students that surveillance cameras will record any criminal behavior. Those images will be used to lodge criminal complaints.

“Be very careful. Don’t do the things that will get you into trouble,” Davis said during a news conference at City Hall Thursday.

The Super Bowl is being played in Indianapolis.

Raucous celebrations have led to tragedies after major sports wins by the region’s teams.

In Feb. 2004, 21-year-old James Grabowski was killed during a Patriots Super Bowl victory celebration when a drunken driver plowed into a crowd of revelers who had gathered in the streets.

In Oct. 2004, a 21-year-old Emerson College student celebrating the Boston Red Sox American League Championship Series victory over the New York Yankees was killed when she was struck in the eye by a pepper pellet fired by Boston police during crowd-control efforts. An independent commission found that Victoria Snelgrove’s death was an avoidable tragedy caused by poor police planning and “serious errors in judgment.” Several police officers were suspended, demoted or reprimanded.

In June 2008, a Celtics fan stopped breathing and later died after police took him into custody during street celebrations shortly after the Celtics clinched the 2008 championship.

David Woodman, 22, died at a hospital 11 days after police arrested him on a public drinking charge. Witnesses said Woodman, an Emmanuel College student, was slammed to the ground by police. His parents said the rough treatment caused cardiac arrhythmia and brain damage.

An independent analysis concluded that the death was not caused by police, but by a pre-existing heart condition that police had no way of knowing about. The city agreed to a $3 million settlement with Woodman’s parents.

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