Text of FDC Chair’s Speech At Vigil For Eurie Stamps
A vigil was held in memory of the late Eurie Stamps, a Framingham resident killed in January 2011 during a SWAT team raid at his apartment. Stamps was not the intended target of the raid but was mistakenly killed. No charges were brought against the officer involved. A vigil in Stamp’s memory was held on August 16, 2020 seeking justice for Eurie Stamps and demanding a re-opening of the case after the Middlesex District Attorney’s office did not bring charges forward.
Framingham Democratic Committee Chair Michael Hugo was among the presenters at this vigil. The text of his speech is presented here:
Michael Hugo, 36 year resident of Framingham, Chair of the FDC, and a fan of my friend Eurie Stamps.
Framingham Dodged a bullet. Framingham dodged THE bullet, but Eurie Stamps could not!
Late one cold starry Tuesday night in January of 2011, as Tuesday morphed into Wednesday, Eurie lay in his bed, dreaming about his children and more importantly to him, his 15 grandbabies that idolized every word that came out of G-Pa’s mouth. They adored him, and like the rest of us, they knew him to have a permanent smile and a mouth full of love.
When my wife, Beverly and I got to know him, we saw him at his all-time happiest. He was sitting in the stands at Bowditch Field, or at whatever field we all went to for all of the Friday night away games, to cheer on our kids on the FHS football team. My wife and I were so proud of our son, who was listed on the roster as “5 ‘ 7”, his position was listed as “JBW,” stands for little Jewish Bench Warmer.
But we ALL shared so much excitement as Eurie’s nearly 300 pound freshman grandson played virtually every single defensive play from the first game of the season, all the way to the end of that 8-5 season. Of course, if you knew Eurie, you would know that that grandson, Christian, was chosen in the 1st round by the Miami Dolphins when he came out of Clemson.
Imagine his smile, if Eurie were here today to see his amazingly beautiful family!
I am not going to recount all of the events of that night, we all know what happened. Suffice it to say that had Eurie Stamps been white, he would have had a knock on his door at 1:00 in the afternoon, the police would not have been in military regalia, but would have been one or two plain clothes detectives, and they would never have drawn their guns! You all know the story!
Throughout this matter, the news was very kind to Framingham … some of us say, “too kind,” as his story was not told across the country by the national media. It was barely covered by the local media. He was a mere “blip” on the news wires.
Framingham Dodged a Bullet, and Eurie could not.
Too few of us were vocal. Too few of us wanted to take a stand way back in 2011, when # 94 for the Miami Dolphins was barely 15 years old, and living with Eurie and Norma. We were embarrassed. Our town had proven to be racist.
Our town leaders implored us all to not talk about it. It was a bad day, it was an unfortunate series of events. And, after all, Framingham was going to dodge the bullet, even if Eurie couldn’t.
I followed the case closely. Read every single piece of paper filed in the Federal Court. The case was a war!
Framingham was hoping to dodge the ricochet of the bullet that had missed it once. The case was treated like so many other things by our town. It was swept under the rug. Right from Day one, our town was determined to dodge the bullet.
So much so, that when the lawsuit was filed ten months later, what did Framingham do?
Did it call the lawyer for the Stamps family and say that we want to do the right thing and arrive at a settlement that won’t bring Eurie back, but would show the family and the community that we care?
Did it go to the press and make a statement asking forgiveness?
What did they do?
NOTHING! They didn’t even bother to respond to the lawsuit. Until the US District Judge entered a default judgment and threatened to strip Framingham of its rights and announced that he alone would decide how much Framingham should pay. So Framingham answered the suit.
As a response to the suit, the town showed even less respect for the family! Framingham and The town’s legal team – which did NOT include our town counsel, Mr. Petrini, but was a bunch of insurance lawyers – were cold and inhumane, as they sought to minimize the damages and squirm their way out of doing the right thing.
Things got so out of hand in court, that the United States First Circuit Court of Appeals, the court that is just below the Supreme Court of the US, actually wrote in one of its decisions that they expected more from Framingham!
That was after the panel found that Framingham’s lawyers had actually misrepresented what some of the cases they cited actually meant! They got overzealous in their drive to beat the Stamps family and get the case tossed out on some crazy technicality called Qualified Immunity –You all know Qualified Immunity, it is what Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis cop is relying upon to get away with killing George Floyd. It’s a doctrine that our Senator, Karen Spilka, is trying to erase from the books!
Framingham’s lawyers told the court that there was nothing wrong with Officer Duncan turning off the safety, pointing the muzzle of his M-4 Semi-automatic rifle at Eurie’s head and holding his finger on the trigger … because he violated no procedures or protocols. In a highly unusual note in the 1st Circuit Opinion, the court actually said that Framingham’s position is based upon falsities and the court actually wrote that they expect better from our lawyers!
I read the decision and I was embarrassed by my town’s racism, and sickened by its tactics it was using to get away with killing my friend Eurie.
Later that week, I was in town hall for a meeting and when I saw the chair of the board of selectmen and told her that someone from the BOS needs to pay attention to the Stamps case, and that Framingham is not being represented properly. I told her that it was high time that we, as a town, took responsibility for what happened. Her response was to simply stare at me with a pissed off look and to tell me that she is fully aware of everything going on in the Stamps case and none of it is any of my business!
As a friend of Eurie and some of his family, I was insulted by this response, but it shows exactly what the mindset of the town was when it came to this tragedy. They were wishing that the whole thing would just go away. We should all shut up and wait for the civil suit to just go away. The town was doing great, it was flying below the radar and staying out of the news.
In fact it was 4 years to the day, after Eurie was shot to death, that the national media finally picked up the story, in a very nationally embarrassing article in the Washington Post, Titled “Still Waiting For Justice After Swat Team Member Kills Innocent Grandfather!”
On January 6, 2015, we made national news because an innocent family was still waiting for Justice. It has been over 9 ½ years, 3,509 days, since Eurie was taken from us, and I think we can all say that we are “Still Waiting For Justice After Swat Team Member Kills Innocent Grandfather!”
We can no longer sit Idly and allow Framingham to dodge the bullet that Eurie could not!