The family of an eight-year-old girl who was shot and killed by police outside of a high school game in Philadelphia are suing the officers responsible for her death, claiming they were improperly trained and shot with the 'intent to kill.'
The mother and siblings of Fanta Bility say the three officers involved in her death violated her constitutional rights by killing her without due process, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Named in the lawsuit is the Sharon Hill Police Department, chief Joseph J. Kelly, Jr. and the three officers who fired shots - though one is listed as 'John Doe' because the family has not yet learned his identity, the lawsuit says.
The officers were responding to unrelated gunfire outside of a football game at Academy Park High School in Sharon Hill, on the outskirts of Philadelphia.
They were across the stadium exit when they shot back, according to the Delaware County District Attorney's Office, which has convened a grand jury to decide whether to charge the officers criminally.
Fanta Bility, 8, 'succumbed to her injuries after lying conscious in her mother's arms' after police shot her in the back outside of a high school football game near Philadelphia in August
Bility's mother, Tenneh Kromah, sued the Sharon Hill police department and three of its officers in federal court on Tuesday
They're alleging that officers were improperly trained and used excessive force when they killed Bility while responding to a shooting outside of a game at Academy Park High School
Bility, above, was the sister of Mawatta, a cheerleader who was also shot by police that night
The cops - John Scanlan, III and Devon Smith and a third unnamed officer - were all placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting.
Smith joined the Sharon Hill department in 2015 and was promoted to full-time patrolman in 2017, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. It is unclear when Scanlan joined, but he once received a certificate of merit for saving an elderly man in a wheelchair from a house fire.
It is also unclear who fired the bullet that struck Bility in the back and killed her.
The shooting happened on August 27 at about 9pm, according to the lawsuit.
A group of young males by the stadium exit engaged in a verbal confrontation that led to gunfire, prosecutors say, prompting the Sharon Hill officers to fire back.
The DA's office has identified suspects and persons of interest in the underlying shooting, but a spokeswoman told DailyMail.com that no one has been arrested in the matter.
Officers also shot Bility's sister Mawatta, who was a cheerleader at the game, along with two recent graduates who were in a car that drove past the scene of the shooting when officers fired.
Officers were stationed across from the stadium entrance, above, when gunfire erupted
They shot back, but hit four 'innocent' people instead, according to Tuesday's lawsuit
'The occupants of [the] car were unarmed, engaging in no criminal activity, and did not pose any threat at all to the police officers or the community at large,' the lawsuit states.
'The driver of the car was in fact an innocent 19-year-old woman with innocent another woman of similar age in the front passenger seat.'
Bullets from the police traveled beyond the car and into the crowd of bystanders leaving the game, according to the lawsuit.
'Fanta Bility later succumbed to her injuries after lying conscious in her mother's arms while her mother attempted to comfort the terror-stricken little girl before she died,' the lawsuit says.
Last month, prosecutors said they were 'nearly certain' that police shot four of the five people injured at the scene.
Those responsible for the underlying gunfight have not been caught.
It is unclear which officer fired the bullet that struck Bility in the back and killed her
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said last month that a grand jury has been convened to weigh charges against John Scanlan, Devon Smith and a third unnamed officer
The Delaware County District Attorney's Office says with 'near certainty' that it was police gunfire that killed Fanta Bility and injured three others
Wednesday's lawsuit accuses the officers and police department of excessive force; failure to train; state created danger; unconstitutional policy, practice or custom; assault and battery; wrongful death; and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The Sharon Hill Police Department did not respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com.
Bility's family is asking for at least $400,000 plus punitive damages and attorneys' fees and costs.
Part of the blame is on the department's training procedure, the family says.
'The Borough of Sharon Hill and its chief of police have a policy, custom or practice of ignoring the appropriate standards for use of deadly force, and/or has failed to train its officers appropriately,' the lawsuit states.
'As such, The Borough of Sharon Hill and its agents were deliberately indifferent and reckless with respect to potential violations of constitutional rights.'
The lawsuit does not name specific training failures.
Last month, the Delaware County DA's office said the Sharon Hill borough had hired a law firm to conduct an administrative review of its policies and procedures related to deadly force.