Former Philadelphia cops who opened fired at unsuitable automobile plead responsible in dying of 8-year-old woman

Three fired cops who pleaded responsible to misdemeanor costs within the dying of an 8-year-old woman killed after they opened hearth outdoors a highschool soccer sport close to Philadelphia are set to be sentenced Friday.

Former Sharon Hill officers Brian Devaney, Devon Smith and Sean Dolan have pleaded responsible to 10 counts every of reckless endangerment. Investigators say they may not decide which officer fired the shot that killed Fanta Bility on Aug. 27, 2021. The cost carries a most time period of as much as two years in jail in Pennsylvania.

Prosecutors contend the officers negligently fired 25 pictures at a automobile they mistakenly thought was concerned in gunfire that broke out as spectators left the soccer sport in 2021. Devaney was not sporting a physique digicam, and the opposite two officers didn’t flip their cameras on, investigators discovered.


Bility had attended the sport at Academy Park Excessive Faculty together with her mom and an older sister who was additionally shot however survived. In all, 4 folks have been hit by police bullets that sped previous the automobile.

The dealing with of the case prompted outrage and protests from the Black group and others as District Legal professional Jack Stollsteimer initially charged two Black teenagers who engaged in gunfire a block away — which prompted the police response — with the kid’s dying. These costs have been later dropped, and, after a grand jury investigation, the officers have been as a substitute charged with voluntary and involuntary manslaughter together with the endangerment counts.

protestor holds poster of Fanta Bility

Protesters name for police accountability in Media, Pennsylvania, on Jan. 13, 2022, in response to the dying of 8-year-old Fanta Bility who was shot outdoors a soccer sport. (Alokito Mymensingh 24 Picture/Matt Rourke, File)

The November plea agreements that dismissed these extra critical costs got here after consultations with the Bility household.

The household, who belong to a group of immigrants from West Africa, mentioned it was essential that the officers take accountability for the woman’s dying and the trauma they skilled. They’ve a federal lawsuit pending in opposition to the defendants and the Sharon Hill police division.

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“The agony we really feel consistently re-living the lack of our expensive Fanta, who was simply 8 years previous when she was killed by Sharon Hill cops, is inconceivable to explain,” the household mentioned in an announcement final 12 months.

Attorneys for the ex-officers, who’ve been free on bail, initially known as her dying a tragedy brought on by the teenagers who engaged in gunfire. The attorneys didn’t instantly return calls looking for remark Thursday.


Peter Johnson