The family of an eight-year-old girl killed in a police-involved shooting outside a high school football game in Pennsylvania in August 2021 has reached an $11 million settlement.
The resolution was approved by the federal court more than two years after the incident that led to Fanta Bility’s death at Academy Park High School in Sharon Hill, north of Philadelphia. Three others were also injured in the incident.
The Delaware County District Attorney’s Office previously reported that the shooting resulted from teenagers dealing with gunfire during an argument.
The teens fired 25 shots at a car and a crowd of people leaving the football game in the small town near Philadelphia International Airport.
It prompted three police officers stationed nearby to fire their firearms.
Tragically, Fanta lost her life due to a single gunshot wound to her torso.
Fanta Bility, 8, was killed on August 27, 2021, when police exchanged gunfire with a group of gunmen outside a high school football stadium in suburban Philadelphia.
Authorities later determined that police gunfire led to her death.
Ballistics tests could not determine which officer fired the shot that killed her, but a grand jury recommended that all three suspects be charged after firing a total of 25 bullets.
“There is no amount of money that will ever bring Fanta back or erase from our minds the terrible tragedy of what happened on August 27, 2021,” Fanta’s mother Tenneh Kromah said in a statement. NBC News.
“We hope to move forward and focus specifically on the Fanta Bility Foundation and keeping Fanta’s name and legacy alive.”
The law firm representing the family said they hoped the settlement would provide a “measure of justice and accountability to those whose lives were forever changed” by the incident.
The three officers involved, Sean Dolan, 27, Devon Smith, 36, and Brian Devaney, 43, were fired from the force and charged with voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment in connection with the incident that occurred on August 27. , 2021.
The officers told investigators they believed a car driving toward them was the likely source of the gunfire, prompting them to return fire.
Bility was a rising third grader who was at the game to support her older sister, who was cheerleading, and her cousin, who was playing.
Fanta Bility died after being struck by a bullet in the torso
The trio pleaded guilty in November 2022 to 10 counts of reckless endangerment.
As part of the negotiated pleas, charges of manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter were dismissed, and in May they were given sentences of five years of probation.
Prosecutors revealed the settlement was reached after consultation with Bility’s family.
This settlement also ends three separate lawsuits filed against the Town of Sharon Hill in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, noting that it offered “the effects of a small degree of closure.”
In a statement, the district extended its condolences to the Bility family and pledged to improve and implement policies to prevent such tragedies, while also working to ensure the safety of Sharon Hill residents and rebuild the trust of public.
Bili had attended the match with her mother and an older sister, who was also shot but survived. Her family, who belong to a community of immigrants from Guinea, described her as a sweet child who had a smile for everyone.
The teens who fired the first shots were both initially charged with murder in Bil’s death, but those charges were later dropped.
Alfredo “AJ” Ford, 16, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, five counts of attempted murder, five counts of assault and battery, along with several weapons charges.
Protesters are seen at the Delaware County Courthouse in January 2022, calling for police accountability in the death of 8-year-old Fanta Bility, who was shot outside a football game
Murder charges previously filed against two black teenagers, Angelo “AJ” Ford, 16 (left) and Hasein Strand, 19 (right), for firing the gunshots that prompted officers to fire back were also dropped last September.
Hasein Strand, 19, of Collingdale, was charged with the same charges as Ford.
The two had gotten into an argument and shots were fired.
The prosecutor initially charged the teens with the child’s death, but those charges were later dismissed.
Strand pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for his role in injuring one of the other children struck by gunfire and to illegal possession of a firearm.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Strand will now serve between 32 and 64 months in prison.
Ford was also charged for his “attempt to murder Strand” and was placed in a juvenile facility from which he later escaped in February 2022. He was later arrested again by police and taken to prison.