Eurie Stamps, 68, a grandfather and retired Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority worker, was not suspected of any crime when police assaulted him inside his home and shot him dead shortly after midnight on January 5, 2011.
Now, more than five years later, Stamps’ family has reached a settlement with the town of Framingham, which to this day employs Stamps’ killer.
Details of the settlement, which was made Friday, have not yet been made public.
But the one thing that is clear is that Stamps is one of the countless victims of the government’s war on drugs.
The night he was killed, the Framingham SWAT team was serving a warrant targeting Stamps’ stepson, Josesph Bushfan, who police suspected of selling crack.
Bushfan was arrested outside the apartment, but police decided to raid it anyway, smashing the door down with a battering ram and setting off a flashbang grenade — a dangerous weapon that can injure, kill and start fires.
Inside the apartment, Framingham police officer Paul Duncan confronted Stamps, who was lying face down on the floor in an act of surrender.
Then Duncan shot Stamps in the head.
After the shooting, Duncan told investigators that he tried to kneel on Stamps’ back to restrain him, but tripped and somehow unintentionally shot Stamps.
In March 2011, the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office issued a press release calling the shooting an “accident” and declined to pursue charges against Duncan.
In April, the police department put Duncan, who had been on paid leave since the shooting, back to work.
“There’s no reason for him not to come back to work. He didn’t commit a crime,” then-Police Chief Steven Carl said at the time.
“That sounds like a pretty low standard for someone entrusted with keeping the public safe,” the MetroWest Daily News responded in an editorial.
According to MetroWest Daily News, which was first to report on the settlement:
U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor on Friday dismissed the suit, according to court records, writing that the parties have settled the case out of court.
Leonard Kesten, who represented the town and Framingham Police Officer Paul Duncan, a former SWAT team member who fired the fatal shot, said the terms of the settlement will be released publicly once they are finalized.
“The Defendants are pleased that the parties have reached an acceptable resolution of this unfortunate matter,” Kesten wrote in an email Sunday.
Cheryl Tully Stoll, chairwoman of the Framingham Board of Selectmen, said she had not yet seen the details of the settlement but she hoped the Stamps family could find some closure in ending the case.
“I believe this tragic accident is going to leave a stain on the town,” she said. “My thoughts and prayers go out to the Stamps family because whatever the settlement is, it could never be enough to replace a loved one. I personally can’t imagine they could ever be able to truly put this behind them, so I hope they are able to find peace.”
Chief Carl disbanded the SWAT team in 2013 shortly before he left the department to take a job as campus police chief at Assumption College.
UPDATE (9/30/2016): Framingham will pay the Stamps family $3.75 million dollars under the terms of the settlement, which were released Wednesday, according to the MetroWest Daily News.
The Daily News reports:
In an announcement, the town noted that police now participate in Framingham Comes Together, a coalition of community groups organized by local clergy to discuss race relations, and are working to introduce electronic stun guns as alternative to firearms.
The police department is also exploring a pilot program for officers to wear body cameras, according to the announcement.
“The Framingham Police Department has provided additional training to our officers and will continue to do so,” Chief Kenneth Ferguson said in the announcement. “Our goal is to provide the highest level of police services to the residents of Framingham and to prevent as much as humanly possible any other family from experiencing the sorrow that the Stamps family has endured.”