$11M Settlement Reached in Pennsylvanian Police Shooting of 8-Year-Old

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In 2021, a pall of grief had descended on a Pennsylvanian suburb as an unfathomable tragedy unfolded: an 8-year-old girl, named Fanta Bility, fell victim to a police shooting incident near a high school football game. Now, the ensuing legal battle has reached an enervating closure. The grieving family settled its lawsuit against the suburban area of Philadelphia, the local police chief, and the three involved officers, amounting to a financial compensation of $11 million.

The heartrending incident occurred when the police intervened in a heated verbal altercation between teenagers, which had spiraled into a full-blown gunfight, in the Sharon Hill Borough of Pennsylvania. In the ensuing fusillade, the police unintentionally struck a car where Fanta was present, leading to her untimely demise. As fate would have it, three other individuals sustained injury during the unfortunate incident including Fanta’s 12-year-old sister, who was inside the same vehicle.

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The fingers of blame pointed to ex-police officers Brian Devaney, Sean Dolan, and Devon Smith who subsequently lost their jobs. During their trial in May, the charges of manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter which initially adorned them were lifted, leading to a plea deal on charges of reckless endangerment, and ultimately sentencing them to probation.

Although the family found some semblance of justice, the heartache remains. “There is no amount of money that can replace Fanta or obviate the shocking tragedy that unfolded on August 27, 2021, from our collective memory,” lamented Siddiq Kamara, the spokesperson for the Bility family, reflecting on the devastating occurrence. Healing from the ordeal, the family hopes to focus on the established Fanta Bility Foundation, in a bid to keep her legacy alive.

Based on the non-profit’s website, the foundation, launched to coincide with Fanta’s would-be 10th birthday, is resolute about advocating for effective police training and providing support to families and children nationwide, ensuring that Fanta is remembered.

The investigations initiated by the Delaware County District Attorney’s office concluded without identifying the officer who fired the fatal bullet. However, part of the legal settlement stipulates that the Sharon Hill Borough is compelled to offer enhanced training to its police force, particularly concerning the authorized use of deadly force, as confirmed by a statement from the family’s legal representatives.

The Borough of Sharon Hill expressed its sorrow over the incident, stating, “Though this chapter has come to an end, our hearts and the spirit of the Sharon Hill community will be forever changed. Although we cannot undo the tragic events of that day, we hope that the resolution of the lawsuit might provide those impacted a small measure of closure.”

No immediate comments have been made by Robert DiDomenicis, the attorney representing the suburban area of Sharon Hill, the involved officers, and the police chief.