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Sharon Hill community demands transparency after heavily redacted report on police killing of Fanta Bility

Sharon Hill community demands transparency after heavily redacted report on police killing of Fanta
Sharon Hill community demands transparency after heavily redacted report on police killing of Fanta 02:24

SHARON HILL, Pa. (CBS) -- A community is demanding answers nearly a year after 8-year-old Fanta Bility was shot and killed by Sharon Hill police. On Thursday night, Borough Council met for the first time since the borough released a heavily redacted report on the department's use of deadly force.

Residents say they are still left with no answers. 

Protesters let their message echo through megaphones and ring through the streets of Sharon Hill. They continued to fight for 8-year-old Fanta Bility, who was shot and killed by police nearly one year ago outside the Academy Park football stadium.

They held signs and demanded transparency after the council released a highly redacted report following a nine-month, over $76,000 independent investigation into the police department's policies and procedures.

"I want the Sharon Hill Borough Council to have some respect for the family," a protester said.

"Fanta's mom deserves the respect and she definitely deserves answers," said another. 

Standing outside Sharon Hill Borough Hall, advocates for Fanta demanded transparency. They want to know the policies and procedures for Sharon Hill officers when responding to an active shooter incident, and what training and retraining officers are receiving since the 8-year-old was killed last year.

"Without any information being received, the residents of Sharon Hill still to this day do not know if we are safe because we don't know what our policies and procedures are," Sheila Carter said.

During a news conference, the Darby area NAACP said it made a public request for this information on Aug. 2 but still hasn't received any information.

Now, a letter has been delivered to the mayor and police chief with these demands.

"It seems like we're here with more questions than we have answers," Malcolm Yates, of the Delaware County Black Caucus, said.

Fanta was shot while leaving a football game with her family at Academy Park High School stadium on Aug. 27 last year when three Sharon Hill officers fired near a crowd after hearing gunfire.

Three weeks ago, an administrative probe into the department's use of force was released, but 85% of it was redacted.

The officers have been fired and criminally charged, but the NAACP says it wants more accountability, and an un-redacted report released.

"The family is not satisfied with the information they have and why is it that we are not able to get more information," Hicks said.

"We also are now pushing to have the Department of Justice to be involved because we cannot trust our local officials to do the right thing," Maleata Ragin said. 

Inside the Thursday night meeting, residents had their first meeting since the redacted report was released and questioned Borough Council's decision to withhold the findings.

The council says they thought releasing what they could share was in the best interest of the community.

"This council sincerely thought that it was a good idea to share with the public what we could at this time considering there is still pending litigation. It clearly was not the right choice," an official said.

"We care about this community. We got that report done for this community. We didn't care if it was $100,000, $200,000. Who cares? We got it done for y'all, for us," an official said.

The mayor says the police chief was given the full report with no redactions and can now compare the old policies with the new recommended ones.

As the community continues to search for answers, the council assured them they are moving in the right direction.

"The report itself does have a lot of information that we as a council are still working through and plan to continue to work through so we can have the change that you are looking to see," an official said. 

As litigation continues, the mayor says there will be a meeting with the police chief at the end of the month to start going over the new policies. 

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