BOSTON (CBS) – Those who knew Eurie Stamps Sr. described him as gentle but firm; a larger than life presence in the Cambridge community where he grew up.
“I felt safe when he was around but I also felt like we were in check when he was around,” said Selvin Chambers who used to see Stamps around the neighborhood.
On Saturday, Chambers and others chanted his name and wore his face on their t-shirts as they renewed a call to look at the 2011 SWAT team raid in Framingham that killed Stamps.
The 68-year-old was an innocent bystander, shot when the Framingham Police SWAT Team busted into Stamps’ house while investigating drug activity by a family member.
On that January night, SWAT team members told Stamps to get on his stomach and he complied.
Then, one officer told investigators that he lost his balance.
“I start to fall over. I’m – I’m going backwards,” he said.
The end result? A bullet from the officer’s M-4 semiautomatic rifle pierced Stamps head, neck, and chest.
The then Middlesex District Attorney investigated and concluded that the officer fell and the shooting was an accident.
“For his story to be correct, one would have to throw out the laws of physics and conclude that bullets can turn corners,” said Anthony Tarricone, an attorney who represented the Stamps family in a Federal Civil Rights lawsuit against the Framingham Police Department that ended in a nearly $4 million settlement.
Tarricone also argued the officer violated several Framingham Police policies by failing to have the safety on his rifle, putting his trigger finger behind the trigger guard, and by pointing the muzzle directly at Stamps.
The U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals stated that the officer’s, “intentional actions greatly increased the risk of accidental harm.”
Now Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan says she will release the entire investigation to the public.
“While we’re doing that we are going to be re-looking at all of that as well,” Ryan said.
The officer involved is still on the force.
“He should have never been given a weapon again,” said Stamps’ friend Donald Harding.
Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer said she was familiar with the Stamps family.
She released a statement saying in part, “Since Mr. Stamps’ death, we have made changes in the Framingham Police Department. We dismantled the SWAT Team, and the Department trains and works diligently to maintain and grow public trust, ensure accountability, transparency, and to continue to heal our community.”