PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Three fired police officers have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in the death of an 8-year-old girl who shot and died outside a high school football game near Philadelphia. was sentenced to five years probation. 11 months under house arrest.
Investigation found police inadvertently fired 25 shots at a car they mistakenly believed was involved in a shooting that occurred a block away as spectators left a football game in August 2021. It turned out that All four of him were hit by police gunfire that passed by the car.
Deputy District Attorney Doug Rose spoke at the Delaware County Common Petitions Court on Friday, saying the officers displayed “an appalling amount of recklessness,” even if the results were unintentional.
Former Sharon Hill executives Brian Devaney, Devon Smith and Sean Dolan pleaded guilty to 10 counts of reckless endangerment in a plea deal dismissing manslaughter charges filed in November. Authorities said they could not identify which officer fired the shot that killed Fanta Bility.
Fanta and her mother had gone to an Academy Park High School game to watch their sister perform as a cheerleader. Another sister, then 12, was grazed by a police bullet. Fanta died in her mother’s arms.
“I think there’s a bit of survivor guilt in some of the brothers,” Rhoads said. Is not.”
Friday’s sentencing capped off a moving 90-minute hearing in which the defendant spoke directly with a large family who had emigrated to the United States seeking safety from war-torn Liberia.
Smith, 35, from Jamaica, said Fanta and her brother met at a playground while playing basketball, and later spoke to her several times while on patrol.
“She walked up to my car and we stood there and talked,” Smith said, offering condolences to the family and apologizing. I can’t imagine the pain and suffering.”
Family members say their grief has taken many forms. My brother doesn’t want to go to the playground anymore.
Still, they accepted the officer’s apology, extended their forgiveness, and remained in court, hugging the three men and praying for their safety.
“We forgive, but we will never forget Fanta Bility,” said her mother, Tenneh Kromah. Her family has a pending federal lawsuit against the defendants and police.
But they don’t think the case fits into the national narrative simmering around race and police in 2020 and beyond. Delaware County Judge Margaret J. Amoroso applauded both sides for not inciting rhetoric in the case.
“This is not about Blue Lives or Black Lives. This is about Fanta’s life, her life really mattered,” Rose said on behalf of her family.
Officers said they opened fire after they felt gunshots go past their heads.
Devaney, 43, who has served as Academy Park’s School Resources Officer since 2013, said: “It was a momentary decision to put me before your honor.
He wasn’t wearing a body camera that night, and the other two officers had their cameras turned off.
The handling of the case was initially disrupted by the black community and others, as District Attorney Jack Stallsteimer charged two black teenagers who opened fire a block apart, prompting the police to respond. It provoked anger and protests from the people. These charges were later dropped. After a grand jury investigation, the officer was instead charged with voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, along with a number endangered.
Dolan, 26, joined the Sharon Hill Police Department just 10 days after graduating from the State Police Academy. He currently works in the heating and air conditioning business.
“I was doing my best to do the right thing, but I fell short. I’m really sorry,” said Dolan, who, like Devaney, hails from a family of police officers.
Dozens of family and friends appeared in court to support the officers.
https://www.wkbn.com/news/pennsylvania/ex-officers-get-house-arrest-in-girls-gunfire-death-at-game/ Former Officers Brian Devaney, Devon Smith, Sean Dolan Under House Arrest Over Fanta Bility Shooting Death In Game