“Because,” he continued, “in the absence of that, we would expect criminal charges.”
The charges on Tuesday stem from a shooting that occurred on Aug. 21, 2021. The police were monitoring the crowd when gunfire erupted outside the football field at Academy Park High School in Sharon Hill during the season opener against Pennsbury High School, prosecutors said.
Though a few minutes remained on the clock, the game was essentially over — a 42-0 win for the home team. People were already heading for the exits when bursts of gunfire rang out.
On the field, players hit the ground, seeking safety.
Two of those shots were fired “in the direction of” the officers, prosecutors said. The officers responded by firing “in the direction of” the stadium, prosecutors said.
The officers also fired toward a car they mistakenly believed had been the source of the initial gunshots, prosecutors said. The officers fired 25 shots.
When the shooting stopped, Fanta was dead, and at least three people were injured, prosecutors said. On Sept. 2, prosecutors said there was a high probability that Fanta and the other victims had been struck by bullets fired by the officers, not by the teenagers.
On Nov. 10, prosecutors filed criminal charges against the two teenagers — including the murder charges that were later dropped — but not against the police officers. That stirred outrage in the community and angered members of Fanta’s family, who worried that the police would ultimately evade accountability.
One of the teenagers, Hasein Strand, 18, of Collingdale, has pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a firearm and aggravated assault; the other, Angelo Ford, 16, known as AJ, “remains charged with serious crimes for his attempt to kill” Mr. Strand, the authorities said.