Three Pennsylvania police officers have been charged in the shooting death of 8-year-old Fanta Bility, who was killed last year while leaving a high school football game with her family.
According to The Associated Press, a grand jury recommended Tuesday (January 18) that the Sharon Hill Police officers –– identified as Devon Smith, Sean Dolan, and Brian Devaney –– be charged with manslaughter and reckless endangerment after they opening fire on a crowd of football game-goers on August 27, 2021.
The murder charges previously brought against two Black teens –– 16-year-old Angelo Ford and 19-year-old Hasein Strand –– who police say fired the gunshots that prompted the three officers to open fire were dropped, a news release from the Delaware County District Attorney’s office said.
The charges were brought against the teens despite investigators confirming officers’ bullets killed Fanta Bility.
Each officer faces 10 counts of reckless endangerment and one count of manslaughter. They were all released on an unsecured $500,000 bail, the outlet reported.
“Sharon Hill’s heart is still broken. The entire Borough grieves for Fanta Bility and we again convey our deepest sympathies to her family and everyone affected by the shooting,” Council President Tanya Allen wrote in a statement to the news organization.
The attorney representing Bility’s family said they are “very pleased” with the decision of the grand jury to indict the officers.
“They are very pleased with how the district attorney and the grand jury handled the case so far,” Bruce L. Castor Jr., said. “The one thing they didn’t understand is why those other two shooters were charged in Fanta’s death. It didn’t make a lot of sense to them. But frankly, it takes a lot of courage to realize you’re going down a blind alley and back yourself out of it and decide to go the right way. And I think that’s what’s happening here.
Borough officials have reportedly hired an outside firm to evaluate the police department’s training protocols and policies in the wake of the shooting.
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