AP

DA criticized for handling of police shooting of 8-year-old

Jan 13, 2022, 1:34 PM | Updated: 10:18 pm

A hearing for a teenager charged with murder in the death of an 8-year-old girl hit by police gunfire was postponed Thursday as elected officials and activists stepped up their criticism of a prosecutor’s handling of the case so far.

Authorities say Angelo Ford, 16, got into an argument and exchanged gunfire with another teen outside a high school football game in Sharon Hill last August when police, returning fire, hit several bystanders in the crowd. The little girl, Fanta Bility, was fatally wounded by an errant police bullet.

Prosecutors asserted that Ford and the other teen, 19-year-old Hasein Strand, should be held criminally liable for Fanta’s death, charging them with first-degree murder and other offenses. Delaware County District Attorney Democrat Jack Stollsteimer, a first-term Democrat, has also convened a grand jury to investigate the police officers’ use of deadly force. The grand jury is still doing its work.

Activists, civil rights lawyers and others excoriated Stollsteimer on Thursday over what they called his disparate treatment of the two Black teenagers — who face charges that could put them away for life — and officers who fired their guns in an area crowded with people who were leaving the stadium at the end of the game.

“What he has done is absolutely shameful,” said Sean Damon, organizing director of Amistad Law Project in Philadelphia, asserting that Stollsteimer “is offering up these young people … as a distraction and a deflection away from holding the police accountable for what they did.”

Damon was among dozens of people at a “Justice for Fanta” rally outside the Delaware County Courthouse in Media. The group demanded that Stollsteimer drop the premeditated murder charges against Ford and Strand, name the police officers, and charge them in Fanta’s killing.

Stollsteimer’s office declined to comment on its handling of the case. The officers’ names “will not be released by this office unless they are charged with a crime,” said Margie McAboy, Stollsteimer’s spokesperson.

Attorney Bruce Castor, who has filed lawsuits on behalf of Fanta’s family and bystanders who were injured, said he had advised the family to withhold judgment of the DA’s performance, predicting major developments within days.

“I think that people in the community will feel dramatically different about how the case is being handled by this time next week,” Castor, who has also represented people who testified in front of the grand jury, said Thursday.

“It’s been my advice to the family to take a wait-and-see attitude for the short term,” said Castor, a former district attorney in neighboring Montgomery County. “I believe that the district attorney’s office is going to surprise a lot of people and makes decisions that are going to change the view that people have of the case.”

Ford’s preliminary hearing, scheduled for Thursday, was postponed. Strand waived a preliminary hearing that had been scheduled for Wednesday, according to the DA’s office. Ford’s attorney, Mary Elizabeth Welch, declined to comment. A message was left for Strand’s attorney, Mark Much.

Stollsteimer, who was elected on a reform agenda, has faced mounting criticism by members of his own party since charging the teens in November.

At least two Democratic committees in Delaware County urged Stollsteimer to recuse himself from the case and turn it over to the state attorney general’s office, while five members of Philadelphia City Council released a statement Wednesday condemning what they called a “shocking miscarriage of justice.”

“The weight of this tragedy falls on the shoulders of the three officers who discharged their weapons that day. For the DA to attribute responsibility for this crime to these young Black men, while allowing the officers involved to get off scot-free, is indefensible,” their statement said.

Sharon Hill borough is a small community of about 5,700 residents less than 2 miles north of Philadelphia International Airport.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Israeli Embassy...

Associated Press

US airman dies after setting himself ablaze outside Israeli Embassy in Israel-Hamas war protest

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

9 hours ago

Biden and Trump to visit Mexico border Thursday immigration...

Associated Press

Biden and Trump both plan trips to the Mexico border Thursday, dueling for advantage on immigration

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will make dueling trips to the U.S-Mexico border on Thursday.

10 hours ago

Arizona and New York attorneys feud over extraditing suspect...

Associated Press

Why Alvin Bragg and Rachel Mitchell are fighting over extraditing suspect in New York hotel killing

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she isn't into extraditing a suspect due to her lack of faith in Manhattan’s top prosecutor.

4 days ago

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

5 days ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

13 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

DA criticized for handling of police shooting of 8-year-old