When Fanta Bility, 8, and her family went to a high school football game in August, they had no idea their greatest fear would come true that night. Unfortunately, that is precisely what occurred, courtesy to a bunch of trigger-happy police officers who used excessive force. After trying to avoid responsibility by charging two adolescent lads with Fanta's murder — despite the fact that she was killed by police weapons — the three policemen who opened fire that day have been charged.
Brian Devaney, 41; Sean Dolan, 25; and Devon Smith, 33, were charged with voluntary manslaughter, manslaughter, and reckless endangerment this week.
As expected, the officers' police union-appointed counsel contested the allegations, stating that the policemen who opened fire into a throng of innocent people were basically heroes.
"These three policemen responded to the sound of gunfire and risked their lives to safeguard that neighbourhood," said a statement from McMonagle, Perri, McHugh, Mischak, Davis lawyers Raymond Driscoll, Steven Patton, and Charles Gibbs. "These three upright guys are innocent and remain grieved for everyone who has been harmed by this terrible act of violence."
However, they were responsible for the needless bloodshed, since the two youths who had been firing at each other earlier had ceased shooting and departed the area. It was police officers who mistaken innocent citizens for criminals and opened fire.
As Fanta and her family exited the game that night, police opened fire on their party, fatally shooting Fanta and injuring numerous others, including her elder sister.
As previously noted, police first attempted to evade responsibility by charging the two adolescents involved in the altercation, Angelo "AJ" Ford, 16, and Hasein Strand, 18. They were both charged with murder in connection with Fanta's death, despite the fact that they were not the ones who murdered her. However, the district attorney has dropped the murder charges against the cops.
"While I think these individuals should be held responsible for initiating the chain of events that eventually resulted in Fanta Bility's death," District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said in a prepared statement, according to the Courier Times.
If we examine the facts of the case, we see that, apart from the two boys attempting to harm one other, they were nowhere near Fanta and had no role in her murder other than to provoke a few gun-crazy officers – who were ultimately responsible for Fanta's death. As a result, dropping the murder charges makes perfect sense.
According to Bruce L. Castor, the girl's family filed a lawsuit seeking "answers and damages for the terrible and senseless death... and the injuries and anguish caused on others as a consequence of Sharon Hill Police officers' actions."
On August 27, Fanta and her family were leaving an Academy Park High football game when a gunshot occurred approximately a block away following an altercation between two teenagers. When a car pulled in front of the stadium exit, the gunfire had ceased and the football spectators were peacefully exiting.
For whatever reason, police outside the stadium mistaken the car for a suspect and opened fire on it with a mass of people behind them, shooting 25 shots. Fanta was struck in the back by one of the bullets. Fanta's mother, Tenneh Kromah, "attempted to console the terror-stricken little child before she died" in her mother's arms that night, according to the complaint.
Castor claims in the complaint that police officers were "deliberately inattentive and recklessly" and that the borough and its police chief gave officers "tacit authority" to act in this way.
The cops discharged their firearms that night, according to the lawsuit, as published by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
"The suit's primary focus is on Sharon Hill Borough's insufficient training and supervision of its police officers, as well as the police officers' gross negligence or reckless behaviour, which resulted in Fanta's death and her sister's injury," Castor told WHYY Philadelphia.
Apart from Fanta and her sister Mawatta, two other ladies were shot by police that evening. These two ladies were recent Academy Park High School graduates who were passengers in the car upon which cops opened fire. According to a law enforcement source, the passengers of the car were there that night to watch the football game and had nothing to do with the original firing. Since then, the police have acknowledged this truth.
The Delaware County Black Caucus has demanded the firing of all three cops who opened fire that night. In that call, the lawsuit joined the caucus. Despite the allegations, none of the policemen involved has been terminated.