NFL Raises Awareness Around Killing Of Janisha Fonville
The National Football League took a moment to raise awareness around the 2015 killing of Janisha Fonville, a Charlotte woman who was killed by a police officer who’d been called to help her.
On Friday (January 22), the NFL tweeted a photo of the 20-year-old woman next to a picture of Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley wearing her name on the back of his helmet during a game he played in this season.
“Say her name: Janisha Fonville,” reads the tweet, which includes the hashtag #SayTheirStories.
Back in September the NFL announced a program that honors “victims of systemic racism, victims of police brutality, and social justice heroes.” Fonville and others like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were among those honored through helmet decals and other methods during games.
Fonville had been diagnosed with a mood disorder and depression, according to a Charlotte Observer report in 2015. She was once reportedly hospitalized for intentionally cutting herself.
In February 2015 of that year, CMPD officers responded to a domestic call at around 9 p.m. from a northeast Charlotte apartment. Two officers approached Fonville right after they were told by her girlfriend that she was mentally ill and might hurt herself, according to the Observer.
Then-police chief Rodney Monroe said at the time that officers ordered Fonville several times to drop a six-to-eight-inch knife. However, according to the Observer, a friend and eyewitness who saw Fonville get up from her couch seconds before she was shot said her hands were empty. Virginia Byrd, Fonville’s godmother and neighbor, questioned why the officer used a gun to subdue a 5-foot-2, 112 pound woman.
“The shoot-first-ask-questions-later doesn’t fly,” Byrd told the Observer at the time. “There were other ways. They tried nothing else.”
Officer Anthony Holzhauer, who fatally shot Fonville, was never charged with any crime.