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Eurie Stamps died in a 2011 police shooting. Now there are new calls for justice in his death

Malik Harding, 7, is flanked by his parents, LaRoy, left, and Ashley during a march to demand justice for Eurie Stamps that began at City Hall in Cambridge on Saturday. Stamps was a 68-year-old man who was shot and killed by Framingham police during a 2011 drug raid at his home.
Malik Harding, 7, is flanked by his parents, LaRoy, left, and Ashley during a march to demand justice for Eurie Stamps that began at City Hall in Cambridge on Saturday. Stamps was a 68-year-old man who was shot and killed by Framingham police during a 2011 drug raid at his home.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe

George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Eric Garner.

Their names are more prominent in the national Black Lives Movement than that of Eurie Stamps Sr., a retired MBTA maintenance worker shot and killed in his home by Framingham police in 2011.

But as demonstrators recite the names of Black people who have died from police violence amid demands for justice, calls for public recognition of Stamps have grown louder as Massachusetts faces its own reckoning over systemic racism in policing.

In Cambridge Saturday, organizers of a march from City Hall to Hoyt Field in the name of Stamps, who grew up in that city, said they wanted to tell his story, honor his legacy, and demand accountability for his death, said Selvin L. Chambers III, one of the march’s organizers.

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Stamps, 68, who was a grandfather to 15 children and had a great-grandchild, was a fixture in that city and was active in local sports leagues.

The demonstrators are also calling for the attorney general and Middlesex district attorney’s offices to review Stamps’s case, Chambers said. Paul K. Duncan, the officer who shot Stamps, never faced charges in the case and remains with Framingham’s police force. The district attorney at the time called the incident an accident.

“We’re bringing this to light because it hit us close to home, but it’s happening in every urban community across the country,” said Chambers, 57, who knew Stamps when Chambers was a teen.

Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan in a phone interview Saturday, pledged to release materials from the nearly decade-old case as quickly as possible.

Eurie Stamps
Eurie Stamps

“I believe in the transparency and public confidence around these investigations, and it is important to hear the questions that people have, and [hear] about the pain that they’re feeling,” said Ryan, who became district attorney in 2013.

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At Cambridge’s City Hall, councilors named Stamps in a recent order calling for the eradication of systemic racism from local government. Stamps’s name was also heard in the State House in late July as lawmakers worked on a policing reform bill.

And it has sounded in the top echelons of professional sports: Christian Wilkins, a member of the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League, said he strives every day to live up to the example set by his grandfather.

People who came in contact with Stamps loved him and had a lot of respect for him, Wilkins said in a recorded statement to The Boston Globe.

“It means a lot that the people in [Massachusetts] really want to continue to honor my grandpa, even years later, after he’s passed,” Wilkins said. “It just really shows who he was, and what he meant to people.”

Demonstrators marched in honor of Eurie Stamps in Cambridge Saturday.
Demonstrators marched in honor of Eurie Stamps in Cambridge Saturday.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe

Nearly a decade ago, on Jan. 5, 2011, the Framingham police SWAT team executed a search warrant on the Fountain Street apartment Stamps shared with his wife and then-20-year-old stepson.

Police were acting on a report that Stamps’s stepson and others were selling crack cocaine from the apartment. They did not suspect Stamps of any crime. Officers entered the apartment and ordered Stamps to lie on his stomach on the floor.

Duncan moved to handcuff and search Stamps. The officer pointed a rifle at Stamps, his finger on the trigger, according to documents filed in federal court as part of a later lawsuit by Stamps’s family.

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Stamps, who had no history of violence, was shot in the face and later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

In a statement at the time, then-Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr. said Duncan lost his balance and fell, causing the officer to fire his weapon accidentally. No charges were filed against Duncan following the investigation by Leone’s office and State Police.

Organizers of the Cambridge march Saturday alleged a cover-up in the case.

In an e-mail to the Globe, Leone, now the general counsel for the University of Massachusetts, declined comment. Duncan did not respond to requests for comment.

A State Police spokesman had no comment Saturday.

In 2016, Framingham reached a $3.75 million settlement with Stamps’s estate and his family.

The following year, Framingham changed from town government, became a city, and elected Mayor Yvonne M. Spicer as its first executive.

In a statement to the Globe, Spicer said she has known the Stamps family for years and remembers when Eurie Stamps’s life was taken.

“It saddened me then and now,” she said.

Spicer said the city has made changes to its Police Department, which trains and works diligently to maintain and grow public trust, ensure accountability, transparency, and continue to heal the community. The SWAT team was disbanded in 2013.

“Mr. Stamps’ passing is heartbreaking, and there are no words to ease that loss,” Spicer said. “What we can do, however, is to learn from the past and demonstrate that moving forward through our actions.”

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Nicco Harding, 6, joined his family at City Hall during Saturday's march calling for justice for Stamps in Cambridge.
Nicco Harding, 6, joined his family at City Hall during Saturday's march calling for justice for Stamps in Cambridge.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe


Around midday on Saturday, dozens gathered at Cambridge City Hall before the march. Ryan said she spoke to Stamps’s granddaughter. The district attorney said she went to the City Hall to listen and learn from those who attended.

“I can’t take away the pain that is obviously still very deeply felt, that I saw this morning from the family, from the members of the community,” Ryan said. “Mr. Stamps clearly made a great impact here.”

Ryan said she would be looking at the case material herself.

As demonstrators walked from City Hall toward Central Square, they chanted: “Say his name! Eurie Stamps!”

In Framingham, a vigil is planned for Aug. 15 at the city’s Memorial Building on Concord Street.

The need for accountability in Stamps’s death at the hands of police has been growing in recent weeks.

The Cambridge City Council in June named Stamps in an order calling for a systemwide review of city government to eradicate systemic racism.

City Councilor E. Denise Simmons, who was the measure’s lead sponsor, grew up knowing Stamps and his family. When he was killed by Framingham police, she said in an e-mail, “it was a blip on the screen.”

Deaths like Stamps’s should not be brushed aside, she said.

“And that effort starts by saying his name, and reminding people about how he died,” Simmons said.

State Representative Liz Miranda, who successfully pushed for an amendment imposing restrictions on no-knock warrants as part of the House policing bill, cited the death of Stamps among others during a recent debate on the House floor.

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For family and those close to Stamps, he was a man of great generosity, a mentor to young people, and was a kind spirit.

Hazel Stamps, Stamps’s sister, recalled her brother’s big, hearty laugh and a smile that could “light up the world.”



“I never had to call him to ask him to do anything. He was just there. He would appear, and ask me what I needed,” Hazel Stamps said. “He was the best brother one could ask for.”

Wilkins wrote about losing his grandfather following the death of Floyd in an Instagram post.

In his statement Saturday, Wilkins said his grandfather was an extremely humble man, the type to give you the shirt off his back and place others before himself. People who came in contact with him “loved him [and] had a lot of respect for him,” Wilkins said.

Wilkins said that while justice should be brought in the case, his focus remains on emulating his grandfather.

“I’m just going to continue to put my head down, and honor him in the best way I can,” Wilkins said. “And that’s continuing to be his legacy.”

Donnie Harding bows his head before a march calling justice for  Eurie Stamps that began at City Hall in Cambridge Saturday.
Donnie Harding bows his head before a march calling justice for Eurie Stamps that began at City Hall in Cambridge Saturday.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.