Authorities charged three police officers each with 12 counts of manslaughter and reckless endangerment late Tuesday. An eight-year-old girl died and four others were wounded during a shootout in August 2021 that the officers were involved in.
After a high school football game and heated argument, teenagers Angelo Ford and Hasein Strand started shooting at one another, according to NPR. Officers Sean Dolan, Devon Smith, and Brian Devaney of the Sharon Hill Police allegedly fired multiple shots at a vehicle and hit members of the surrounding crowd. Ford and Strand were originally charged with first-degree murder following the death, but have since had their charges walked back to aggravated assault, reports NPR.
“On September 2, 2021, we announced that there was a high probability that the gunfire from the officers struck four victims, including Fanta Bility,” a statement from the District Attorney’s Office of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, reads. “We have now concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that it was, in fact, shots from the officers that struck and killed Fanta Bility and injured three others.”
District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer of Delaware County said the charges were important for pursuing justice.
“Police have to be held accountable as everybody else is for deadly force,” he mentioned at a press conference. He added that his office has “worked tirelessly to achieve justice for Fanta and the other victims of that tragic night” and that the “charges are a big step forward in that process.” (RELATED:REPORT: Fatal Police Shooting Of Ma’Khia Bryant Began Over A Fight About Housekeeping)
The Bility family, through their representing attorney Bruce Castor, thanked the district attorney’s office, stating that “the Bility family thanks District Attorney Stollsteimer and his staff of investigators and prosecutors for following the evidence and the law in bringing forth these charges today.” Attorney Michael Schafle, the counsel for a separate victim who was wounded in the incident, stated that his client was “grateful for the care and professionalism demonstrated by the District Attorney’s Office.”