On January 5, 2011, Framingham descended into a police state when the Framingham police SWAT team murdered a man and the Board of Selectman decided to withhold the name of the killer cop for two months. There is no rational reason to withhold the killer cop's name other than to give the police and DA time to contrive evidence to clear the killer cop. This intent became the result.
This page is the full story (all articles combined) and is in chronological order starting on January 5, 2011.
Officer Paul Duncan killed a person in cold blood and he wasn't even charged with careless and reckless discharge of a weapon.
Officer Paul Duncan
|Framingham man shot and killed during SWAT raid||January 5, 2011|
|Norman Miller 508-626-3823||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- Authorities say a Framingham Police SWAT team member shot and killed a man during a drug raid early yesterday morning at a Fountain Street home, a shooting by some accounts said to be a horrible accident.
Eurie Stamps Sr., 68, was shot once in the neck as the SWAT team helped narcotics detectives serve a search warrant as part of a weeks-long investigation into suspected drug dealing at 26 Fountain St., police said.
Yesterday in Framingham District Court, prosecutor David Clayton said police for several weeks had been investigating Stamps' stepson, Joseph Bushfan, 20, and Dwayne Barrett and had used a confidential informant to buy drugs at the apartment.
As police prepared to search the home shortly after midnight, Bushfan and two women left the apartment, Clayton said. Officers stopped them and found eight small plastic bags of crack in Bushfan's pocket, he said.
According to police accounts, police then knocked on the apartment's door and identified themselves. When no one answered, the SWAT team broke down the door.
Inside, police found Bushfan's cousin, Devon Talbert, 20, who detectives saw sell drugs outside the apartment earlier in the night, the prosecutor said.
The SWAT team members then began a "sweep," or search, of the apartment, for other suspects, Clayton said.
"At some point during that sweep, a firearm was discharged and an individual was struck by that bullet," Clayton said.
Police stopped the search as a medic assigned to the team began treating Stamps. Stamps was taken to MetroWest Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
It was the second fatal shooting by a Framingham officer in three years. On Aug. 3, 2007, Officer Steven Casey shot and killed Karl E. Thomsen, 42, of Avon, who charged at the officer with a knife outside the Masonic Temple on Concord Street. The Middlesex DA's office determined that shooting was justified.
Barrett, a Framingham resident who authorities say is tied to drug dealing, said Stamps was unarmed and had nothing to do with drugs.
Barrett said some of Stamps' relatives told him police said the officer fired his weapon accidentally.
"This shouldn't have happened," Barrett said while sitting outside the courtroom yesterday morning where Bushfan and Talbert were being arraigned on drug charges.
A police report filed in court by Framingham Police Detective Felipe Martinez did not identify the officer who fired the shot nor did it give many details of what had occurred.
The report said police found a sock containing more drugs, but did not say if any weapons were found.
Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone's office, along with state police, are investigating the shooting. They offered few details about the shooting.
Bushfan, 20, of 26 Fountain St., and Talbert, of Boston, were charged with possessing cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiring to violate state drug laws and having drugs near a school.
Barrett has not been arrested.
Clayton asked Judge Robert Greco to set $1,000 bail for Talbert and $5,000 for Bushfan.
He also asked the judge to revoke Bushfan's bail on three open cases. He is scheduled to go to trial on Jan. 18 in Middlesex Superior Court for charges stemming from an April 2008 armed robbery in Cambridge. In that case, he is charged with two counts of armed robbery, armed assault with the intent to rob and assault with a dangerous weapon.
He also has open shoplifting cases from Framingham and Natick.
Bushfan is also on probation out of West Roxbury District Court on an armed assault charge. Clayton said the probation department from that court has issued a warrant for Bushfan's arrest as a result of yesterday's arrest.
Bushfan's lawyer, Robert Proctor, argued for a lower bail, and asked Greco not to revoke the bail on the open cases. He said his client is a senior at Framingham Alternative High School, and has just lost his stepfather, Stamps.
Talbert's lawyer, Christopher Shannon, said his client was just visiting his cousin, Bushfan. He also said Talbert had not taken part in a drug deal earlier in the night. Rather, he said, Talbert went out to the car to get a cord for his video game system.
Greco released Talbert without bail, and ordered Bushfan held on $5,000 bail and revoked his bail on the open cases. That means even if Bushfan posts the bail, he would still be held at the Middlesex Jail in Cambridge.
Both men are due back in court on Jan. 25 for a pretrial conference.
Several people, who would only say they are relatives of Bushfan and Talbert, attended the pair's arraignment. They declined to speak about the case or Stamps.
Said Barrett of Stamps, "He was a very good man, the type of man who would give you the shirt off his back."
|What'ch you gonna do when they come for you?
Jack booted adrenaline junkies at play.
|Neighbor: Shooting victim 'as straight-laced as they come'||January 5, 2011|
|Norman Miller 508-626-3823||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- The Framingham Police SWAT officer who fatally shot a man while serving a search warrant this morning may have done it accidentally, a family friend said outside the courtroom today.
Dwayne Barrett, of Framingham, described Eurie Stamps as "a very good man, the type of man who'd give you the shirt off his back. This shouldn't have happened."
Stamps, 68, was in his 26 Fountain St. house as police served a drug warrant there at about 12:30 a.m. He was fatally shot by an officer, although Barrett said authorities told him the officer accidentally shot his weapon.
Stamps was taken to MetroWest Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Joey Fisher, who lived upstairs from Stamps and his wife, Norma Bushfan Stamps, said he was trying to make sense of the shooting given his neighbor's gentle demeanor.
Fisher described Stamps "as straight-laced as they come." He said Stamps was a retired MBTA worker.
Police did arrest two men as a result of the drug warrant, according to authorities. Joseph Bushfan, 20, of 26 Fountain St., and his cousin Devon Talbert, 20 - who lives in Boston with his parents, according to his lawyer - were charged with possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate the state's controlled substances law, and a school zone violation.
Both men pleaded not guilty today at their Framingham District Court arraignment. Judge Robert Greco released Talbert without bail. He ordered Bushfan held on $5,000 bail on his new case but revoked his bail on an open armed robbery case in Middlesex Superior Court as well as open larceny cases in Framingham and Natick district courts.
Barrett is a friend of Bushfan's. He said Stamps is Bushfan's stepfather.
The shooting is being investigated by the Middlesex District Attorney's office and the Massachusetts State Police.
Authorities aren't releasing details of the shooting.
|Shooting victim, a retired MBTA worker, called kind, gentle||January 6, 2011|
|Michael Mortonr 508-626-4338||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- Before leaving for a walk, former MBTA worker Eurie Stamps Sr. would grab a cap and an elaborate wooden cane, cutting a suave figure as he slowly made his way from his family's Fountain Street apartment.
The 68-year-old occasionally paused to say hello to other residents or to chat. And he recently gave a fellow tenant a ride to work when the man had car trouble.
So neighbors reacted with shock yesterday when they heard the gentlemanly retiree had been fatally shot by a Framingham police officer during a raid that led to the the arrests of the man's stepson and the stepson's cousin on drug charges.
"It's pretty bothersome," said upstairs tenant Joey Fisher, standing outside puffing on a cigarette after a night in which he heard a clamor so loud "I thought I was in Fallujah." He saw Stamps taken out on a stretcher.
Fisher described the older man as "straight-laced as they come."
As Fisher spoke, ribbons of police tape and latex gloves still lay on the driveway, and a handyman had not yet arrived to secure first-floor windows and doors smashed by the SWAT team at the 26 Fountain St. two-family home.
Stamps had moved there two summers before from Cambridge with his wife, Norma Bushfan Stamps, and her 20-year-old son, Joseph Bushfan, one of the drug suspects, neighbors said. The cousin, Devon Talbert, also 20, was a frequent visitor.
Eurie Stamps retired from the MBTA in 2006 after a 20-year career working with machines in the bus division, the agency said.
With their homes tucked between the Columbus Club, a gas station and a recycling firm, Fountain Street residents said their neighborhood is typically quiet and safe.
While parties at the white, two-and-a-half story home where Stamps lived could grow boisterous, next-door neighbors said, they saw Stamps as the gentleman of the house, a calming influence who played the role of peacemaker.
Fisher characterized him as a "black Santa Claus" not only because of his chubbiness and gray hair but also because of his jolly nature.
"They are the nicest people," Fisher said of the couple. "They really are."
Stamps and his wife invited their upstairs neighbor to holiday meals and frequently dropped in to visit, Fisher said. He described Stamps as a gentle, humble man content to watch TV, with Fisher offering Stamps' wife rides back to Cambridge and Stamps taking the younger man to work once.
Fisher didn't want to speculate on why Stamps had been shot - the tattoo artist has gotten to know many Framingham officers who are customers at his employer's shop - but shook his head at the outcome.
"I really don't know what went wrong," he said.
|Framingham police: Officer from shooting placed on leave||January 6, 2011|
|Staff reports||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- Framingham Police Chief Steven Carl said today that the officer who shot a 68-year-old Framingham man in his home early Wednesday has been placed on paid administrative leave while the shooting is being investigated.
The following is a statement from Carl:
"At 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 5, the Framingham Police SWAT Team served a search warrant at 26 Fountain St. in Framingham. During the service of the search warrant Mr. Eurie Stamps was tragically and fatally struck by a bullet which was discharged from a SWAT officer's rifle. Despite immediate intervention by tactical medics, he died at the scene.
The officer involved has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the District Attorney's Office's independent investigation into the justifiability of the shooting. Our condolences are with Mr. Stamp's family for the heartbreak they are understandably enduring and we will await the findings of the investigation before taking any additional administrative action.”
According to the Middlesex District Attorney's Office, the investigation will take three to four weeks and the identity of the Framingham officer who shot Stamps will not be released until the investigation is complete.
|Search for answers begins in Framingham SWAT raid death||January 7, 2011|
|Danielle Ameden 508-626-4416||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- Stunned by the apparent accidental shooting death of a man in his Fountain Street home by a police SWAT team member early Wednesday, the community yesterday was seeking answers.
Police Chief Steven Carl said yesterday the officer who shot 68-year-old Eurie Stamps Sr. with a rifle has been placed on paid administrative leave as the district attorney's office continues to investigate the killing.
The officer's name won't be released until a report is ready - likely in three to four weeks, a spokesman for the Middlesex district attorney's office said.
For now, the limited amount of detail about Stamps' death doesn't sit well with Graham Steele, chairman of Town Meeting's advisory committee on public safety.
Steele questioned yesterday why the officer's name hasn't been released.
"I don't think it helps community relations for the Police Department," he said. "I think the public has a right to know."
Steele said he is anxious to read the official report, which his committee will review. He said the shooting raises many questions, including why Framingham needs a SWAT team and what the rationale was behind an early-morning raid with heavily armed officers.
"It just seems like such a baffling (use) of force and resources. ...I think, like a lot of people, I have a hard time justifying this," Steele said.
If the investigation finds the officer wasn't right to shoot at Stamps, "Frankly," he said, "I don't want him being a police officer in this town if that's the case."
Selectman Jason Smith said he fielded about 10 calls by early afternoon yesterday from residents who had a lot of questions.
"All I've told them is stay very patient," Smith said.
"Obviously, I'm very disappointed," said Smith, who said he plans to bring up the shooting at the next selectmen's meeting.
"I will certainly have some questions...that I'm hoping to get answered myself," he said.
Authorities say Stamps was shot once in the neck as the SWAT team helped narcotics detectives serve a search warrant at 12:30 a.m.
Stamps' stepson, Joseph Bushfan, and Bushfan's cousin, Devon Talbert, were arrested on drug charges during the raid, which capped a weeks-long police investigation into suspected drug dealing at 26 Fountain St.
Selectmen Chairman Dennis Giombetti also urged patience.
"I can understand the concern, and obviously it's a very unfortunate tragic accident," Giombetti said. "We need to wait and see what the DA and the state police investigate, and what they report, and find out what happened. Until then I think we should wait and see."
Grieving family members declined comment as they returned to Stamps' apartment building around 2:30 p.m. yesterday.
A cleanup crew specializing in crime scenes worked inside. Plywood had been put up against a window that was smashed by the SWAT team.
A couple of neighbors across the street reflected on Wednesday morning's raid.
"All of a sudden I hear a big bang," said Michael Flores, 27, who woke his sister during the raid and looked outside to see 10 to 15 police cars and officers "screaming and doing their job."
Flores' roommate Richard Bones, 18, said he played basketball regularly on Saturdays in the Danforth Building with Bushfan, 20.
Bones said he talked to Stamps once, and the family invited him over to a barbecue.
"I thought they were nothing but good people," he said.
Chief Carl offered his sympathy.
"Our condolences are with Mr. Stamps' family for the heartbreak they are understandably enduring, and we will await the findings of the investigation before taking any additional administrative action," he said in a statement.
|Editorial: Fatal SWAT raid raises questions||January 7, 2011|
|Anonymous||Metrowest Daily News|
Who killed Eurie Stamps?
That's just the first question Framingham Police and the Middlesex County District Attorney's office have refused to answer in the wake of the midnight raid by the town's SWAT team that left Stamps, a 68-year-old grandfather, dead in his apartment.
A police spokesman said the SWAT team came to Stamps' Fountain Street home at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday to execute a search warrant as part of a drug investigation involving Stamps' 20-year-old stepson. They smashed in the door - after knocking and receiving no response, officials said - and began a sweep of the apartment.
"At some point during that sweep, a firearm was discharged and an individual was struck by that bullet," an assistant district attorney said. In any situation, such use of the passive voice sounds like someone is trying to avoid responsibility.
Surely, the Framingham Police know who "discharged" the firearm that killed Eurie Stamps Sr. They just refuse to answer the question until the investigation is completed, which they now say could take three to four weeks.
That's not the only question they refuse to answer. Why were they serving a search warrant in the middle of the night? Was there some crime about to be committed so serious that they had to intervene immediately? Why did they send the SWAT team? Was there some imminent danger? Did they have reason to expect armed resistance? If so, they were wrong: No weapons were found in the house.
We understand that investigations take time, and that every suspect is innocent until proven otherwise. But that doesn't stop the police from identifying suspects within hours of any shooting not involving one of their own. Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone can usually be found at the crime scene and in front of the TV cameras within minutes of any other shooting in his jurisdiction.
Such reticence hurts the town and the department. Without verified information, rumors spread. Until the officer responsible for the shooting is identified, people will speculate, casting a shadow on every Framingham police officer.
We should all resist a leap to judgment. But the investigation must be thorough and credible, and law enforcement officials must go beyond the call in sharing information with the public, lest they be accused of covering things up. They can start by telling the public one fact they certainly know: Who shot Eurie Stamps.
|Leone: DA disappointed by editorial||January 8, 2011|
|Gerry Leone, Middlesex District Attorney||Metrowest Daily News|
I would like to personally express my sincere disappointment at the unfounded and baseless personal jab at me that was written by Rick Holmes in his editorial that was published Friday ("Fatal SWAT raid raises questions," Jan. 7). Because I was not contacted nor given the opportunity to respond first, I would like to now address what I believe is a position steeped in ignorance of the facts, and obviously biased by apparent preconceived notions about and against me and law enforcement. Mr. Holmes seems to assume that I was not at this crime scene. He is wrong. I was there, was briefed by members of the Middlesex District Attorney's Office and ranking Framingham Police Department and Massachusetts State Police Officers who responded to the scene. I then left the scene, before media arrived, as to comment at that point would have been professionally premature.
Mr. Holmes seems to intimate that I am some type of media hound. That is offensive to me. In fact, as the Middlesex District Attorney I refuse far more public opportunities in print and on camera than I conduct. I appear before cameras as a public service to inform the public of matters that are of interest and/or deserving of their knowledge, and for me to appear on camera within minutes of shootings in Middlesex County as Mr. Holmes alleges is frankly logistically impossible in a county which is a quarter of the population of Massachusetts, one of the largest in the United States, and has scores of shootings each year.
I would think that, in a paper where its own columnist, Julia Spitz, urges readers in the column "Honor Stamps with the truth" not to jump to conclusions regarding a not-yet completed investigation into a serious police-involved shooting, an editor of the same newspaper, Rick Holmes, would be more careful in making accusations. This case is one of a handful of police-involved shooting cases that we are presently investigating across the County, and each and every one is handled under the same protocols, and reported publicly by us in the same manner after our investigation is concluded. Our practice is not to release a civilian's name during an ongoing investigation where no charges have been filed against him or her in the interests of the presumption of innocence and privacy, and a police officer receives the same protections. However, unlike a civilian, after the completion of an investigation, the police officer's name is released in the interests of public transparency due to his or her position, whether the shooting is found to be "justifiable" or "accidental" and no criminal charges are issued, or if it is criminally charged.
It may be natural in this age of instant gratification to expect what you want, when you want it, but that desire can't trump the job that I, as the primary legal public safety law enforcement official in Middlesex County, am tasked with - I and the office that I represent have to get it right. And when you speculate on facts that are not yet known to be truth, and make accusations based on those speculations, that is not only misleading to the public, but does a grave disservice by heightening the condemnation of the accused or those under investigation.
Furthermore, to question the motivations and actions of police under the circumstances and facts known publicly in this case, and those known only to those who went into harm's way, smacks of an inherently biased distrust of law enforcement. This is hardly the thing of the unbiased and fair journalist. One need look no further than the recent tragic death of Woburn Police Officer Jack Maguire, who was tragically killed at the hands of a criminal suspect, to know that police officers confront situations that are inherently dangerous every day, and they need to be prepared to protect themselves from the anticipated dangers of the streets that they protect.
Our investigation remains ongoing. The ultimate findings will be based on a thorough review which will take the time that it takes to get it right, and will be based on our independent review of the ascertainable facts and evidence. Those findings will not be the rush to judgment that Mr. Holmes engaged in. And regardless of the final findings and conclusions, let us not lose sight of the fact that these officers did what all police officers do each and ever day- they willingly and knowingly went into harm's way on behalf of the safety of our communities. The tragedy that occurred to Eurie Stamps and his family is not helped in any way by premature accusations and second guessing. We have come to expect far more from an editorial level writer from an acclaimed award winning newspaper.
Middlesex District Attorney
|Police chiefs: Brains, training key to effective SWAT response||January 9, 2011|
|Scott O'Connell 508-626-4449||Metrowest Daily News|
Clad in heavy, black armor, with guns cocked and ready to return fire, a SWAT team in action is an image of force and control.
But it's not so much the muscle as it is the mental that keys an effective special operations response, says Webster Police Sgt. Michael Shaw.
In the past, the ideal SWAT officer would have been somebody who was "6 foot, 5 inches, could bench-press a truck and shoot a fly off a tree," said Shaw, who commands the SWAT unit of the Central Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council. "Now we're looking for people who can think."
The events that led to the shooting of 68-year-old Eurie Stamps Sr. by a Framingham SWAT team member during a raid of the man's home last week are still unclear. The incident, which coincided with the arrest of Stamps's stepson and the stepson's cousin on drug charges, is under investigation by the Middlesex district attorney's office. Some accounts suggest the shooting was an accident.
While reluctant to comment on the details of the Framingham case, police officials in the region say SWAT teams must be prepared for the unexpected.
"Anything can happen," Waltham Police Chief Thomas LaCroix said. "You plan for the worst and hope for the best."
That's why training is such an important part of SWAT teams' preparation, he said, and is ultimately what sets them apart from regular police officers.
For most towns, training is done by regional consortiums, which typically serve between 40 to 50 towns. The state police has its own own unit, as do a few larger cities such as Boston and Worcester.
"We don't have the resources to train, outfit and maintain a full-time team," said Mark Leonard, chief of the Marlborough department, which belongs to the Central Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council. "It wouldn't be cost-efficient. It makes more sense to pool our resources with other communities."
The Central Massachusetts team has about 30 officers from member towns, Shaw said. Applicants have to take a physical test and demonstrate their marksmanship. They are then put on a probationary period in which they are evaluated for mental and physical capacity to do the job.
"If they aren't ready, we may decide it's not for them, and they may ask to move on," Shaw said.
Members practice a range of skills during twice-a-month training sessions, including shooting and tracking.
"We also do a lot of entry work - that's our bread and butter," Shaw said of operations when SWAT units gain access to buildings to secure suspects or rescue hostages.
Some of the training is scenario-based. Officers roleplay to prepare for hostage situations, shootings and other potentially unpredictable circumstances.
"When you're training every day at it, you're going to do it better than someone who doesn't," said LaCroix, whose Waltham department has its own special operations unit and is part of the Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council.
SWAT teams are usually called in for situations that a regular police force is not prepared or equipped to handle, particularly hostage scenarios and shootings in progress. A municipal police official, typically the chief, will call the SWAT team commander, who then quickly assembles a team.
Police also request SWAT teams to help in high-risk situations, such as if a suspect is known to be dangerous. The team commander usually decides whether the SWAT presence is necessary, Shaw said. Raids may be planned days in advance if there is time.
A SWAT team's role is to secure the premises so police officers can serve the warrant.
"We lock the place down and make sure it's secure," Shaw said. "Then we hand it over to the detectives. Our time in the house is probably two to three minutes."
In that small amount of time, a SWAT team's expertise is crucial.
"They're trained to do entries. They're better at hand-to-hand tactics. They're more proficient with firearms," LaCroix said. "They're trained for worst-case scenarios. How often is a patrol officer going to kick in a door?"
The mentality of SWAT officers also isn't that different from other officers, he said.
"When the guys go into a building, they want to make sure everyone who goes in comes out, and nobody gets hurt," he said. "Unfortunately, things happen."
Once inside the building, "every situation's different," Shaw said.
If mistakes are made, the results can be deadly. Mishaps are also often magnified by the attention SWAT raids tend to receive from the media and public.
SWAT teams keep an eye on those cases to find lessons they can incorporate into their training.
"All law enforcement training is based on what happened in other cases," LaCroix said. "You look for what went right and anything that could be done better."
"It's a constantly evolving line of work," Shaw said.
|Search warrants sealed in SWAT shooting||January 11, 2011|
|Norman Miller 508-626-3823||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- A Framingham District Court judge yesterday impounded two search warrants connected to last week's drug raid and subsequent fatal shooting of a 68-year-old retired MBTA worker in his home by a police SWAT team member.
Judge Douglas Stoddart impounded the returns of the two warrants at the request of prosecutor David Clayton.
By impounding the returns, any information collected during the drug and shooting investigation remains in the court clerk's office and can't be examined by the public or press.
Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone's office yesterday released no new information about Wednesday's fatal shooting of Eurie Stamps Sr.
Framingham Police narcotics detectives were serving a search warrant at 26 Fountain St. on Wednesday at 12:20 a.m. The department's SWAT team was called in to assist.
The team forced its way into the apartment. As the SWAT team searched the apartment, one of the members shot Stamps once, killing him.
The name of the officer has not been released. In a letter to the Daily News, published on Saturday, Leone said his office is handling this investigation no differently from other shootings involving police officers in Middlesex County.
"After the completion of an investigation, the police officer's name is released in the interest of public transparency due to his or her position, whether the shooting is found to be 'justifiable' or 'accidental' and no criminal charges are issued, or if it is criminally charged," Leone wrote.
Police Chief Steven Carl has said the officer is on paid administrative leave while the district attorney's office and the state police investigate the shooting.
Stamps' stepson, Joseph Bushfan, 20, who lived with Stamps, along with Bushfan's cousin, Devon Talbert, 20, of Boston, were arrested at the home during the raid.
Bushfan and Talbert were charged with possessing cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiring to violate the state's drug laws and a school zone violation.
Framingham District Court Judge Robert Greco released Talbert without bail, but ordered Bushfan held without bail on several open cases, including two armed robbery charges and two armed assault charges.
They are due back in court on Jan. 25 for a pretrial conference.
|Funeral arrangements set for man killed in Framingham police raid||January 12, 2011|
|Kendall Hatch 508-626-4429||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- The family of Eurie Stamps Sr., the 68-year-old local man fatally shot by a police officer during a drug raid in his house last week, will lay him to rest Friday in Cambridge.
Calling hours will are from 3 to 6 tomorrow at St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church at Bishop Richard Allen Drive and Columbia Street in Cambridge. A funeral service will be held at the church immediately afterward, at 6 p.m.
Stamps will be buried at Cambridge Cemetery on Friday morning. The burial is private, said Anthony Spears, an owner of A.J. Spears Funeral Home in Cambridge.
By yesterday afternoon, a makeshift memorial had been set up on the front stoop of Stamps' 26 Fountain St. home. Several candles in jars were set up on the ground in front of a handmade poster reading "We love you G-Pa."
Flowers were placed in Stamps' mailbox.
The story of Stamps' killing has become a topic of conversation in other communities as well.
During a City Council meeting Monday night in Cambridge, where Stamps lived for many years, Councilor Ken Reeves spoke about the tragedy of Stamps' death and the relationship between police and black men in the United States.
"He was well, well known here," Reeves said of Stamps. "There are plenty of people here who are quite outraged that still in America you can get killed in your own house for no particular reason that has to do with you. That it happens to men who happen to fit the black male designation is not lost on black men.
"I know people say, 'They're always complaining about this,"' said Reeves, a former mayor of Cambridge. "Well, where are the white guys who just got shot in their house for just being in their house? It's incredible. What the incredibility is is that somewhere in our society, in certain people's brain cells, the description of 'black male' is negative and you shoot at it."
Authorities were still saying nothing yesterday about the circumstances surrounding the death of Stamps, a retired MBTA worker, who was shot last Wednesday during a drug raid at his Fountain Street home.
Cara O'Brien, a spokeswoman for Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone, declined to say yesterday whether an autopsy had been conducted. She referred questions to the state medical examiner's office. A spokeswoman for that office did not return calls.
On Monday, a Framingham District Court judge impounded two search warrants connected to the raid, closing them to the public and press.
According to a statement last week from Police Chief Steven Carl, the Framingham SWAT team went to the Fountain Street home just after midnight on Jan. 5 to execute a search warrant.
"During the service of the search warrant Mr. Eurie Stamps was tragically and fatally struck by a bullet which was discharged from a SWAT officer's rifle," Carl wrote.
The officer who shot Stamps, whom police are refusing to identify, was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into the circumstances around the shooting. That investigation, authorities said last week, could take three to four weeks.
Stamps' stepson, Joseph Bushfan, and Bushfan's cousin, Devon Talbert, both 20, were arrested during the raid. They were charged with possessing cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiring to violate state drug laws and a school zone violation.
At the start of last night's Board of Selectmen's meeting, Town Manager Julian Suso spoke about the shooting. Reading a statement, he said selectmen and town officials will not comment on what happened until the district attorney's office releases its findings.
"Do not mistake our silence for lack of concern or sympathy for the profound loss of Mr. Stamps," Suso said.
He asked the public to "reserve premature judgment and remain patient."
|Wolfe: 'Overkill' in SWAT raid||January 20, 2011|
|Harold J. Wolfe 508-877-5541||Metrowest Daily News|
Gerry Leone's extraordinary cover-up behind Eurie Stamps' killer is now complete. The name of the killer is being withheld by all relevant law enforcement agencies and the search warrants were sealed by Judge Stoddart.
I only want to know two facts. Who the killer was and how many people were witnesses to the killing? If there was only two, dead men tell no tales. The police can make up their fairy tale.
There are four types of homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable and praiseworthy. Steven Casey's 2007 kill was praiseworthy since he received the William Welch award for it. How repugnant! Steven Casey's name was known the day after his kill.
Sahr Josiah's name was known the day after he allegedly shot officer Philip Hurton and I do not remember a 3-4 week investigation on his guilt or innocence by the Middlesex DA.
This extreme bias toward police establishes a strong double standard between police and civilian and helps to set up a police state in Massachusetts. I expect Gerry Leone's report will not become public since he arrogantly states that we may not be deserving of his knowledge.
A midnight SWAT attack on a minor drug dealer was literally dramatic overkill. This was not the operational center of a drug cartel. Was the outcome worth the effort? Will there be another police award coming?
Release the killer's name. If it's Steven Casey, we have a serial killer cop.
Sunlight is the best disinfectant.
HAROLD J. WOLFE,
|Police used stealth in fatal Framingham drug raid||February 11, 2011|
|Norman Miller 508-626-3823||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- The Jan. 5 raid at a Fountain Street home in which a SWAT team member shot and killed a 68-year-old man was conducted late at night with heavily armed police to get the jump on suspected drug dealers with violent records, court documents say.
The Middlesex district attorney's office asked Framingham District Court Judge Douglas Stoddart yesterday to lift the impoundment order on search warrant information tied to the drug investigation at 26 Fountain St. and the fatal shooting of Eurie Stamps Sr.
The documents were released after lawyers for the MetroWest Daily News informed District Attorney Gerry Leone's office and Stoddart that they were ready to file a motion to open the sealed search warrants and related documents to the public.
As a result of the raid, police arrested and charged Joseph Bushfan, 20, who is Stamps' stepson, and Bushfan's cousin, Devon Talbert, 20, of Boston. Both face several drug-related charges. Police had been investigating Bushfan and another man for allegedly selling crack.
Two separate search warrants had been impounded. The first warrant application was filed by Framingham Police Detective Dinis Avila for the initial drug investigation. A second was filed by state police Lt. Edward Forster as part of the investigation into the fatal shooting of Stamps, a retired MBTA worker, who authorities have said was not a target of the raid.
None of the documents released yesterday include the name of the officer who killed Stamps, and neither the district attorney nor the Framingham Police have named that officer.
Documents released yesterday included the search warrant return, or the list of items seized during the drug raid, but not for the shooting. The district attorney's office said the second return had been filed with the court clerk and should have been included in the released documents.
In his affidavit, Forster said Avila had learned Bushfan and a second person, whose name was redacted, or blacked out, from court documents, had violent histories. The warrant application also lists the unnamed person as "being a gang member associated with Folk Nation." At Bushfan's initial arraignment, prosecutors said he and a man they identified as Dwayne Barrett were the targets of the raid.
With those concerns, the Framingham Police SWAT team accompanied narcotics officers during the search, Forster wrote.
Avila had asked for authority from a judge to serve the warrant at night. Drug dealers, including Bushfan, he said, often used "counter-surveillance techniques," or lookouts, to watch for police. Many people involved in the Framingham drug trade recognize most members of the narcotics unit, which would give the offenders time to hide the drugs or destroy evidence, he said.
"Because the cover of darkness maximizes the ability of police officers to approach premises without being detected, when search warrants are executed during the nighttime, drug dealers are less likely to have time to destroy their drugs before the police gain entry," Avila wrote.
After undercover officers either watched or made several drug purchases, Avila applied for the warrant to search 26 Fountain St. for cocaine and any "books, papers, records, documents, monies, implements and paraphernalia related to illegal possession and distribution of controlled substances." Avila did not mention guns as being a target of the search.
Stamps was shot at 12:20 a.m. as the SWAT team made its first sweep of the apartment, according to police reports. He was taken to MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham, where he died.
Among the items police seized were a plastic bag containing eight individually wrapped pieces of a rock-like substance, three knives, a razor blade with white residue on it, several cell phones, clear plastic bags with the corners cut off, "green vegetable matter," and a pill bottle containing various pills. They also seized mail addressed to "Joseph Bushfan" and miscellaneous papers.
Forster's request for a search warrant does not include much information about the actual shooting, but rather what he would be looking for as part of the forensic investigation.
He asked to collect "evidence related to a homicide crime scene," including "bullets and empty shell casings; gunshot residue; blood, skin, physiological fluids and secretions, hair, fibers, fingerprints, palm prints, footprints, shoe prints and items containing traces of any of the above-mentioned articles."
The district attorney's office has not released its findings of the investigation into the shooting. Spokeswoman Jessica Pastore said they are still waiting for ballistic reports and the final report from the state medical examiner's office to be submitted before the findings are released.
In a letter to Judge Stoddart, lawyers for the MetroWest Daily News said that impounding the documents undermines timely discussion of news events.
"If (the Daily News') reporters continue to be denied access with respect to their newsgathering and reportage concerning the warrant material, the impermissible 'freezing' effect on the public's constitutional rights is particularly damaging," attorney Michael J. Grygiel of the firm GreenbergTraurig wrote on behalf of the newspaper.
Pastore said all civilians and police officers who were witnesses in the case had been interviewed since the search warrants were impounded Jan. 10.
"We didn't see any reason to keep them impounded," Pastore said, explaining why the district attorney asked the judge to unseal the documents yesterday, two days after receiving notification from the newspaper's lawyers.
Door at 26 Fountain Street, Framingham, MA 01702
|Shell casing, blood swabs among evidence from SWAT raid||February 12, 2011|
|Richard Lodge||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- The district court clerk's office yesterday found the missing page from the search warrant documents unsealed by a judge Thursday, shedding light on what police took from a Fountain Street home where a SWAT team officer fatally shot an elderly man during a botched drug raid.
The search warrant return, a single-sheet inventory of evidence taken by state police investigating the shooting death of 68-year-old Eurie Stamps Sr. at 26 Fountain St. on Jan. 5, was brief. The inventory included "one discharged casing" from a gun and "two swabs of blood," as well as photographs and videos recorded by state troopers and a chemist involved in the search.
The search warrant return was not among documents unsealed Thursday by Framingham District Court Judge Douglas Stoddart at the request of District Attorney Gerry Leone's office. Soon after the shooting, the district attorney's office had asked that the search warrant applications and returns be sealed, and the judge agreed.
Four weeks into the investigation and just two days after lawyers for the MetroWest Daily News formally notified the court and Leone that they would ask for a hearing to unseal the records, the district attorney's office asked the judge to released all documents.
Just after midnight Jan. 5, armed Framingham SWAT officers served a search warrant on the house based on information they had compiled from a series of undercover drug buys.
As a result of the raid, police arrested and charged Joseph Bushfan, 20, Eurie Stamps' stepson, and Bushfan's cousin, Devon Talbert, 20, of Boston. Both face several drug-related charges. Bushfan has since pleaded guilty to unrelated assault charges from Cambridge and was sentenced to jail.
Police had been investigating Bushfan and another person - whose name was redacted from the released documents - for allegedly selling crack cocaine.
Stamps, a retired MBTA worker who lived in Cambridge before moving to Framingham, was not a subject of the drug raid, authorities said.
The search warrant return for the drug raid listed a plastic bag containing eight individually wrapped pieces of a rock-like substance, three knives, a razor blade with white residue on it, several cell phones, clear plastic bags with the corners cut off, "green vegetable matter" and a pill bottle with assorted pills.
Leone's office has not released results of the investigation into the shooting. Neither the district attorney nor Framingham Police have named the officer who fired the fatal shot.
Jessica Pastore, a spokeswoman for Leone's office, told the Daily News on Thursday that they are waiting for ballistic reports and the final report from the state medical examiner's office before findings are released.
|DA: Eurie Stamps shot accidentally by police||March 9, 2011|
|Norman Miller 508-626-3823||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- A Framingham Police officer stumbled and accidentally shot and killed a Framingham man as he laid face down on the floor of his home in January, the Middlesex district attorney's office announced today.
Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone said today that Framingham Police Officer Paul Duncan shot and killed Eurie Stamps during a drug raid 63 days ago on Jan. 5.
Stamps, 68, was unarmed and laying on the ground. Duncan, a member of the SWAT team, had walked over to Stamps to handcuff him and check him for weapons, when Duncan began to fall.
"While falling, Officer Duncan removed his left hand from his rifle, which was pointing down towards the ground, and put his left arm out to try to catch himself,'' according to a statement from the district attorney's office. "As he did so, he heard a shot and then his body made impact with the wall. At that point, Officer Duncan, who was lying on the ground with his back against the wall, realized he was practically on top of Mr. Stamps and that Mr. Stamps was bleeding.''
Duncan immediately called for help, and medics began treating Stamps. Duncan also immediately told another officer that his gun fired.
Stamps was taken to MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham where he was pronounced dead.
The state's medical examiner's officer ruled that Stamps died from a single gunshot wound to the upper body.
The district attorney's office said the shooting does not "rise to the level of criminal conduct, and the shooting death of Eurie Stamps was an accident."
The case is now being referred to the Framingham Police Department for an internal review.
"My sincerest condolences go out to Mr. Stamps’ family and many friends for what is an extremely tragic and sad incident,” Leone said today. "I have met with Mr. Stamps’ family regarding our findings and determinations and discussed with them the legal obligations that I and this office have under the law in police involved fatal shootings. I further told them that we have found, based on the law and all the evidence, that this was an unexpected, sudden, unintentional discharge of a gun by a police officer carrying out his legal duties in a lawful manner, amounting to an accident under the law. Therefore, we conclude that there is no factual nor legal basis for a criminal prosecution."
Duncan was a member of the Framingham Police Department's SWAT team that forced their way into 26 Fountain St., during the execution of a drug warrant.
Police had arrested Stamps' stepson, Joseph Bushfan, 20, of Framingham, outside of the apartment. Inside the apartment, they arrested Devon Talbert, 20, of Boston, who is Bushfan's cousin. They both face cocaine distribution charges.
Duncan was put on paid administrative after the shooting. It is unclear if he's since returned to work.
Bushfan is currently serving an 18-month sentence in the Billerica House of Correction after pleading guilty two months ago to charges in connection with two 2008 robberies in Cambridge.
|Still waiting on SWAT raid facts||March 10, 2011|
|Bob Michaels, Lynn||Metrowest Daily News|
Let's make a simple comparison of the public disclosure offered by local police, district attorneys, medical examiners, state police and the response of elected officials regarding two high profile killings in January.
Tucson, Arizona: January 8, 2011:
Nineteen (19) individuals are shot, including a United States Member of Congress.
Six (6) are killed.
Thirty-one (31) shots are fired.
More than 100 witnesses are interviewed.
What we know:
- The City of Tucson Chief of Police issued a statement of facts within forty-eight (48) hours.
- The Pima County Sheriff issued numerous statements of fact and held numerous press conferences within hours of the shooting.
- The medical examiner has released a complete, detailed report for each of the shooting victims to the public.
- The district attorneys of the applicable jurisdictions have released statements and filed charges against the suspect.
- The name, address and other pertinent information of the killer were released within hours of the shooting.
Framingham, MA: January 5, 2011:
One unarmed senior citizen (Eurie Stamps) in his pajamas is killed inside his own home.
One shot was fired.
The killing was witnessed by a team of professional eyewitnesses (the SWAT team).
What we know:
- The Framingham Police Chief refuses to make any statements other than to say he refuses to make any statements.
- The Massachusetts State Police refuse to make any statements.
- The Massachusetts State Police refuse to release ballistic reports.
- The Middlesex County District Attorney's office first promises to release a report "within 3 to 4 weeks" (as reported in this paper on 1-7-2011)
- The Middlesex County District Attorney's office now claims that no such promise was made and that this newspaper lied.
- The medical examiner refuses to release any reports or information.
- Elected officials in Framingham are mute.
- Even the name of the killer is withheld, while he enjoys a (so far) 2+ month paid vacation at taxpayer expense.
Mr. Stamps was a working class African American, who, by all reports was an honest, law abiding, generous man.
Do you suppose if Mr. Stamps had been a wealthy, politically connected, white man the police chief, elected officials, State Police and medical examiner would be participating is this systemic governmental cover-up?
|DA rules SWAT shooting accidental||March 10, 2011|
|Norman Miller 508-626-3823||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- The lawyer for the children of a man shot and killed by a Framingham Police officer said he will conduct his own investigation after the Middlesex district attorney's office yesterday ruled the shooting accidental.
Lawyer Anthony Tarricone called the description provided by Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone's office about how Officer Paul Duncan shot and killed Eurie Stamps Sr. on Jan. 5 implausible.
The district attorney's office ruled that Duncan's shooting of the 68-year-old Stamps was an accident and not a crime and had occurred when Duncan tripped and fell.
"This is a member of an elite SWAT team," said Tarricone, who represents Stamps' four adult children. "One has to question, as reported by the district attorney, if that is, in fact, what happened. There's an air of implausibility."
The Framingham Police Department, in a statement, expressed sorrow over Stamps' death.
"Town Manager Julian M. Suso, Police Chief Steven B. Carl, and the Framingham Police Department express their deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathy to the Stamps family, for what was a tragedy in every sense of the word. The town of Framingham is deeply saddened by the loss of Mr. Stamps and Officer Duncan has been profoundly affected by this tragic accident."
According to the district attorney's office, Framingham Police obtained a warrant on Jan. 4 to search 26 Fountain St. Detectives had conducted an investigation into reports that someone was selling cocaine from an apartment there.
Police had made several undercover drug purchases from a man who the district attorney's office did not name in its report and from Joseph Bushfan, 20, who lived at 26 Fountain St., and who is Stamps' stepson.
Although yesterday's statement did not identify the other man, prosecutors had previously said Dwayne Barrett of Framingham was the second target of the investigation.
Police decided to use the department's SWAT team to serve the search warrant based on several factors, including the fact that Bushfan and the second man had violent criminal histories, the district attorney's office said.
In particular, the second man was known to be a member of a local gang, and was a "known associate of an individual involved in the 2009 shooting of Framingham Officer Phil Hurton," the report said.
Early on Jan. 5, as police were getting ready to serve the warrant, Bushfan came out of the apartment. Police took him into custody a few hundred feet from the apartment.
The SWAT team then knocked on the door, announced they were there, and entered the apartment, the district attorney's office said. Later that day, a Daily News photographer took a photo of the badly damaged door, suggesting police broke it down.
"Two Framingham Police officers made entry and arrived inside the kitchen, then spread out and scanned the room," the district attorney's office said. "They both observed movement and people on the other side of the kitchen, in the area of the hallway and in the back bedroom."
Officers saw a large man, later identified as Stamps, come out of a back bedroom. They ordered him to lay on the floor. Through a cluttered hallway, police rushed to intercept another man, later identified as Devon Talbert, who they feared might be armed. Talbert refused to comply with their orders to put up his hands.
Duncan, who is a member of the SWAT team, decided to check Stamps for weapons, and got beside him with his two hands on his rifle.
Duncan lost his balance as he tried to step around Stamps, according to the DA's office, and fell backward.
"While falling, Officer Duncan removed his left hand from his rifle, which was pointing down towards the ground, and put his left arm out to try to catch himself," said the district attorney's office. "As he did so, he heard a shot and then his body made impact with the wall. At that point, Officer Duncan, who was lying on the ground with his back against the wall, realized he was practically on top of Mr. Stamps and that Mr. Stamps was bleeding."
Duncan yelled: "Man down, man down." Medics with the SWAT team began treating Stamps, who was then taken to MetroWest Medical Center, where he was declared dead.
"Officer Duncan told another officer on scene within moments of the incident that he had stumbled and lost his balance while moving to get in a better position, and as he was falling, his gun fired," the district attorney's office said.
The state medical examiner's office determined that Stamps died from a single gunshot wound to his upper body.
The shooting does "not rise to the level of criminal conduct, and the shooting death of Eurie Stamps was an accident," the district attorney's office said.
Leone called the incident extremely tragic and sad.
"I have met with Mr. Stamps' family regarding our findings and determinations and discussed with them the legal obligations that I and this office have under the law in police-involved fatal shootings."
Duncan, a former police officer in Mendon and Shrewsbury, has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting. He joined the Framingham department in 2006.
The case has now been referred back to the Framingham Police Department, which has the option of conducting its own investigation.
Despite the findings, Tarricone and Tony Fugate, who represents Stamps' wife, Norma Bushfan, said they plan to continue asking questions.
"When an innocent man dies this way at the hands of the police, there really are no excuses that can satisfactorily explain away such a tragedy," said Tarricone. "Mr. Stamps' civil rights were surely violated, and those who are responsible must be held accountable for his death."
Fugate said, "We believe the DA's report leaves unanswered several critical questions about this incident. We seek a full accounting of what went so terribly wrong here, and we do not yet have that."
Tarricone sees inconsistencies in the district attorney's report.
He said it does not make sense that Stamps was on the floor, yet he was shot in the face. He also said the report was "too general," and the lawyers' investigation will be more thorough.
"It will focus on details," said Tarricone. "The report doesn't mention any key facts. It makes it sound like there were two (SWAT team members) in the house, when there were 18 SWAT team members and police officers in the house."
Tarricone also said no drugs were ever sold from the apartment. Any drug deals happened outside, he said.
Also, police had Bushfan in custody before the SWAT team went inside. He said they should have changed their plan once their target was in custody.
"They stormed this house, which was occupied by a 68-year-old disabled MBTA mechanic laying in bed in his pajamas watching a basketball game," Tarricone said.
If the district attorney's report is true, then Tarricone said it raises another set of questions about the training of Duncan, who has been a SWAT team member since 2008, and the SWAT team as a whole.
"At the minimum, we have a SWAT team that is poorly trained," he said. "The gun was found to have no defects. The report said the gun went off, it would be fair to say the trigger was pulled."
The lawyers have requested all documents related to the investigation, and they said they plan to interview everyone connected with the investigation under oath, Tarricone said.
"We have not filed a lawsuit yet," he said. "It's important we have as many facts as we can before we file (a lawsuit) in federal court."
Bushfan and Talbert, both 20, were arrested by police that night and face several drug charges.
Bushfan is currently serving an 18-month sentence in the Billerica House of Correction after pleading guilty two months ago to charges in connection with two 2008 robberies in Cambridge.
|Editorial: Unanswered questions||March 11, 2011|
|Rick Holmes||Metrowest Daily News|
After a two-month investigation of the shooting death of a Framingham man during a SWAT raid, Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone has reached a narrow conclusion that leaves questions for others to answer.
Leone lays out a narrative we see no grounds to challenge. Framingham police investigating cocaine dealing by a resident of 26 Fountain St. obtained a search warrant and decided, consistent with their policies and practices, to send a SWAT team to the address. In the course of the search, Eurie Stamps Sr. was told to lie face-down on the floor, which he did. Some minutes later, Officer Paul Duncan, with a rifle in his hands, moved to handcuff and search Stamps. Duncan lost his balance, Leone's report states, and he removed one hand from the rifle to break his fall. "He heard a shot and then his body made impact with the wall."
Stamps, a 68-year-old retired MBTA mechanic, was pronounced dead at MetroWest Medical Center within minutes of the shot.
Leone concluded "that the actions of Officer Duncan do not rise to the level of criminal conduct, and the shooting death of Eurie Stamps was an accident." Thus, his office will take no further action.
That leaves questions others will have to answer: Were Duncan's actions in keeping with standard practices? Should he have secured his rifle before getting so close to a potential suspect? Did he follow his training? Was his training adequate? Who was his supervisor on the scene, and was his supervision adequate?
Other questions should now be posed by Framingham Police Chief Steven Carl, and those he answers to: Was this operation adequately planned? Should that plan have been adjusted when a suspect was arrested and Mrs. Stamps questioned even before police knocked down the door? Did the execution of this operation meet the professional standards Framingham police aspire to?
Some questions should be asked by the town's elected officials: How much did this operation cost? Was this an appropriate use of the SWAT team? How much does it cost to equip, train and maintain the SWAT team? Does Framingham really need a SWAT team, especially given the proximity of the Massachusetts State Police headquarters?
Giving Officer Duncan and his colleagues the benefit of all doubt, this still isn't the way this operation was supposed to go. Nobody intended for an innocent man to be killed that night. But calling something an accident does not remove all responsibility. Nor does it mean that there are no lessons to be learned from this tragedy.
Leone's report offers no lessons, only exoneration. It's now up to Chief Carl, Town Manager Julian Suso and Framingham selectmen to answer the questions that remain and make policies that ensure that deadly accidents like the one that took the life of Eurie Stamps don't happen again.
|Framingham Police to have its own investigation into SWAT shooting||March 16, 2011|
|Danielle Ameden 508-626-4416||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM — The Police Department is set to launch an internal investigation into the shooting death of a man by a SWAT team member, Town Manager Julian Suso said last night.
Suso said the professional standards review will focus on whether any rules, regulations, policies or procedures were violated when Officer Paul Duncan killed Eurie Stamps Sr. during a drug raid Jan. 5.
"That will be under way during the coming week," Suso told selectmen.
He said police were waiting to start their review until after the district attorney's office released its findings on the shooting, which it did last week.
Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone's office ruled that 68-year-old Stamps' death was an accident and not a crime. Leone's office said Duncan's rifle fired when he tripped and fell inside Stamps' home at 26 Fountain St. The SWAT team was serving a search warrant at the time.
Authorities said Stamps' stepson, Joseph Bushfan, whom police arrested, and another man were the targets of the raid.
Suso said the district attorney's report is key to the police internal investigation.
The review should be complete in two to four weeks, he said.
Selectmen did not comment on the matter, but behind closed doors last night they discussed a potential lawsuit Stamps' family may bring.
An attorney for the family last week called the district attorney's explanation of Stamps' death implausible and said he will conduct his own investigation.
In other business last night, selectmen met with leaders of two planning organizations that serve the town: the MetroWest Regional Collaborative and its parent, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.
Given the town's budget crunch, Suso is recommending Framingham withdraw as a member town of the regional collaborative to save $20,000 and avoid needing to make further layoffs. The town would continue paying $19,000 to remain one of 101 communities served by the planning council.
After hearing arguments, selectmen decided not to make a final call.
The collaborative, led by Framingham resident Bruce Leish, offers technical help and resources to its nine member towns, which include Ashland, Holliston, Marlborough, Natick, Southborough, Wayland, Wellesley and Weston.
Bucking Suso's recommendation, Leish and planning council executive director Marc Draisen asked Framingham to remain a leader at the regional table.
"It's hard to ask for continued commitment of funds," Draisen said, "but this community is the leader of MetroWest."
Suso said he was shocked to recently learn that two member towns, Marlborough and Holliston, haven't been paying their annual membership fees.
"I'm wondering how we get into this optional dues club. ... I'm outraged on behalf of the taxpayers," Suso said.
Draisen and Ashland Selectman Jon Fetherston praised Leish's approach to planning and advocating for MetroWest on Beacon Hill.
"This is not about debating good people and good intentions," Suso said. "... It's about making tough decisions."
He said the town is in "cut-back mode" and has to weigh belonging to the organization against keeping teachers, police officers and firefighters.
Selectmen agreed to wait to make a decision on remaining a member until after the revenue picture for fiscal 2012 becomes more clear.
Chairman Dennis Giombetti and Natick Selectman Josh Ostroff are co-chairmen of the collaborative's executive board, which was formerly known as MetroWest Growth Management.
"I do see value" in being a member town, Giombetti said, but he added that he respects where Suso is coming from, trying to balance next year's budget.
Board member Jason Smith said if it came to a vote last night, he probably would have sided with Suso, but he recognizes the pros to being a member town.
"What we can afford and what we can't afford I think has to be uppermost," Selectman Ginger Esty said.
|Framingham hires outside SWAT expert to look into raid||March 23, 2011|
|Danielle Ameden 508-626-4416||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- The town has hired a SWAT expert to investigate a police officer's deadly shooting of a man during a January drug raid.
Steve Ijames will conduct the review, which will focus on whether the Framingham SWAT team and Officer Paul Duncan followed best practices and protocol during the Jan. 5 raid, Town Manager Julian Suso said last night.
Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone's office ruled earlier this month that Duncan accidentally killed Eurie Stamps Sr., who was laying on the floor of his 26 Fountain St. home during the raid. Duncan's rifle fired as he tripped and fell, the district attorney's investigation concluded. Stamps lived at the home but was not a target of the raid.
The Police Department is investigating its officers' actions, and the results are due within a month, Suso said.
Ijames, a retired officer from Springfield, Mo., was an original member of the National Tactical Officers Association board of directors. He developed and instructed courses for less-lethal programs.
Ijames has worked for the Justice Department and foreign governments.
He was an investigator in the highly publicized case of Boston Police's SWAT team after an Emerson College student celebrating the Red Sox 2004 pennant win died after being shot in the face by a pepper-spray ball.
Selectmen have been meeting behind closed doors to discuss a potential lawsuit that Stamps' family may bring.
An attorney for the family called the district attorney's explanation of Stamps' death implausible and said he will conduct his own investigation.
Authorities said Stamps' stepson Joseph Bushfan, whom police arrested, and another man were the targets of the raid.
|Police investigation details the night Eurie Stamps Sr. died||May 1, 2011|
|Richard Lodge||Metrowest Daily News|
Looks like a poster child
for White Supremacy
FRAMINGHAM -- "Jesus, was that my rifle?" was among Framingham SWAT team Officer Paul Duncan's first thoughts after he shot and killed an elderly man who was lying face-down in the hallway of his Fountain Street house.
A .223-caliber round from Duncan's M4 rifle pierced the face, clavicle, chest, heart, left lung, aorta and pulmonary artery of 68-year-old Eurie Stamps Sr., according to the Middlesex district attorney's office. The DA's investigation into the Jan. 5 shooting determined that Duncan fired that shot accidentally as he stumbled.
Duncan, who had been on administrative leave until recently returning to work, told investigators his gun discharged after he lost his balance while trying to pull Stamps' hands behind his back, according to audio recordings obtained by the Daily News in response to a public records request.
"I heard the discharge, and it was almost like there was a shot fired," Duncan says in his recorded interview with Massachusetts State Police Lt. Edward L. Forster. "It took a second for it to settle in that, 'Jesus, was that my rifle?' Now I'm resting on the ground on my rear end, I look down at, I'm literally almost on top of him.
"I can see his head, I look down at him and now I can see under ... which would essentially be his left shoulder. ... Now I start to see blood come out from somewhere under the left shoulder area," Duncan tells Forster, who investigated the shooting for the DA's office.
The shooting happened during a 12:30 a.m. drug raid at the 26 Fountain St. apartment where Stamps lived with his wife, Norma Bushfan-Stamps, and her 20-year-old son, Joseph Bushfan. Police said they had conducted a series of undercover drug buys and, on this night, were searching for Bushfan and his cousin, Devon Talbert, also 20, of Boston.
Both men were suspected of selling crack cocaine. Bushfan was arrested outside the apartment just before the raid, and Talbert was arrested inside. According to the DA's office, police "eventually recovered eight individually packaged corner baggies of crack cocaine from Bushfan's pocket."
With a battering ram
On the audio recording, which runs 1 hour and 18 minutes, Duncan describes how he used a battering ram to smash through the front door of Stamps' home and rush into the apartment. He said he smashed the middle out of the door and forced his way into the dimly lit apartment after Sgt. Vincent Stewart banged on the door and yelled, "Framingham Police, search warrant! Framingham Police, search warrant!"
Duncan says it was unusual for him to be the first through the door, since general practice calls for the "breacher" - the officer who wields the battering ram - to smash open a door, step aside as others rush in single-file, and then enter as the last officer in the "stack."
In this case, he said, the center of the door broke, but the door remained in the frame. Concerned that other officers might get hung up on the frame, he pushes through first, clearing the opening.
As he scans the first room and sees no one, Duncan says, he moves toward a hallway, where he finds a man, face down on the floor, with his arms extended in front of him.
Duncan describes moving toward the man - who turned out to be Stamps - with his M4 in the "low-ready" position, a round in the chamber and the rifle in semi-automatic, or single-shot, mode. "I see a man laying on his stomach, somewhere in the hallway," Duncan tells Forster in the interview on Jan. 6, the day after the shooting.
"Probably if I were to guess, a couple of feet past the threshold, maybe two, maybe three feet past the threshold. ... The other two SWAT operators are gone (into another room). I look down, I see the individual laying there. At that time, he's laying on his stomach, his hands are, I believe, are above, I believe his elbows were resting on the floor. His hands and fingers are above him, and they aren't on his head, they're hovering above his head.
"As I approach him at the threshold, I recall his head moving up toward me. And his hands moving like in a motion of, you know, 'Who's this? What's coming in here?' So I see the hands moving and head go up, not a great distance, just enough my attention automatically went to his hands and his head."
Duncan says the two other SWAT team members who were in another room "had not checked him (Stamps) for any weapons. I know that there was no check of the area for any weapons, other than maybe a quick one with their eyes," Duncan tells Forster. "I make a decision at that point. My options are, focus on him like this and say, 'Don't move, don't move.' But what happens if there's a gun or something hidden anywhere and he just reaches quick? What happens?
"Well, I'm still in a position where I gotta make a decision. Do I fire, do I not fire? In my mind as quickly as it was going, I made a decision, I'm gonna take that out of this equation.
"I decided I'm going to go beside of him, get his hands behind his back, not to handcuff him, but just tighten up on his hands and kneel down on him so he can't reach for anything at all. In the back of my mind it takes any threat that maybe someplace I can't see completely out of the equation as far as any firearms or weapons," Duncan says.
Forster questions Duncan about how he was holding the rifle, which has a pistol grip where the trigger and trigger guard are mounted, and another grip on the barrel. "Paul, did you attempt to maneuver your rifle once you were falling back?" Forster asks.
"I know my right hand has the rifle, I'm trying to pull it away," Duncan responds. "I'm trying to get it toward the wall. But it was ... as long as it sounds like ... it seems to me now it was a millisecond. Under the trigger guard there is what I would classify as a hand hold or small grip similar to the grip on your sidearm. As I'm going backwards, or falling, I was trying to control that, but it seems to me there was a thousand thoughts going on in my head. Prior to falling, my index finger was on the outside of the trigger guard. And I don't know ...."
Forster: "Whether it made it in there or not when you're falling?"
Duncan: "But at some point the weapon discharged."
Forster: "We don't know if the weapon discharged because you pulled the trigger or because of the impact of you falling."
Duncan: "I just know that it discharged. I don't know consciously that my finger was in there (inside the trigger guard). I just know that the weapon discharged."
Forster: "The gun never fell out of your hand?"
Duncan: "The gun never fell out of my hand. No. The gun didn't fall out of my hand."
'Man down! Man down!'
Duncan then realizes Stamps has been shot.
"At that time I yell, 'Man down! Man down! Man down!' two or three times," he tells Forster.
Within seconds, Duncan reports hearing others yell from other rooms in the apartment. "I hear a voice, you know, 'What was that? What happened? What happened? What's going on?' Something to that effect."
Duncan says at least one officer enters the hallway and helps him to his feet and out of the room. "I was up. I don't know if someone helped me up, to get all the way on my feet, but I was instantly removed to get out of the room. Once the shot was fired, I was totally out of play anyway," Duncan says.
In an earlier recorded interview with Forster, Detective Sean Riley, a SWAT team member, says he rushed inside when he heard the shot. He sees Duncan, and, "Paul says, 'I fell, I fell. I tripped.' "
Duncan tells Forster that he was taken into the apartment kitchen. "Once I was in the kitchen, I think it was Lt. (Robert) Downing who said, 'What happened? What happened?' I told him, I said I fell or I tripped - I can't remember exactly what I said."
He says he was then escorted outside, where he is left with Officer Chris Eliadi, a friend with whom he previously had served on the Shrewsbury Police Department. Asked by Forster if, after he is taken outside, any officers fill him in on what was going on inside, Duncan says no. "I never heard anything about, 'This is what's going on, this is what happened.' There was no play-by-play for me," he says.
A few minutes after being taken outside, Duncan and Eliadi get into a police car and are driven to the police station. Duncan says his rifle is taken and put into an evidence box, and he changes into civilian clothes. He and Eliadi go to MetroWest Medical Center, where Duncan is evaluated.
|SWAT Officer returns to work 3 months after shooting||May 1, 2011|
|Norman Miller 508-626-3823||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM --More than three months after the fatal drug raid at a Fountain Street home, the officer who shot and killed Eurie Stamps Sr. is back to work.
Officer Paul Duncan returned to his job more than a week ago, after having been on administrative leave since the shooting death of 68-year-old Stamps on Jan. 5 at 26 Fountain St., which the district attorney's office has ruled an accident.
"There's no reason for him not to come back to work. He didn't commit a crime," Police Chief Steven Carl said.
Duncan had been on paid leave since the raid. He was the member of the SWAT team who broke down the door to enter the first floor of the house.
Arrested that night were Joseph Bushfan, 20, who was Stamps' stepson, and Devon Talbert, 20, of Boston.
Carl said Lt. Michael Hill, who is in charge of the department's internal affairs, is conducting an investigation into what happened. His goal is to find out if police followed proper standards and procedures.
That investigation is similar to a probe being done by SWAT expert Steve Ijames, the chief said.
The Board of Selectmen hired Ijames, a retired officer from Springfield, Mo., to conduct a separate investigation.
"It's a painstaking process, and I'm sure Ijames is doing the same thing," Carl said.
Carl said he can't estimate exactly when the reports from the department and Ijames will be complete.
"To do it thoroughly, you can't rush it," Carl said. "If there's something you need more clarification on, you have to go out and get that information. It slows things down, but that's the only way you can do it."
A lawyer for the Stamps family, Anthony Tarricone, said he was launching a civil rights investigation after the Middlesex district attorney's office ruled the death accidental and said no crime was committed.
That investigation remains ongoing, a colleague of Tarricone said.
"We are still investigating, and we have nothing new to report," attorney James Gotz said.
Gotz said it was "impossible to say" how long that inquiry would last. The family has not yet filed a civil lawsuit but has suggested in the past that it may.
Bushfan and Talbert are both charged with possessing cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate state drug laws and having drugs near a school.
Talbert is out on bail. Bushfan is serving an 18-month sentence in the Billerica House of Correction after he pleaded guilty last month to charges in connection with two 2008 robberies in Cambridge.
They are due back in Framingham District Court May 11.
Having Duncan back does not affect the department's internal investigation, and anything that needs to be done "can be handled administratively," Carl said.
"I'm happy that he's been able to get back to work," Carl said. "It was a horrific, tragic experience that he went through. I'm sure he'll never be the same."
|Medics found little life left in Eurie Stamps moments after shooting||May 1, 2011|
|Richard Lodge||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- When Fire Capt. Joseph Hicks and AMR paramedic David Kaye rushed to Eurie Stamps' side, they saw the life draining from his body.
Stamps, who had been shot by a Framingham Police SWAT officer less than a minute before, didn't say anything, Hicks told an investigator the next day.
"Initially, when I first reached him, he had movement in his arm and he groaned, and that's all," Hicks tells state police Lt. Edward Forster on an audio recording made as part of the investigation into the fatal shooting. "Initially he was groaning and ... he took a couple of breaths, but that ceased almost immediately.
"Within 10 to 15 seconds, there was no movement. There was no sound."
Minutes before, Hicks and two members of his four-man tactical emergency medical service (TEMS) team - Kaye and firefighter/EMT Jeffrey Beckwith - had crouched behind cars outside 26 Fountain St. early the morning of Jan. 5 as the SWAT team staged a drug raid.
Whenever the Framingham SWAT team carries out a raid, members of the Tactical EMS team are part of the contingent, Hicks said.
"Our job is to watch, to keep eyes on all the (SWAT) operators in case anybody needs assistance," Hicks said.
After sitting in on the 11 p.m. briefing at police headquarters about the pending raid, the medical team rode in a SWAT truck to Fountain Street, then climbed out with its equipment.
"We took cover behind the cars. We couldn't see what was going on but were waiting for the 'execute' order," which would spur the SWAT officers to break through doors and enter the house.
Hicks saw the pair of two-man "breacher" teams - equipped with battering rams to break open two doors of the first-floor apartment - get in place, heard Sgt. Vincent Stuart "knock and announce" the search warrant, and heard windows break and a diversionary "flash-bang" grenade explode.
Hicks says that seconds later, he heard a "pop" from inside the apartment. He turned to paramedic David Kaye and said, "What the ...."
Before he could finish, he heard the cries, "Medic up! Medic up!" from inside the house. "That was our cue to go in there."
Hicks, Kaye and Beckwith ran through the front door and down a hallway.
Lt. Robert Downing, who had been part of the SWAT team with Officers Timothy O'Toole and Michael Sheehan entering one door, sent the medical team to the rear of the house.
"We saw a victim on the ground, face down. I went directly to the victim. ... As I saw him, I saw the blood. I just went right to my patient assessment."
Did Hicks ask any of the SWAT officers what had happened, Forster asked.
"I didn't know what had happened. I saw him on the ground. I didn't ask. I saw the pool of blood. I was with paramedic Dave Kaye. We did a rapid trauma assessment, and within seconds we figured out what was wrong from what we saw, our observations," Hicks says. "Then we log-rolled the patient onto his back. That's when I first noticed on his left jaw a puncture wound. I remember Dave Kaye asking me, or I ask him - I don't remember which way it went - but 'Where is this blood coming from?' was what we were concerned with.
"I took out my shears. As I cut open his shirt, the shirt fell open and I saw a wound at the top left side of his chest ... about eight centimeters diameter. That's when we started to render care," he says.
Firefighter/EMT Nicholas Ferri had been stationed at the medical command post in an ambulance parked at the Gulf station, a short distance from the Fountain Street house. Hicks said as he and Kaye tried to stanch Stamps' bleeding wound, Beckwith radioed Ferri to bring the ambulance to the front of the house.
At one point on the audio recording, Hicks is asked to estimate how much time passed between when he heard the call for medics and when the EMTs carried Stamps to the ambulance.
"I would say a few minutes," he says. "Three minutes, four minutes. ... I know the overall time frame was less than 10 minutes to the hospital. ... We moved urgently with everything. I mean, definitely the key to trauma is to move 'em out as fast as possible."
Asked by Forster if he had any conversation with police at the scene, Hicks said he and his crew were focused on Stamps, the patient.
"The only conversation we had was one way, that we're moving (Stamps) into the kitchen, TEMS is moving out - that's all," Hicks says.
Once they loaded Stamps into the ambulance, Ferri drove it to MetroWest Medical Center while Hicks, Kaye, AMR paramedic Thomas Canning (a civilian assigned to the ambulance that night) and Beckwith worked on Stamps. At the hospital, they rushed Stamps into the emergency room, continuing to try to stop the flow of blood and to get Stamps breathing.
They worked as a team, Hicks says, "until the lead doctor called the code, which means there's nothing more we could do."
|After the shooting: How authorities investigated the Stamps case||May 1, 2011|
|Richard Lodge||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- Forty hours after the fatal shooting of Eurie Stamps Sr., state police Lt. Edward Forster started his interview with Framingham Officer Paul Duncan. Duncan was the 14th interview of at least 20 conducted Jan. 6, the day after the shooting, by Forster, along with state police Detective Lt. Thomas Sullivan and Sgt. Peter Sennot. Besides Duncan and Forster, Deputy Chief Kenneth Ferguson, union President Dave Carlo and department attorney Mike Akerson were present.
Forster conducted the interviews at the Framingham Police Station and led the investigation for the Middlesex district attorney's office. District Attorney Gerard T. Leone concluded after a two-month investigation that the fatal shooting of Stamps was an accident. The Daily News filed a request with the DA under the Massachusetts Public Records Law, seeking the names and number of officers in the raid and transcripts from interviews with those officers, conducted by Forster. The DA provided CDs with recordings of the interviews, video and more than 100 photos taken outside and inside Stamps' house after the shooting. The DA's office also handed over sketches made of the inside of 26 Fountain St., photocopies of photographs of Officer Duncan's M4 automatic rifle, and various notes and lists of police officers, Fire Department personnel and paramedics involved in the raid.
In written response to questions submitted to the DA's office about why Officer Duncan was interviewed near the end of the list of SWAT officers involved the night of Jan. 5, Jessica Pastore, a spokesman for Leone, said, "This is so an investigator is able to get a clear picture of the situation before questioning someone so key to the investigation, in this case, Officer Duncan.
"Therefore, you have all the information before beginning questioning and can compare information you've gathered to the information given as a result of the questioning accurately."
Pastore said Forster, Sullivan and Sennot of the Mass. State Police conducted the interviews with SWAT team members.
"Peripheral people (just at scene with no information about actual incident) like the fire personnel were interviewed by Framingham" Police, she said. "But all those with information central to (the investigation) were by those three, mainly Lt. Forster."
|Who was there the night of the SWAT raid||May 1, 2011|
|Richard Lodge||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- Members of the Framingham SWAT team and Tactical Emergency Medical Services team called to the station the night of Jan. 4 to serve a warrant at 26 Fountain St., Framingham, based on information from the Middlesex district attorney's office, included:
- Deputy Chief Craig Davis, officer in charge
- Sgt. Vincent Stuart, SWAT team leader, knocked and announced the search warrant; entered hallway door with Sebastian and Duncan
- Officer James Sebastian
- Officer Paul Duncan
- Officer Timothy O'Toole
- Officer Michael Sheehan
- Lt. Robert Downing, entered door into kitchen with O'Toole and Sheehan
- Detective Sean Riley
- Sgt. Robert Sibilio, with Riley, one of "rake-and-break" teams breaking windows and setting off "flash-bang" grenade
- Officer Steve Casey
- Officer Chris Langmeyer, with Casey, one of the "rake and break" teams
- Detective Felipe Martinez, took part in briefing before warrant served
- Officer Chris Eliadi
- Sgt. Chris Murtagh
- Officer Brian Curtis, stationed outside rear of 26 Fountain St.
- Officer Greg Reardon, stationed outside rear of 26 Fountain St.
Members of Framingham Fire Department's tactical emergency medical support group stationed outside 26 Fountain St. during the raid:
- Capt. Joseph Hicks
- AMR paramedic David Kaye
- Firefighter/EMT Jeff Beckwith
- Firefighter/EMT Nicholas Ferri
Civilian AMR paramedic assigned to ambulance that night:
- AMR paramedic Thomas Canning
Non-SWAT team officers involved that night:
- Lt. Kevin Slattery, officer in charge, detective unit, searched Joseph Bushfan outside house, reportedly found crack cocaine, cash, cellphone
- Detective Jeffrey DeRosa, detained Joseph Bushfan outside house
- Detective Matthew Gutwill, with DeRosa, detained Bushfan
- Detective Dinis Avila, stationed outside rear of building during raid
- Sgt. Jorge Ruiz, evening shift patrol supervisor, stationed outside rear of building during raid
- Deputy Chief Kenneth Ferguson, with Massachusetts State Police Lt. Robert Forster, interviewed residents after the shooting, starting at 3:30 a.m. Jan. 5
|Duncan: Woman's shouting spoiled element of surprise||May 1, 2011|
|Richard Lodge||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- In a taped interview with an investigator, Officer Paul Duncan describes how Framingham Police lost the element of surprise in an early-morning drug raid when one suspect's mother shouted at police as they arrived at the front porch of her house.
When Duncan and his fellow SWAT officers arrived around 12:30 a.m. Jan. 5, they moved quickly, Duncan says in the interview.
Police encountered Norma Bushfan-Stamps - the wife of Eurie Stamps Sr., who was fatally shot in the raid - on the porch at 26 Fountain St. and ordered her to the ground.
Bushfan-Stamps "was at our entrance point and obviously at this point, because of her yelling, the noise, we were compromised as it was. We weren't able to move quickly and quietly. I stepped over her and got in position at the door directly on my right-hand side," Duncan says on the recording, made as part of the Middlesex district attorney's office investigation into the fatal shooting.
Duncan says that when the two SWAT team trucks arrived at the house, "The doors open and we moved out. No lag time, everybody moved fairly quickly. ... As I was going up, I could hear the voice of a female. I could hear somebody say, 'Get down on the ground, get down on the ground!'
"Once I stepped toward the door, I could see a female laying on what was a small front porch. ... She was down on the ground making some comment, I can't recall what it was. I heard Lt. (Robert) Downing yell 'Reardon, Reardon, take control of her!' " referring to Officer Greg Reardon.
Earlier in the interview, done by Mass. State Police Lt. Edward Forster for the DA's investigation, Duncan describes the briefing at Framingham Police headquarters before the raid.
According to records from the DA's office, 16 SWAT team members were part of the raid, accompanied by six other Framingham Police officers and at least four EMTs or paramedics. At the station, members of the SWAT team put on their equipment, with Duncan and another officer retrieving battering rams from an equipment truck, since both men would be "breachers" that night.
"At some point Deputy (Chief Craig) Davis came down" to the room where the SWAT team members were waiting to be briefed. Everybody who was going to be deployed on this particular operation was in the room." Davis asked Detective Felipe Martinez to "give us a rundown" on the upcoming drug raid.
Duncan says on the recording that Martinez talked about three men, whose photos were posted on the wall of the briefing room. Two men were arrested in the raid: Joseph Bushfan, 20, Norma Bushfan-Stamps' son, and Devon Talbert, 20, his cousin. Police also were searching for Dwayne Barrett, who was not found during the raid.
Recalling the briefing, Duncan says, "Detective Martinez ... basically said the narcotics unit had been making buys out of this house. ... He said that ... they believe that these three individuals were there," but that one might have left the house.
Martinez pointed to one man's photo and said, "We believe that he's a gangbanger out of Boston."
"I believe he said some remarks that he had some tattoo somewhere under his right or left eye, I can't recall exactly," Duncan says. "He gave some brief history as to he has a history of firearms, and some robberies, to that effect, in his background."
(According to information from the DA's office, Joseph Bushfan has a tattoo on his face.)
Martinez pointed to a second man's photo and said he also had a criminal background, Duncan says. "If one person has a history of firearms or robbery, then that kind of sets the mood right there so that we know exactly what to prepare for."
Duncan says, "At some point (Martinez) did say there is someone else, there is another person there, another male party, in his 60s or 60, also in the home. And I'm not sure if he mentioned that there was a woman or not, I can't recall.
"Basically he said they had done some drug buys out of there and that the house had been active all night," Duncan says.
When the SWAT team vehicles pulled up at 26 Fountain St. that night, Bushfan-Stamps was outside on her porch.
Duncan recalls in his audiotaped statement riding in one of the SWAT team trucks and hearing another officer relaying that he heard over the radio "someone just left the house and they were doing a buy or a sell right now at the gas station, something to that effect." Joseph Bushfan was arrested by Framingham Police at that time.
"For us, that was a concern because we were probably 30 seconds from there. That was good to know. If they had communication (with someone in the house), that could compromise us pulling up. They could make a call and it could lead to a danger for us," Duncan says.
|SWAT raid questions||May 4, 2011|
|Richard Lodge||Metrowest Daily News|
In interviews conducted as part of an investigation of a Framingham SWAT raid that left an innocent bystander dead, we hear the voices of the police who were there. The interviews and other evidence, provided in response to a Daily News Freedom of Information Act request and excerpted in Sunday's Daily News, were sufficient for Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone to conclude that the shot from Officer Paul Duncan's gun was an accident, and Duncan has returned to duty.
But we don't hear the voices of others who were on the scene just after midnight on Jan. 5, when 27 Framingham police and firefighters swarmed the small home on Fountain Street. Leone's investigators didn't interview Norma Bushfan-Stamps, who was on the porch when the SWAT team arrived, or Devon Talbert, 20, who was upstairs. Eurie Stamps Sr., 68, shot by Duncan while he was lying on his stomach on the floor, had no chance to give his account of the raid.
The interviews with the officers raise questions Leone deemed outside the scope of his investigation.
Duncan, for instance, says Stamps was on the floor in the hallway when he entered, face-down, showing his hands. It's hard to imagine a more submissive, non-threatening position. Stamps was 68, walked with a cane, weighed at least 300 pounds - and was not likely to leap to his feet and pull a gun out of his pajamas.
But Duncan was still worried: "What happens if there's a gun or something hidden anywhere and he just reaches quick? What happens?... I gotta make a decision. Do I fire, do I not fire?"
Instead of just keeping Stamps covered, Duncan decides on his own to pin Stamps' hands behind him and kneel on his back. In the process, Duncan loses his balance, starts to fall, and his gun goes off. Duncan is vague under questioning, evading the issue of whether his finger was on the trigger - it shouldn't have been, according to standard procedures - when the weapon was fired.
The account raises questions about Duncan's training, his supervision and his state of mind during the raid. Duncan said he recalled some mention in the briefing before the raid that a man in his 60s might be in the house but could not recall any talk of a woman likely to be present. Yet this was Eurie and Norma Bushfan-Stamps' home; one target of the warrant was Norma's son, Joseph, who lived with them. Was Duncan simply not listening, or did the briefing leave out critical information?
There are questions the investigator didn't ask, like what did Stamps say to Duncan in the seconds before Duncan shot him? What did Duncan say to Stamps? Duncan says Norma Bushfan-Stamps was "shouting" on the porch, but not what was she saying.
The biggest questions involve management issues, starting with the decision to stage an armed assault in the middle of the night - complete with battering rams and "flash-bang" grenades - to serve a search warrant on the home of a small-time, retail drug dealer. The two young targets of the investigation were not drug kingpins, nor were they wanted for a violent crime.
It turns out there were no weapons in the house, nor did police find drugs (a few packets of cocaine were found on one suspect, Joseph Bushfan, who was arrested down the street minutes before the raid began). What part did the disproportionate show of force, and the hair-trigger attitudes that are part of sending a SWAT team into a genuinely dangerous situation, play in Duncan's deadly "accident"?
What have Framingham police learned from this tragedy? "There's no reason for (Duncan) not to come back to work," Chief Steven Carl said. "He didn't commit a crime." That sounds like a pretty low standard for someone entrusted with keeping the public safe.
Two investigations, one by the FPD's internal affairs officer and one by an outside consultant, may shed light on the training, supervision and management issues. Most expect the Stamps family to file a civil suit, which may uncover details Leone's investigation didn't examine.
Other questions will have to be answered by the town's elected leaders. What did this raid, and the SWAT team in general, cost the taxpayers of Framingham? Is the SWAT team necessary or worth it, especially with State Police headquartered in town?
Before the town election, Selectman Dennis Giombetti called for a cost/benefit analysis to be done on the SWAT team. That's a discussion that should begin as soon as the independent investigation is complete.
We've heard from the police who were on the scene that night, but all the questions won't be answered, nor all the issues settled, until we hear from others.
|Community panel to look into fatal police shooting in Framingham||May 19, 2011|
|Norman Miller 508-626-3823||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- An independent panel assembled by Police Chief Steven Carl will review the fatal shooting of Eurie Stamps Sr. by a SWAT team officer.
The eight-person group has already met once, on May 10, Carl said.
"I want them to address a controversial issue from the outside in an unbiased manner," he said. "I let them know what my expectations are, but it's their committee, and it's their agenda and their goals."
The committee includes Yvonne Brown, a representative of the New England Area Conference of the NAACP; Martin Cohen, president of the MetroWest Community Health Care Foundation; Beth Donnelly, community relations director for MetroWest Medical Center; Tim Flanagan, president of Framingham State University; Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes; the Rev. J. Anthony Lloyd of Greater Framingham Community Church; Paul Mina, executive director of United Way of Tri-County; and Michael Welch, principal of Framingham High School.
Stamps was shot and killed during a drug raid inside his Fountain Street home on Jan. 5. The raid was targeting Stamps' stepson, Joseph Bushfan, and two other men.
The Middlesex district attorney's office cleared Officer Paul Duncan, the officer who shot Stamps, of any wrongdoing. The DA's investigation ruled the shooting accidental.
Duncan has returned to work.
The town has hired SWAT expert Steve Ijames to investigate the shooting further, and the Police Department is conducting its own inquiry.
Carl said he wants the new committee to look at the shooting, the SWAT team, and the raid's aftermath.
Flanagan said he and the rest of the group will meet later this month. They hope to finalize a mission statement and begin looking at the matter.
"We've focused now on what the outcome of our works will be, examining the incidents and what has happened since that incident, and answering questions on how the community can move forward with trust and confidence in the Police Department," Flanagan said.
The group has already requested several reports so they can be develop "an information library."
Flanagan said he thinks the panel's diversity will allow for good debate.
Lloyd said he hopes that whatever the group finds during its investigation can help the town and the department get past what happened.
"Everyone recognizes this is a terrible tragedy and are committed to the idea that this never happens again," he said. "Clearly the intent, first and foremost, is we really need, as a community, to bring some healing to what happened. We trust it will be helpful for both the Police Department and the community at large, and maybe even the Stamps family, as well."
Lloyd said the panel will look at whether a SWAT team is needed in town, if sufficient training has been given, and what led to the warrant and the decision to use the SWAT team that night.
"All of that is on the table," he said. "We're not going to shy away from asking the tough questions."
Carl said he will act as "a resource" to the panel if it needs anything but will not be part of the meetings since he does not want to influence the group's effort.
"I don't want anyone to review this based on emotions," Carl said. "I want a fact-based review."
|Right step in shooting's aftermath||May 22, 2011|
|Rick Holmes||Metrowest Daily News|
The midnight raid in January by the Framingham Police SWAT team left one man dead and a host of questions unanswered. But there is new hope that all the issues raised by the raid will be carefully considered.
From the beginning, this page has urged Framingham officials to go beyond the standard law enforcement investigation into the death of Eurie Stamps Sr. The town needs to know not just what happened on Jan. 5, but why it happened and how it might have been avoided. We've asked whether the officers on that raid were adequately trained and supervised, and whether the operation was well-planned. We've asked how much the SWAT team costs, whether it has been appropriately used, whether it's really necessary.
Important questions about what happened that night were answered by the investigation done by District Attorney Gerry Leone's office, which ruled the fatal shooting an accident and cleared the way for Officer Paul Duncan to return to his duties. The town has hired an independent consultant with expertise in SWAT teams to evaluate operations. The police department is doing its own investigation.
Police Chief Stephen Carl has now taken a big step toward getting the remaining questions answered. He has appointed a citizens commission to investigate the operation and all its policy implications. He says he won't tell them what they can and cannot ask. He won't even attend the meetings.
"I don't want anyone to review this based on emotions," Carl told the Daily News. "I want a fact-based review."
The commission Carl has chosen includes people whose independence and credibility are well-established: Paul Mina of the United Way, Martin Cohen of MetroWest Community Health Care Foundation, Framingham State University President Timothy Flanagan, the Rev. J. Anthony Lloyd of Greater Framingham Community Church, Framingham High School Principal Michael Welch, MetroWest Medical Center's Beth Donnelly and Yvonne Brown from the New England NAACP. Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes will provide some professional law enforcement expertise.
These are people who are open-minded and fair. They won't hold back their questions or opinions and won't be intimidated by police or politicians. We congratulate Chief Carl on his initiative and look forward to their report.
|Hold police accountable||May 22, 2011|
|Harold J. Wolfe||Metrowest Daily News|
In a stunning display of police bravado, on January 5, 2011, an army of 22 officers heavily armed with automatic weapons and four tactical paramedics invade and swarm 26 Fountain St., Framingham. Battering rams and flash-bang grenades are used. The army begins its occupation and the Angel Of Death disguised as Officer Paul Duncan trips and kills Eurie Stamps. No weapons or drugs were found in the house.
Paul Duncan's photo looks like a poster child of a white supremacy group. He did not undergo any drug tests or any test for racism. Paul Duncan and the DA are openly white and the targets happened to be black. Eurie Stamps happened to be black but is now dead. What if Paul Duncan had murdered a white police officer?
Duncan knew that Sahr Josiah was an associate of their targets. Was this really an accident or faked? Police officers, who have generally attended the Marcel Marceau Mime School, will protect their fellow officers in their wrong doing in the well established Blue Code of Silence.
In the past three years, two civilians have been killed by the Framingham police department. Clearly, the Framingham police department now rival criminals, level 3 sex offenders and certainly exceed terrorists as the greatest threat to the Framingham public.
At minimum, Paul Duncan should be tried for negligent homicide and his gun permit should be revoked. Unless the Framingham police are penalized (removal of SWAT team), this brutality will repeat itself. Count on it.
|Independent review released on SWAT shooting death in Framingham||August 25, 2011|
|Danielle Ameden 508-626-4416||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- An independent expert's report on the fatal shooting of Eurie Stamps Sr. by a SWAT team member is in the hands of a community group that is reviewing the incident.
Panel Chairman Tim Flanagan, president of Framingham State University, said he received a copy of SWAT expert Steve Ijames' "lengthy" and "very detailed" review Tuesday. He said he plans to study it in the coming days, and that other panel members also got a copy yesterday.
The group plans to meet next week with Police Chief Steven Carl and Town Manager Julian Suso to go over the Jan. 5 shooting and follow-up reports.
"We've now had a chance to sift through a voluminous amount of information that's been provided to us," Flanagan said yesterday.
"What we were asked to do," he said, "is review the incident in detail and then review the subsequent investigations and then make any recommendations that we think are appropriate."
Part of the group's mission is to help the community heal from the tragedy.
It's been nearly eight months since Stamps, a 68-year-old grandfather and retired MBTA worker, was killed during an early-morning drug raid in his 26 Fountain St. home.
The results of Ijames' inquiry and an internal police review have yet to be made public.
Chief Carl could not be reached for comment yesterday.
"My personal opinion is the amount of time that's passed is itself problematic," Flanagan said.
The district attorney's office cleared the shooter, Framingham Officer Paul Duncan, of any wrongdoing in March and ruled Stamps' death an accident.
Authorities said Stamps' stepson, Joseph Bushfan, was targeted in the raid. Bushfan and another man were arrested on drug charges.
Suso said he hadn't seen the Ijames report or the internal review but said it makes sense that the review would take time.
"There's no reasonable script for dealing with a very difficult tragic circumstance like (this)," he said.
The panel, which Carl set up, has met at least four times since May 10, Flanagan said.
He said members are "taking their responsibilities very seriously."
Besides Flanagan, other members are: Yvonne Brown, a representative of the New England Area Conference of the NAACP; Martin Cohen, president of MetroWest Community Health Care Foundation; Beth Donnelly, community relations director for MetroWest Medical Center; Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes; the Rev. J. Anthony Lloyd of Greater Framingham Community Church; Paul Mina, executive director of United Way of Tri-County; and Michael Welch, principal of Framingham High School.
"I suspect that after our meeting next week we'll be in a position to come together and develop any kind of recommendations," Flanagan said.
Selectmen, meanwhile, have been meeting behind closed doors to discuss a lawsuit that's expected to be filed by Stamps' family.
|Report says selectmen's response to Stamps shooting fell short||November 30, 2011|
|Danielle Ameden 508-626-4416||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- A crowd of residents last night faulted selectmen for failing to show leadership or help the community heal after a SWAT team member accidentally shot 68-year-old grandfather Eurie Stamps to death.
Congregants from Greater Framingham Community Church, many of whom did not know Stamps, echoed an independent panel's findings that there was "insufficient engagement and communication" by the town with Stamps' family and the larger community, including African Americans, after the Jan. 5 incident.
"The question asked and still being asked is, where is the leadership in the town of Framingham?" congregant Robert Evelyn told the board, reading a letter from the Rev. J. Anthony Lloyd.
"The silence on the part of elected and appointed leaders was deafening and has done more harm to a tragic situation," Evelyn read.
The residents listened closely as Framingham State University President Tim Flanagan, who led an independent panel that Police Chief Steven Carl put together in May, reported on the group's findings.
Among them: The police department's decision to deploy its SWAT team for a drug raid on Stamps' home, of which his stepson was a target, was "appropriate."
The finding about the lack of communication after the incident struck a chord.
"We understand that part of the difficulty was an order by the District Attorney not to release information prior to the outcome of the investigation, and in part because of the potential of civil litigation," the report reads. "However, given the nature of the incident, we believe there should have been more proactive engagement and communication by town leaders to address community questions and concerns surrounding the incident."
That silence was "neglect at worst" and "indifference at best," Evelyn said, reading from Lloyd's letter. He said selectmen never acknowledged a letter Lloyd wrote in March, raising concerns about a lack of communication.
Barbara Nobles Crawford, who lives on Ridge Road, demanded to know why selectmen didn't respond to that earlier letter.
"We probably should have done more, obviously," selectmen Chairman Jason Smith said.
"I regret that we didn't take a more active role in discussing this issue with the community, and I apologize for that," Selectman Charlie Sisitsky said.
Residents said they appreciated Carl last night admitting, as Crawford put it, that "a mistake was made."
Carl acknowledged that Stamps died because of a "tragic accidental" rifle shot Officer Paul Duncan fired when he lost his balance during the early morning raid.
Stamps was obeying officer commands to lay face-down in the hallway of his Fountain Street home, according to the Middlesex District Attorney's office, which ruled the death an accident and cleared Duncan of criminal responsibility.
People in the crowd clapped when Crawford suggested the town reimburse Stamps' family for funeral expenses "as a token of your sincere apology for the mistake that was made."
The independent panel Carl assembled - of which Lloyd and other community leaders are members - came up with several recommendations selectmen vowed to act upon in early January.
They include for SWAT team members to train more - 16 hours per month each - and for tactical weapons to stay on "safe" unless members perceive an immediate threat.
Selectman and the town manager, meanwhile, should implement crisis management plans and procedures to better communicate with the community, Flanagan said, and residents should continue to respect the police department and partner with police, schools and community groups to develop resources to prevent and address substance abuse.
In his letter, Lloyd, who is recovering from surgery, said he believes the "broken trust" felt by the community can be restored.
Residents said their relationship with police needs work, and called for concrete steps to reduce the tension.
"There is a widespread feeling of distrust," Tracey Bryant told selectmen. "You can't really have healing if you don't trust."
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