Delaware County

New law calls for additional police training in response to 8-year-old's shooting death

Officials have unveiled new legislation that calls for more training for police officers after 8-year-old Fanta Bility was shot and killed by officers outside a high school football game in 2021

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Elected officials from throughout the state joined the family of slain 8-year-old Fanta Bility on Monday to discuss new legislation aimed at providing police with additional training.

Bility was killed by police gunfire on Aug. 27, 2021, when officers fired at a vehicle they believed was involved in a shooting outside a high school football game in Sharon Hill.

Family members and elected officials gathered outside the Academy Park High School Football Field, near where Bility was shot to death to detail a call for additional training for officers to prevent similar incidents from happening again.

This legislation is being introduced by state senator Anthony Williams (D-8th dist.) who represents Sharon Hill, Pa. and a companion bill will be introduced by state rep. David Delloso (D-162nd dist.) in the House who also represents Sharon Hill, Pa.

Williams said that the intent of the bill is to help all officers -- especially part-time officers and new ones -- with training focused how to deal with high stress situations.

"Delaware County is different than Philadelphia County in the context that we have part-time and rookie officers who are put into situations that they not fully prepared to respond to, which can lead to, unfortunately tragedies like this one or others," Williams said.

Delloso, who grew up in Sharron Hill and said he played on these fields as a child, said the young girl's life needs to be remembered and training is needed to prevent similar shooting incidents in the future.

"The shock and the sadness of the event that brings us here today are unlike anything I experienced as a young man growing up in Sharon Hill," he said.

He said the training that the legislation calls for will allow police officers to undergo more experience in dealing with "high pressure, hard decision" situations.

"My legislation isn't just about spending more time at the range, shooting straighter," he said. "My legislation is about making the best decision....Frankly, our men and women volunteer to serve us and they never want to make that bad decision."

The new legislation, officials said in a statement on the day's event, will be called "Fanta's Law."

“I don’t want anybody to be in this situation today that I’m in," Tenneh Kromah, Bility’s mother, said.

Williams' bill calls for additional use of force training, four times a year, for officers that "would provide all Delaware County police officers with additional education and training regarding how and when to use force in emergency situations."

During the day, officials said they hope the legislation -- which is currently working its way through Harrisburg -- will be picked up statewide instead of just being focused on officers in Delaware County.

Sadiq Kamara, Fanta's cousin and co-chair of the Fanta Bility Foundation, said that the long road to creating this legislation is worth the effort if it could prevent similar incidents from happening again.

"It's a very emotional day for me and my family," he said. "We miss Fanta every single day."

The police officers involved in Bility's death pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges and are serving probation.

“She forgives those cops, but she never wants to forget Fanta’s name," Kamara said.

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